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No Contest or Guilty: A Look at Florida’s Plea Options

If you are facing criminal charges, there will come a time when you have to enter a plea with the court. Most people – even if it’s just through TV legal dramas – are aware of the standard options of guilty, not guilty, and no contest. The difference between guilty and not guilty is obvious. However, what is the difference between a guilty plea and a no contest plea? How will your plea affect your case? Our Sarasota criminal defense attorneys discuss the issue below.

Pleading No Contest

To many, entering a no contest plea may seem very similar to pleading guilty. After all, if you didn’t want to admit guilt to the allegations made against you, why wouldn’t you simply enter a not guilty plea? Still, there are certain instances in which a no contest plea is more appropriate than a not guilty plea, and doing so can actually be beneficial to you in your case.

When an individual pleads not guilty, he or she is rejecting the allegations made against you in clear terms. Depending on how much evidence the police officers were able to gather to support their claims, entering a not guilty plea could actually harm you, particularly if the evidence clearly shows your guilt. In such cases, entering a plea of no contest may be the best move.

No contest pleas simply mean that the individuals facing charges are not admitting guilt, nor are they claiming innocence. Instead, the person is choosing not to contest the allegations made by the prosecution. Pleas of no contest may result in the same consequences and penalties as guilty pleas; however, occasionally, there are certain benefits associated with the no contest option.

Pleading Guilty in Florida Criminal Cases

If you are charged with a crime and decide to plead guilty, you are confessing that you committed the crime and are responsible for the consequences of your actions. A guilty plea shows the judge and jury that you recognize your involvement and that you accept the sentence you are given. Depending on the crime you are accused of committing, the evidence that law enforcement gathered, and the possible penalties, pleading guilty may be one way to negotiate a more lenient sentence or to avoid future legal difficulties.

How Can a No Contest Plea Help Your Case?

In Florida, a no contest plea cannot be used against a person in future civil and criminal court cases. If a person pleads guilty to a specific crime, the admission of guilt can be referenced and used against him in future litigation. However, a no contest plea typically cannot be used in the future. Also, a person who pleads no contest has the chance to appeal if the court rules against him. 

Speak to Our Skilled Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

If you are facing criminal charges, you are encouraged to discuss your options with any one of our Sarasota criminal defense attorneys right away. Entering a specific plea can mold the way your case is handled and shape how any future cases against you may be dealt with. For more information, contact our knowledgeable criminal attorneys today.

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