What Does It Mean to Plead ‘No Contest’ to a Criminal Charge?

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The terms guilty plea and a no-contest plea are often used interchangeably. However, each can have different implications for a defendant who pleads to a criminal charge. If you are facing criminal charges, it is vital that you understand the difference between the two.

What Is a No Contest Plea?

Also known as “nolo contendere,” no contest plea is when the defendant (the person facing the charges) receives a conviction and accepts some sort of punishment but doesn’t actually admit guilt. For most defendants, the primary advantage of a no-contest plea is that it often can't be used as an admission of liability in a related civil case.

For example, suppose that John got into an argument with a person at a bar, and the argument turned into a fight. John then faces criminal charges and the other individual is suing him for assault and battery in a civil court. The civil court proceedings could result in John giving the other person monetary compensation for their injuries. In this case, John could give a no-contest plea to the criminal assault charge to help him with the civil lawsuit.

Should I Plead No Contest?

A no-contest plea is less often used in Arizona, but it is an option. Since every criminal case is unique, it is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine your best course of action. The plea you take at the beginning of your criminal charge will dictate how your case will go.

Our team at Suzuki Law Offices, L.L.C. has years of experience helping those facing criminal charges across the country. As former prosecutors, the Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Suzuki Law Offices, L.L.C. use insider knowledge to guide clients through the criminal justice system. We do not represent anyone's interest but those of our clients. This is what sets our firm apart and enables us to provide the top-tier legal help that you need and deserve.

Contact our Arizona criminal defense attorneys today at (602) 842-6762 to schedule a consultation!

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