A no contest plea – also known as “nolo contendere,”
which means “I do not wish to contend” in Latin – is
generally used in criminal proceedings as an alternative to a guilty or
not guilty plea. When pleading no contest, the defendant neither admits
nor disputes committing the
criminal offense in question.
The Benefit of a No Contest Plea
While you may think there is no point to ever plead no contest, there is
only one advantage – which relates to civil court. This type of
plea is beneficial to those seeking to avoid admission of fault in a civil
case related to the criminal case.
For instance, say that you were involved in a
DUI offense that also resulted in damage to a building. The building’s
owner files a civil complaint against you to obtain compensation for the
damage to the building. If you were to plead guilty in the criminal case,
the building owner can use that plea as evidence in the civil case in
order to prove you are responsible for the damage. On the other hand,
if you plead no contest, the owner cannot offer that plea into evidence
in the civil suit.
Keep in mind, a no contest plea has the exact same legal impact as a guilty
plea. So, if you plead no contest to a criminal charge, the conviction
and penalties will be documented in your criminal record.
For more information,
contact Naegle & Crider at (480) 418-0776 or fill out our online form to schedule
a free case consultation today.