Pleading no contest means you don’t admit guilty but you agree to be convicted and sentenced exactly as if you’re guilty.
No contest is one of the three pleas you can enter when charged with a crime (guilty, not guilty or no contest). It is also called nolo contendere, Latin for “I do not wish to argue it.” The essential meaning of a no contest is that you aren’t going to fight the charge.
Some people view no contest as a middle ground between guilty and not guilty. That’s not exactly true, because you will be treated exactly as if you’re guilty. If you plead no contest you will be convicted without a trial and then sentenced for DUI. The conviction will appear the same to most people as if you were found guilty by the court.
But no contest has its uses in certain cases. Technically, by pleading no contest you are not admitting that you drove under the influence. That means that if the issue comes up in other court cases—such as a lawsuit—the other party will have to prove whether you were under the influence or not.
A no contest plea cannot always be used in a DUI cases. In Los Angeles, some judges won’t allow it. Even when it is allowed, you should never plead no contest unless your own lawyer recommends it.
(Read more about how a no contest plea can help your DUI case.)
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