How will this change the outcome of your case?
While you’re subject to the same penalties and fines as if you’d pled guilty, in most cases a no-contest plea cannot be used to force an allocution, or explanation of the defendant about why he or she committed the crime. This means that the no-contest plea cannot be used to prove that you acted will ill-intent (commonly called malice in legal proceedings) and often, charges that you pled no-contest to cannot be used at all in civil cases.
When is it appropriate to enter a no-contest plea?
However, it is important to note that no-contest is not an available plea in all states, and even when used, it often carries certain restrictions. In states where it is allowed, you will often need permission from the court to use this type of plea.
Often, if your recollection of the event is hazy (as is often the case in DUI and other similar charges), but you feel there is enough evidence to convict you, a no-contest plea might be a good option.
Some other reasons to plead no-contest include:
- The possibility (though NOT guarantee) of a lighter sentence.
- Not having to testify for something you know (or remember) little of
- Avoiding later issues with civil lawsuits
In any case, the only person who is qualified to advise you on the merits and drawbacks of a no-contest plea is your lawyer. Make sure you have a good lawyer on your side, someone who is in your corner and willing to help you make sure you have all your rights upheld as you navigate the legal system.