Blog

What is a Nolo Contendere Plea and When is it a Good Idea in a DUI Case?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

nolo contendere plea is something that is very similar to a guilty plea, but with one crucial difference: You're not admitting to any wrongdoing. That nuance is extremely important because it can protect people accused of certain crimes from exposing themselves to liability in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit.

Three Types of Pleas in Pennsylvania

Contrary to popular belief, there's an option other than pleading guilty or pleading not guilty at an arraignment. You can also plead nolo contendere, or “no contest.”

As the English translation of the Latin idiom suggests, pleading no contest to a criminal charge means that you do not intend to fight the allegations. Instead, you'll just let the court issue the sentence it would, had you been proven guilty.

Pleading No Contest Has the Same Effect as Pleading Guilty

For the most part, this makes a nolo contendere plea the same as a guilty plea. Rather than fighting against the prosecutor's case, you are choosing to skip the trial, go right to sentencing, and accept the punishment that the court hands down.

However, unlike with a plea of guilty, you are not admitting that you did anything wrong. Instead, you are simply saying that you won't fight against the charges.

By Not Admitting Guilt, You Can Protect Yourself Against a Later Civil Case

The admission of guilt that comes with a guilty plea or a jury's verdict against you can be used as evidence if the victim files a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their losses.

This is especially common in cases involving driving under the influence, or DUI.

In lots of DUI cases, the person who was hurt or killed by a drunk driver will consider filing a lawsuit and demanding compensation for their medical bills, pain, and suffering. A good strategy on their part is to wait until the DUI case against the allegedly drunk driver is over and done with.

If you plead guilty to a DUI charge, the victim can use that guilty plea as evidence that you were under the influence, which means you were driving negligently and caused their injuries and entitles them to compensation.

By pleading no contest to a DUI rather than guilty, you can keep them from using the guilty plea as evidence that you hurt them.

A Downside: Judges Can See Guilty Pleas as Expressions of Regret

Pleading no contest to a criminal charge is not without drawbacks, though. Judges who sentence defendants often see a guilty plea as an act of contrition and regret. When you plead no contest, instead, judges might see it as a self-serving decision and may not be more lenient with their sentence.

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento

Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense lawyer who legally represents the accused in Philadelphia, including those who have been accused of DUI. With his advice and representation, he can help you decide the appropriate response to a DUI charge.

Contact him online or call his law office at (215) 535-5353.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience fighting for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, as well as New Jersey. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu