What does it means when you plead “no contest” to a charge?

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What does it means when you plead “no contest” to a charge?

My husband has to appear in court and the charge is resisting an officer (there was a misunderstanding on my husband’s part). So that is why we want to know what would the best the decision.

Asked on March 7, 2011 under Criminal Law, Louisiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

With a plea of "no contest" or ("nolo contendere"), a defendant accepts punishment for a crime without admitting or denying guilt.  The defendant lets the court impose a sentence. The effect of pleading no contest is basically the same as pleading guilty - you are convicted of a crime and a punishment will be imposed.  However, since you don't admit guilt the conviction can't be used against you later in a civil suit that may come out of the criminal activity.

Based on the facts presented, I'm not sure how your husband wants this to apply to his case.  If there was a genuine misunderstanding then the court needs to be made aware of this defense.  Right now, your husband  should consult with a criminal law attorney as to his rights.


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