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Nolo Contendere Plea

What is a Nolo Contendere Plea?

What is a nolo contendere plea in Texas?

Nolo contendere is a relatively rare plea from a criminal defendant in Texas. Nolo contendere is often referred to as no contest, and means the defendant neither accepts nor denies responsibility for the crime but accepts any punishment as if they pleaded guilty. The critical point to remember about a nolo contendere plea is that they can’t be used against the defendant in another case, unlike guilty pleas.

Judges are typically allowed to accept nolo contendere pleas but are authorized to rule and allocate the punishment just as if the defendant pleads guilty.

A nolo contendere plea does not admit guilt to the offense but indicates that the defendant won’t fight the charge.

Are you facing a criminal charge and considering pleading nolo contendere? You need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Varghese Summesett.

What does a nolo contendere plea mean?

Nolo contendere is Latin for “I do not wish to contend.” It is most commonly referred to as no contest.

Pleading nolo contendere in Texas court means a defendant accepts a conviction but doesn’t admit guilt for the alleged crime.

In short, a person pleading nolo contendere accepts the punishment for a conviction but never actually admits guilt to the offense. The defendant also isn’t denying responsibility for the alleged criminal offense when pleading nolo contendere.

It doesn’t change the consequences of a guilty verdict for a criminal charge, but the defendant never admits guilt and is spared going through a lengthy trial. You should consult with an experienced Dallas nolo contendere plea lawyer to have a complete understanding of its ramifications.


What does pleading nolo contendere accomplish?

Pleading no contest allows a defendant to avoid admitting guilt in a criminal case.

A nolo contendere plea is an option for anyone who caused serious personal injuries or substantial property damage. This could be a wise move for a defendant in a criminal case because the victim of the crime could file a personal injury or property damage suit against the defendant, claiming to recover medical expenses, damages, and other related compensation.

The victim could use a guilty plea in a criminal case in their civil lawsuit as evidence of the defendant’s liability. A no-contest plea, however, can’t be used as evidence in a civil case. This scenario is the main reason a defendant would plead nolo contendere in a criminal case.

How do you use a nolo contendere plea in plea bargains?

Pleading no contest may also be a condition agreed upon with the prosecutor in which the defendant accepts the charge in exchange for a softer sentence. In some cases, a prosecutor might even offer to charge a defendant with a lesser offense if they agree to a no-contest plea.

If a person pleads no contest in a misdemeanor case, the plea can’t be used against them as an admission of guilt in a civil lawsuit arising from the same incident on which the criminal prosecution was based. That means if a victim in a criminal case sues you, they need to prove your liability by a preponderance of the evidence and can’t use your previous no-contest plea as evidence.

In felony cases, however, nolo contendere works the same as a guilty plea and can be used as an admission of guilt in other legal proceedings, including civil lawsuits. A skilled Dallas nolo contendere plea lawyer will look at the entire scope of your situation before advising on how to plea.

Does a Texas court have to accept your plea?

No, Texas criminal courts don’t have to accept a no-contest plea. A prosecutor must accept a no-contest plea before it’s entered. The court could reject or accept the no-contest plea, even if the prosecutor agreed to it.

A judge will consider such factors as the defendant’s mental state, their ability to understand their legal rights, and the damages or injuries incurred by the victim. A Dallas nolo contendere plea lawyer will help walk you through this process.

Do you need a Dallas criminal defense attorney?

If you or a family member is facing a criminal investigation, you need legal representation as soon as possible. The Board Certified defense attorneys at Varghese Summersett will analyze the details of your case and discuss your options. Our attorneys will let you know if a nolo contendere plea makes sense in your case and advise on how to best proceed. For a free consultation, call us at 214-903-4000.

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