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What are the different ways to plea in a criminal case in TX?

Dallas, TX |

My friend is awaiting trial. It is her first, although serious, offense. She has been offered a plea deal but does not want to take it because of the appearance that it means she is guilty. She wants to be heard in court, but is scared of the chance she is taking on a jury. She wants to know if there are any other please available besides guilty and not guilty.

*She has a court-appointed lawyer who is doing all they can to help my friend. She asked me to put this question out there just to see what another lawyer might have to say.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

Sometimes the DA will agree to let you enter a no-contest plea, but this is rare on a felony in Dallas. It doesn't have any practical effect on the outcome of the case. It just makes a person feel better.

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Wow. If it's a serious offense as you said... She needs to speak with her attorney.

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The 3 pleas that are possible in a Texas criminal case are:

1. Not Guilty - meaning the defendant denies that he or she did the crime charged
2. Guilty - meaning the defendant admits that he or she did the crime charged
3. No Contest - meaning the defendant basically says he or she is not going to fight the accusation

A defendant can enter his or her choice of these three in any criminal case.

However, a plea bargain usually provides for a plea of guilty in felony cases. This is quite proper because a prosecutor is permitted to offer any terms in a plea bargain that are permitted by law.

If a defendant has questions about how to proceed in a criminal case, the first person to consult is a criminal defense lawyer...the defendant's if the defendant is represented by counsel.

Answers on Avvo are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No attorney / client relationship is created by providing this answer. For specific advice about your situation, you should consult a competent attorney of your choosing.


Your friend can plea no contest. This is not a plea of guilt but a statement that you are willing to take responsibility for the charge. Since a no contest plea is a not a guilty plea it can often save you from civil liability that could have resulted from a guilty plea. If this is a first time offender, a pre trial intervention might also be possible. With a pre trial intervention a defendant does not have to plea and as long as that person does not pick up a new case for one year it gets dismissed. Someone can also plea to a deferred adjudication the court finds that person guilty but withholds a finding of guilt.

Deepali Meenu Walters

Deepali Meenu Walters


There are judges who will not accept pleas of no contest and require that the client say on the record that they are pleading guilty because they are guilty and for no other reason.