No Contest Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of No Contest, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is No Contest?

It refers to the defendants plea to the court of law that he/she would not fight against or dispute the allegations or charges filed against him/her. It means he/she will not contest the lawsuit. Court cannot take the stance of no-contest as accepting guilt. It is a different fact that the defendant does not want to dispute the charges and it will be on the plaintiff to prove the charges. But in its way, the no-contest plea needs a considerable convincing on the part of defendant to the court in order to get the plea in his/her favour.

History and Definition of No Contest

The no contest plea or "nolo contendere" originated from the Latin legal maxim "nolo contendere," which means "I do not wish to contend." The plea was created as a way for the defendant to avoid a trial and to protect themself from a guilty verdict if they pled guilty to the charges. By entering a no contest plea, the defendant agrees to be sentenced without admitting guilt or wrongdoing.

Examples of No Contest

  1. The defendant pled no contest to a charge of embezzlement and was sentenced to three years of probation.
  2. The accused decided to plead no contest to the charges of aggravated assault in return for a reduced sentence.
  3. The court entered a judgment of conviction against the defendant because they failed to show they entered a voluntary and knowing no contest plea.

Legal Terms Similar to No Contest

  1. Guilty plea: A plea entered by the defendant admitting guilt to the charged crime.
  2. Alford plea: A plea that allows a defendant to plead guilty and receive a sentence without admitting guilt or confessing to the crime.
  3. Plea bargaining: The process by which the defendant and the prosecutor negotiate to reach a plea agreement that will result in a reduced sentence.