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 Law Firm at (480) 378-9000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.