What is a No Contest Plea Deal in New York?

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What is a No Contest Plea Deal in New York?


When you are charged with a crime you have three options for a plea: guilty, not guilty, and no contest.

A guilty plea says you admit to the crime.

A not guilty plea says that you do not admit guilt, and you want your right to a trial. Not guilty pleas go to trial unless changed, as prosecutors only make plea deals with people who plead guilty or no contest.

A no contest plea says you agree to accept conviction but you don’t admit guilt. You’re basically saying: based on the facts you have gathered I see how you could come to this conclusion. I didn’t do it, but I admit that you could convict me if you went to trial.

In some cases a no contest plea is treated exactly like a guilty plea. It is also usually entered as part of a plea deal.

Advantages of a No Contest Plea Deal

No contest plea deals are usually most advantageous when you are being charged with a misdemeanor that could be followed up with a civil court case. For example, if this is a DWI, assault, or reckless driving charge that could end up in personal injury court as well, pleading no contest ensures you won’t say anything on the record that can be used against you in those civil cases later.

In addition, as part of a misdemeanor plea deal, it could work just like a guilty plea vis a vis getting a reduced sentence or a reduced charge. This could mean less jail time, or no jail time at all, depending on the deal.

Disadvantages of a No Contest Plea Deal

In a felony case a no contest plea deal does almost nothing for you, and some judges won’t even allow them. They are treated exactly like a guilty plea and your sentence is likely to be exactly the same, as are the collateral consequences of being convicted of a crime

In addition, you’re still waiving your right to a jury trial. In felony cases it can be more advantageous to go to trial, or to plead guilty in exchange for a better plea deal. 

Talk to Your Lawyer First—Always!

You should never enter a plea of no contest without talking to your attorney first. It’s a good move in some cases, but it may not be a good move in your case. 

Contact our office to get a dedicated criminal defense attorney working hard on your case today. If you or a loved one is in trouble, you can’t afford to do without the kind of focused case review and work on your case that you can receive when you work with a private criminal lawyer. Our office is standing by to help you today.

See also:

How Does Alternative Sentencing Work in NYC?

Does the DA Prosecute Minor Crimes in Manhattan?

What Happens When Criminal Charges Get Dropped in NYC?

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