Term of the Day
No Contest Plea
Definition - What does No Contest Plea mean?
While you are probably already familiar with the most common pleas that can be made in a court, such as “guilty” or “not guilty”. One plea that is known by many but slightly less common is the “not guilty by reason of insanity”. A no contest plea is not commonly known or used, and therefore can be a bit confusing.
What does no contest plea mean?
"No contest plea" is the English way of saying Latin phrase “nolo contendere” which means: “I do not wish to contend.” That is to say that when you make a no contest plea, you are essentially accepting all of the charges, but not admitting your guilt in the crime. This may not make sense at first, and you may find yourself asking “Why would you ever accept the charges if you didn’t agree with being guilty?” In some situations, a no contest plea is no different than just pleading guilty.
A no contest plea is essentially like saying: “I am not going to say whether or not I am guilty. But whatever punishment you were bound to give me is better than the long and drawn out legal battle that we are destined to go through if I do not make this no contest plea.” for this reason a no contest plea can save a lot of time.
Advantages of a no contest plea:
A person may make a no contest plea if they are attempting to avoid going to trial. There are a few main reasons that people may not want to go to trial. The main advantage is that if you make a no contest plea, you will not have to spend a long time battling an issue in court. Another advantage of a no contest plea is that if you make a no contest plea, it cannot be used against you in a lawsuit. If you were to plead guilty, it would automatically imply that you are guilty in a civil lawsuit.
Disadvantages of a no contest plea:
There are also some disadvantages to a no contest plea. Sometimes, the court may reward you somehow for saving them a lengthy and costly legal battle. This may not be much, but it is not uncommon to receive a lesser sentence. It should be noted that a no contest plea does not necessarily mean that you will be rewarded or treated differently by the judge, but it is a possibility.
Example of a no contest plea situation:
One situation where a no contest plea might make sense is more common than you might think. For an example, let’s use two people: James and Samantha. While driving, James accidentally causes an accident with another driver, Samantha. When in court, James knows that the evidence is stacked against him, but he makes a no contest plea so that he can fight Samantha in the civil lawsuit.
A final note about no contest pleas:
Like all legal decisions, you should make sure that if you are going to make a no contest plea that it is the best choice in your situation. A no contest plea is best used when the evidence is stacked against you, but you want the benefits of not pleading guilty. It is important to do your research about what is the best way to plea in court based on your specific situation and see if a no contest plea is right for you.