When a complaint or traffic citation is issued, the person charged is given an arraignment date to appear in court. That person, known as the "defendant," has the right to have the complaint or citation read to him/her prior to entering a plea. The defendant may enter one of three pleas: guilty, no contest, or not guilty. The Judge does not hear evidence about the case at an arraignment. After entering a not guilty plea at arraignment, the defendant may present evidence at the trial.
Guilty: you admit to the act you are charged with, and admit that the act is unlawful, and that you have no defense for the action you committed. In most minor traffic cases, a guilty plea and fine will be accepted through the mail or by phone.
Not guilty: you deny that you committed the unlawful act you were charged with. At that time it becomes the responsibility of the city to prove in trial that doubt. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
No contest: you have the option to plea no contest the city's charge. Upon a plea of no contest, the Judge will enter a finding of guilty and order a fine, jail time or other sentence. A plea of no contest is not an admission of guilt or fault and cannot be used against you in a civil suit for damages.