When facing traffic or criminal charges, you can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. You may feel a guilty plea is out of the question, which leaves you with the other two options.
You probably know that pleading not guilty means you are declaring yourself innocent and disputing the charges, but no contest is not that simple. Before you enter any plea, it is essential to comprehend what your words mean.
What does no contest mean?
Pleading no contest in Ohio means you do not admit or deny any facts or elements of the case. However, when you enter this plea, you also admit that the facts and elements of the case are or may be true. As such, the court may consider this “admission” when deciding how to rule.
Is pleading no contest unwise?
Not necessarily. There are some excellent reasons to consider a no-contest plea. Here are a few examples.
- When minimizing the costs and time involved in your case is a top priority
- If entering no contest is required in a deal (plea bargain) with the prosecution
- When avoiding the hassle and stress of a trial is a critical goal
If facing civil liability for damages related to the charges (like injuries in a crash), pleading no contest could be wise. The plea cannot be used against you in a connected civil claim.
What is the takeaway?
Always seek information before making big legal decisions, including the precise meaning of terms and language you may encounter. Having experienced legal guidance can help you understand the charges you face, your plea options and the possible consequences of conviction and better protect your rights.