No Contest Plea Definition


At your traffic court trial, the judge will announce your charge and ask for your plea. You basically have three options: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The guilty and not guilty pleas are self-explanatory, but clients sometimes ask me what “no contest” means.

A “no contest” plea (which comes from the Latin phrase “nolo contendere”) is a middle ground between guilty and not guilty. It means that you aren’t admitting that you committed the crime or infraction, but you also aren’t going to contest the Commonwealth’s evidence against you. If you enter a no contest plea, you are forfeiting your right to mount a defense.

You might want to consider a no contest plea in a case where you know the Commonwealth of Virginia has strong evidence against you and you don’t have a defense. If you don’t have a defense, it can make sense to not contest the charge and ask for leniency in sentencing.

However, you shouldn’t enter a plea without first talking with a traffic lawyer. You might have a defense that you aren’t aware of.

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Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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