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Jamie P.
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Law
TutorMe
Question:

What does it mean to plead "nolo contendere" in a criminal trial?

Jamie P.
Answer:

In a criminal trial, it is generally understood that the accused may plead "guilty" or "not guilty." However, this is also a third option, known as "nolo contendere," which can best be described as a combination of both pleas. When pleading nolo contendere, the accused does not expressly admit guilt but rather waives the right to trial and authorizes the court to proceed as if a guilty plea had been entered. While a nolo contendere plea is essentially the equivalent of a conviction; it is not necessarily an admission of factual guilt. In other words, nolo contendere can be used where the accused maintains his innocence with respect to the underlying crime, but admits that sufficient evidence exists to convict him of the offense. This is particularly useful when the criminal action also gives rise to a civil action. In most cases, a plea of nolo contendere does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing for the purpose of civil litigation. For example, a plea of nolo contendere to a criminal assault charge in most cases can not be introduced in any civil action that arises out of the same act. It is important to note that a plea of nolo contendere is not available to a defendant as a matter of right, rather its use requires express permission of the court. The rules for a plea of nolo contendere differ between jurisdictions, but generally the court possessed wide discretion in allowing its use based upon its consideration of the individual circumstances of the case and public policy implications. Depending on the jurisdiction, the plea may be considered absolute, rather than conditional, in which the defendant may reserve his right to withdraw such a plea upon appeal.

Pre-law
TutorMe
Question:

What does it mean to plead "nolo contendere" in a criminal trial?

Jamie P.
Answer:

In a criminal trial, it is generally understood that the accused may plead "guilty" or "not guilty." However, this is also a third option, known as "nolo contendere," which can best be described as a combination of both pleas. When pleading nolo contendere, the accused does not expressly admit guilt but rather waives the right to trial and authorizes the court to proceed as if a guilty plea had been entered. While a nolo contendere plea is essentially the equivalent of a conviction; it is not necessarily an admission of factual guilt. In other words, nolo contendere can be used where the accused maintains his innocence with respect to the underlying crime, but admits that sufficient evidence exists to convict him of the offense. This is particularly useful when the criminal action also gives rise to a civil action. In most cases, a plea of nolo contendere does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing for the purpose of civil litigation. For example, a plea of nolo contendere to a criminal assault charge in most cases can not be introduced in any civil action that arises out of the same act. It is important to note that a plea of nolo contendere is not available to a defendant as a matter of right, rather its use requires express permission of the court. The rules for a plea of nolo contendere differ between jurisdictions, but generally the court possessed wide discretion in allowing its use based upon its consideration of the individual circumstances of the case and public policy implications. Depending on the jurisdiction, the plea may be considered absolute, rather than conditional, in which the defendant may reserve his right to withdraw such a plea upon appeal.

Criminal Justice
TutorMe
Question:

What does it mean to plead "nolo contendere" in a criminal trial?

Jamie P.
Answer:

In a criminal trial, it is generally understood that the accused may plead "guilty" or "not guilty." However, this is also a third option, known as "nolo contendere," which can best be described as a combination of both pleas. When pleading nolo contendere, the accused does not expressly admit guilt but rather waives the right to trial and authorizes the court to proceed as if a guilty plea had been entered. While a nolo contendere plea is essentially the equivalent of a conviction; it is not necessarily an admission of factual guilt. In other words, nolo contendere can be used where the accused maintains his innocence with respect to the underlying crime, but admits that sufficient evidence exists to convict him of the offense. This is particularly useful when the criminal action also gives rise to a civil action. In most cases, a plea of nolo contendere does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing for the purpose of civil litigation. For example, a plea of nolo contendere to a criminal assault charge in most cases can not be introduced in any civil action that arises out of the same act. It is important to note that a plea of nolo contendere is not available to a defendant as a matter of right, rather its use requires express permission of the court. The rules for a plea of nolo contendere differ between jurisdictions, but generally the court possessed wide discretion in allowing its use based upon its consideration of the individual circumstances of the case and public policy implications. Depending on the jurisdiction, the plea may be considered absolute, rather than conditional, in which the defendant may reserve his right to withdraw such a plea upon appeal.

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