Nolo Contendere Plea

Once a person is arrested in Pittsburgh, their case will work its way through Pennsylvania’s legal system. The system is complicated and involves many steps, starting with the initial arraignment. The process then goes all the way through a trial, to sentencing. However, there is a high probability that your case will not go through all these steps. At any time on the journey, it can be settled. One of the most common ways this can happen is through a nolo contendere plea. A competent Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney can help you through the process of such a plea.

Usually, defendants who are charged with criminal offenses end in a plea bargain. Only a small number of cases go to trial. The incentive for defendants in plea bargaining is to admit guilt to a lower charge and receive a lighter sentence than they could potentially receive at trial. Defendants who are charged with less serious convictions are imposed with a lighter sentence by the judge after the defendant pleas.

A nolo contendere plea is offered in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Pennsylvania as an alternative to pleading guilty or not guilty. This is a complex plea that sometimes leads to general perplexity. Your Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer will negotiate in your best interest and inform you fully of any plea deals.

“No Contest” Basics

After the pretrial conferences are finished, and your Criminal Defense Lawyer in Pittsburgh has reviewed the evidence against you, you can either decide to face a jury, or you can plead guilty. Pleading guilty means admitting that you committed the crimes you have been accused of. One of the ways you can give a guilty plea is a nolo contendere plea.

In “no contest” or nolo contendere pleas, the defendant doesn’t admit the crime or guilt but offers no contest to the case. One tangible benefit of pleading no contest is it prohibits the use of the criminal action in a related civil suit.

When a nolo contendere plea is given, the judge and the prosecutor agree on the sentence to give the defendant. By giving a nolo contendere plea, you are indicating that you know the prosecutor has enough evidence to prove you did the deed, but that you are not guilty. You will still receive the same sentence as if you had been found guilty by a jury, because in the eyes of the law, you are still guilty.

There is one advantage to a nolo contendere plea, and that is that your criminal record will state “nolo contendere” instead of “guilty.” Anyone running a background check will see that was the plea you gave.

The judge will accept your nolo contendere plea, if you are competent to make a decision about your plea, and are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You may be sentenced right then, or a sentencing hearing may be scheduled for you for a future date.

If you change your mind about your nolo contendere plea at a later date and decide you want to plead guilty, you will be reminded of your rights by the judge. He or she will read a formal statement to you, and make sure you understand what you are doing. If you plead guilty, you give up the right to file any more motions and to have a trial by jury.

Hire an Experienced and Dedicated Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney

In a nolo contendere plea, the law is a bit convoluted. The case has to be handled by an experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer like Sean Logue, who has the appropriate background to handle pleas. Your lawyer’s main job is to discredit evidence and show that you weren’t responsible for the crime. Your lawyer will find adequate evidence to make your plea possible. Don’t delay! Call the offices of Logue Law Group now at (412) 612-2210 or (412) 612-2210, or contact us online.

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