Course: Introduction / Procedural Law
Nolo Contendere is Latin for “No contest,” which is a type of plea that has the same effect as a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but may not be considered as an admission of guilt for any other purpose.
Nolo contendere, which means “no contest” in Latin, is a type of plea that is used in criminal cases. A nolo contendere plea has the same effect as a guilty plea in terms of the criminal sentence but is not considered an admission of guilt for any other purpose. This means that the defendant is not admitting to the crime but is instead agreeing not to contest the charges.
Benefits of a Nolo Contendere Plea
When a defendant enters a nolo plea, they are essentially telling the court that they do not want to contest the charges against them. This plea can be used in a variety of criminal cases, including traffic violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. In some cases, a nolo contendere plea may be used as part of a plea bargain with the prosecution, in which the defendant agrees to plead no contest in exchange for a reduced sentence or other favorable outcomes.
One of the key benefits of a nolo contendere plea is that it can help defendants avoid the negative consequences of a criminal conviction, such as a criminal record. This is because a nolo contendere plea is not considered an admission of guilt, and therefore, the defendant may be able to avoid some of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, such as difficulty finding employment or housing.
However, it is important to note that a nolo plea can still result in a criminal sentence, including fines, probation, or incarceration. In addition, a nolo contendere plea may not be an option in all cases, and defendants should always consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before making this decision.
Another advantage of a nolo contendere plea is that it can be used to avoid civil liability. This is because a nolo contendere plea cannot be used as evidence in a civil lawsuit against the defendant. This can be particularly beneficial in cases where the defendant may face both criminal and civil liability, such as in cases of medical malpractice or product liability.
Drawbacks of a Nolo Contendere Plea
However, it is important to note that a “no contest” plea may not always be the best option for defendants, and they should always consider their options carefully before making this decision. In some cases, it may be better to contest the charges in court or to seek a plea bargain that does not involve a nolo contendere plea.
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- Wilford, M. M., Wells, G. L., & Frazier, A. (2021). Plea-bargaining law: The impact of innocence, trial penalty, and conviction probability on plea outcomes. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 46, 554-575.
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Last Modified: 04/17/2023