Pleading No Contest Meaning: What Does It Mean To Plead No Contest

What Does It Mean To Plead No Contest - What Does No Contest Mean - No Contest Meaning - Pleading No Contest - Plead No Contest

What Does No Contest Mean?

What does “no-contest” mean? 

When you plead no contest, you are not contesting the facts of the case. 

But “no-contest” is not an admission of guilt

It is simply an acknowledgment of the details of the charges brought against you. 

What Does It Mean To Plead No Contest?

Pleading no contest means that you do not admit your guilt. 

But you do admit the truth of the facts of the indictment, the information, or the complaint.  

A plea is a person’s formal response to a criminal charge or offense. 

The person charged with the crime or offense is called the defendant

The defendant can choose from pleas of:

When you plead no contest, the judge enters your plea to the court. 

Entering a plea” refers to the judge submitting the plea into the court’s official file. 

What Happens If You Plead No Contest?

When you plead no contest, you’re telling the courts, “I do not wish to contest.”

You are not admitting guilt by pleading no contest. 

But this tells the court that you do not want to go to trial for the charges

And it allows them to determine a punishment for the charges. 

The punishment will result in a criminal conviction on your record. 

But the no contest plea does not automatically get accepted. 

There is a three-step process when entering a no-contest plea:

  1. The judge must accept the no-contest plea. (They don’t have to.)
  2. The judge explains that a no-contest plea means you will be found guilty.
  3. The judge will confirm you’re making the plea voluntarily. 

Earlier, we mentioned that pleading no contest means you’re not admitting guilt.  

But that does not mean the judge won’t find you guilty. 

Pleading no contest means that you will be found guilty

And the judge will provide you with your sentence

Difference Between Guilty And No Contest

Let’s talk about the difference between guilty and no contest. 

Pleading Guilty

Pleading guilty means that you:

  • admit the charges
  • have no defense for your criminal charges or offenses

And pleading guilty means the court can go ahead and punish you for your crimes. 

But the courts will also make sure that:

  • you entered the plea voluntarily
  • they have reason to believe you are telling the truth

Pleading No Contest

Pleading no contest means you do not admit guilt for the crime. 

But you’re not denying the facts of the case

Pleading no contest is the same as pleading guilting

Meaning you will still receive the same punishments or sentencing

When you are pleading no contest, the judge will hold a conversation with you. 

And try to determine why you are pleading no contest instead of guilty or not guilty. 

There is a chance that the judge may give you a lesser sentence. 

At least, compared to going to a jury trial to fight your case. 

Pleading No Contest Example

Let’s look at an example of pleading no contest. 

Let’s say you were involved in an accident and you were drunk driving

In this accident, you injured the people in the other car

You will have criminal charges of DUI

And you will have civil charges of personal injuries

There are three options in this case:

  • you can plead no-contest to the charges
  • you can plead guilty to the charges
  • you can contest the charges and go to trial

If you go to trial, they can find you guilty. 

If you plead no-contest to the DUI, there is no legal proof of guilt

And there is no admission of guilt on your behalf. 

This means that the civil case cannot use the guilty verdict in their civil case. 

But what if you did plead guilty, or were found guilty, in the DUI? 

The guilty verdict can be used in the civil proceeding

They use it as evidence of the driver’s liability

Why Would Someone Plead No Contest?

You’re probably wondering why someone would plead no contest

Especially if the punishment is the same as pleading guilty. 

The real difference is that pleading no contest keeps you out of litigation

This is because you’re not going to court to battle your charges

When you go to court to fight the charges, you will spend thousands in attorney fees

This is because you need an attorney to:

  • represent you
  • gather evidence to prove your evidence
  • show up in court for you numerous times

Depending on your scenario, it may be worth fighting instead of pleading no contest. 

You need to decide if it’s worth fighting your charges in court. 

Pleading No Contest To Misdemeanor

There is one benefit to pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges. 

Let’s say you have criminal and civil charges against you. 

Pleading no contest to misdemeanor criminal charges benefits you in the civil charges. 

This is because pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges is not an admission of guilt. 

If you had pleaded guilty, the civil case would not need to prove your guilt

Because you had already admitted it in the criminal charges. 

But if you are pleading no contest, then the civil case still needs to prove guilt

Is No Contest A Conviction?

Pleading no contest means that you will be convicted of the crime

Pleading no contest does not admit guilt. 

But choosing not to contest the charges results in a conviction

So, yes, a no contest is a conviction

How Long Does A No Contest Plea Stay On Your Record?

Wondering how long does a no-contest plea stay on your record? 

No contest pleas stay on your record for life

No contest pleas do not get dismissed

That is unless you have the no-contest plea expunged from your record

But, you only get one misdemeanor and one felony expungement

If you have used them before, a no-contest plea cannot get expunged. 

And the no-contest plea will stay on your record forever. 

Does Pleading No Contest Result In Lighter Punishment?

Pleading no contest does not lead to a lighter punishment

A no-contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea

This is because the judge finds you guilty with a no-contest plea. 

So, your sentencing will be the same with whether you plead no contest or guilty. 

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