Everyone knows that a criminal defendant can plead guilty or not guilty, but many people are not familiar with the third option of pleading no contest. A defendant who enters a no contest plea is not admitting that he committed the crime, but rather acknowledging that he does not contest the charges. Basically, pleading no contest is a way of telling the court that you admit the facts in the indictment are true, but you do not admit guilt. How is this any different from pleading guilty? When should you plead no contest? Here’s everything you need to know:
No Contest vs. Guilty Pleas
Defendants who plead no contest will be treated in the same manner as defendants who plead guilty. They will have criminal convictions on their records and will be sentenced by the judge. The main difference between the two pleas is a defendant who pleads no contest is not admitting guilt. This may not seem like much, but it is incredibly beneficial for defendants who may face civil cases in the future.
For example, let’s say a man is driving while under the influence of alcohol and crashes into another vehicle, injuring the driver inside. An officer arrives at the scene shortly after the crash and charges the man with DUI. In this scenario, the man may face a criminal case for violating the law and a civil case for injuring the other driver. If he pleads guilty, the injured driver can use this against him in the civil case. But if he pleads no contest, the injured driver may have a harder time proving he was intoxicated and negligent at the time of the crash.
When to Plead No Contest
It’s strongly recommended that you do not enter a plea without talking to a criminal defense attorney first. If you are asked to plead no contest as part of a plea deal, do not agree to do so before talking about your options with an attorney. Many people think that pleading no contest will help them avoid some of the potential penalties of a criminal conviction, but that’s not the case. It’s important to understand the consequences of pleading no contest and how they will affect your future before making this decision.
If you are facing criminal charges, seek legal representation from the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. We will thoroughly review the details of your case and help you make the best decisions for your future. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.