Many of us have heard the term “no contest,” or in Latin “nolo contendere,” which means “I do not wish to contend,” on television or maybe during a trip to court here in Pensacola, but what does that mean and what is the difference between a plea of no contest and a plea of guilty in Florida?
Sometimes there is, effectively, no difference and sometimes there is a considerable difference.
If someone pleads guilty, they are admitting to the facts and legal consequences of those facts. However, by entering a no contest plea, a person is not admitting their guilt but is admitting there are facts the prosecution can prove that would result in a conviction. Specifically, by entering a plea of no contest a person is neither denying their guilt or admitting it. Rather, they are admitting that it is in their best interest to enter the plea. The sentencing consequences can be, and usually are, the same.