What is the difference between pleading “Guilty” and “No Contest”?

When a Defendant pleads “guilty”, it means the Defendant is admitting to all the facts alleged the plea offer. A plea of “no contest” means that the Defendant, although not admitting to the facts, agrees that if there were a trial he would lose. The Judge still finds the Defendant guilty in both cases.

The advantage of a “no contest plea” is that if there was civil suit, the Defendant will not have admitted to the facts. This means the factual basis of the civil suit will have to be proven in a civil trial. ┬áThe Plaintiff may have a more difficult time accomplishing this compared to the situation where the Defendant plead guilty in the criminal case. It is something to consider if there is any possibility of a civil suit.

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