Actress Joyce DeWitt of "Three's Company" fame will go it alone facing probation in a DUI case.
In general a no contest plea is similar to a plea of guilty. A plea of no contest can be advantageous for defendants where the effects of a plea of guilty may be too harsh. A no contest plea also generally cannot be used to the same extent as a guilty plea as evidence used against the accused in any civil suit for the same act.
One disadvantage of a no contest plea is that it often carries the same legal effect as a conviction for sentencing purposes. Though a defendant may hope for leniency during sentencing for saving the court the time and costs of a trial, one may risk receiving the same punishment without the opportunity to offer a defense or a chance for an acquittal from a jury.
In this DUI case, DeWitt was charged last July with two misdemeanor counts, driving under the influence and driving while having a 0.08% or higher blood alcohol level. Authorities say DeWitt's blood alcohol was .15% -- almost twice the legal limit.
She was arrested last year on the Fourth of July in El Segundo.
An officer said that DeWitt drove around a barricade intended to control vehicular traffic.
DeWitt pulled up in a black sports car, parked and staggered toward a police officer standing in uniform next to his motorcycle, witnesses said.
DeWitt was sentenced to three years probation and must attend a nine-month alcohol program.
Probation is the period during "the probationer" is subject to critical examination and evaluation. The trial period must be completed before a person receives greater benefits or freedom.
In addition, DeWitt must pay a $510, plus penalty assessments.