When facing a criminal charge at court, most people know you can either enter a plea of Not Guilty, or you can enter a plea of Guilty. A few have heard of another type of plea called nolo contendere, or “pleading nolo” for short. Since pleading nolo is less common than the other two types of pleas, you might be wondering, what does it mean to plead nolo contendere?
The short answer to the question (what does it mean to plead nolo contendere?) is that to plead nolo contendere means to plead “no contest” to the criminal charge you may be facing. When you plead nolo contedere, you admit that the State has enough evidence to convict you and that you are not disputing the charges.
What is the impact of pleading nolo contendere?
Just as if you had plead Guilty, entering a plea of nolo contendere will result in a conviction for that criminal charge. This may result in you facing some penalties and collateral consequences. All convictions are added to your permanent adult criminal record.
The difference with peading nolo contendere occurs when you expect to face civil liability as a result of the criminal charge. In this set of circumstances, when you plead nolo contendere, it is not considered to be an admission to civil liability in the event you are sued for damages.
When should I plead nolo contendere?
Whether or not you plead nolo contendere depends on whether it would make sense for you to do so. Just like any other plea, one should be entered in your case only under the informed advice of your criminal defense lawyer. Your criminal defense lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not pleading nolo contendere is for you.
You should not plead nolo contendere just to avoid entering a Guilty plea. And, you should not plead nolo contendere as a shortcut to get your case “over with” more quickly. What is always best is to plead Not Guilty and fight the case rather than plead guilty or nolo contendere.
Our committed legal team is determined to take immediate action to seek a positive case outcome. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in Maine, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We will take the time to answer your questions and to put your mind at ease as we work with you to determine a defense strategy.
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