A no contest plea is similar to a guilty plea; however, the defendant is not going to fight the charges but is not admitting guilt. Such a plea informs the court that the defendant wants to avoid trial and grants the court full discretion when determining a sentence, which is often reduced.
Although this option may not sound appealing at first, there are several reasons to avoid trial with a no contest plea.
The following are advantages of pleading no contest to criminal charges:
- Since a no contest plea helps avoid trial, the outcome of the case will remain private and away from the public eye.
- If an infraction or misdemeanor case involves a civil lawsuit, a no contest plea in a misdemeanor criminal case cannot be used as evidence in a civil case. However, that is not the case for a felony no contest plea.
If the defendant is given the choice between either pleading guilty or no contest, the prosecution may offer him or her a plea bargain. In a plea bargain, the prosecution may insist that the defendant plead guilty rather than no contest, which may result in a reduced charge or reduced penalties.
Ultimately, varying and complex rules mean that you should consult an experience criminal defense attorney to understand the consequences of any kind of plea in a given case.
For more information, contact our Ventura criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert for more information today.