It can be difficult to decide how to respond to criminal charges on your own. You must have some confidence in your defense team if you are a defendant. However, there can be issues when handling a criminal case that’s going through the criminal justice system.
How you respond to the criminal accusations against you is one choice you must make for yourself, often with some advice from your defense team. Generally, your choices are pleading guilty, not guilty or no contest. Whether or not you were successful in negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecution may have an impact on the plea you choose.
The difference between pleading guilty, not guilty and no contest
Simply put, pleading guilty means that you are admitting to doing the charged crimes. Pleading not guilty means you don’t admit to the crime and don’t believe the charges are justified. A no-contest plea essentially means that you’re not admitting to any of the charged crimes, but you aren’t denying them, but you are willing to accept the court’s judgment. It’s important to understand that “no contest” will result in a conviction, although it is sometimes used in charges related to car accidents in order to try to minimize civil liabilities.
Enforcing your right to a trial
Many people are told that it’s in their best interests to plead guilty. A guilty plea would mean you’d be charged with an appropriate sentence. But, if you haven’t yet received a sentence after pleading guilty, then it’s often possible to withdraw your guilty plea. People often withdraw their guilty plea to assert their right to a trial.
In some cases, a plea could be withdrawn if a sentence is made, although there are a few times this can be done. For example, if you believe your legal representation was poor, the court may permit you to withdraw your earlier plea.
If you’ve been denied the ability to rescind a plea, it would be wisest to find out more about your legal options for an appeal.