Law

What Is A No Contest plea?

After a criminal arrest, the defendant may choose to accept a plea agreement with the prosecutor or seek a jury trial. There are various options the N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation will discuss with you. Plea bargains have obvious definitions, including not guilty, not guilty by reasons, and guilty. However, a no contest plea often requires clarification.

Even though the terms “no contest” and “guilty” can be used interchangeably, they do not mean the same nor have the same implication for the defendant. If you are encountering criminal charges, you should speak to an experienced attorney and understand the plea agreements.

What is a no contest plea?

Plea agreements are common, but there is no guarantee of getting one. Defendants are not guaranteed to receive a plea deal. It does not matter whether or not the prosecutor deals with your defense attorney will always rely on the facts of the case. Considering that a plea deal will not be the right choice in your circumstances is essential.

When a defendant claims guilty, they are admitting to guilt. In essence, the defendant informs the court that they committed the crime as they were charged. It becomes part of the court register. 

By pleading guilty, the defendant waives their right to trial by jury, to face the accuser, and not to accuse themselves. Once the judge agrees the plea, the case will move directly to the sentencing stage, and no jury trial will be held. 

Why choose a plea agreement?

In most cases, the defendant does not accept guilt during their first court appearance. It gives their attorney time to evaluate the case and the evidence against their client. During this period, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecuting attorney for a plea bargain.

There are benefits to taking a plea bargain, which include:

  • The prosecution’s case

If the prosecution does not have a strong case, they can approach your lawyer with a good plea agreement. 

  • Money

You may have the right to a trial by jury, but it can last for weeks and cost you more money than anticipated. And after that you are found guilty, you will face fines and court fees. 

  • Penalties

You can be sentenced to maximum time and money if you are found guilty at trial. This will add up to thousands of dollars and years in prison. Your attorney can negotiate a plea deal containing the minimum sentence depending on your charge. 

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