After you are arrested for a crime, the court will ask how you plead to the charges against you. Your plea has important consequences for your case. Therefore, it is important for you to speak with a criminal defense lawyer before entering any plea with the court.
Three Plea Options in Virginia
When it comes time to enter a plea, you have the following three options:
- Plead Guilty. If you plead guilty, you are telling the court you committed the crimes for which you have been charged, and you are willing to give up your right to a trial. In most cases, you will not be able to appeal if you plead guilty.
- Plead Not Guilty. When you plead not guilty, you are telling the court you do not believe the government has enough evidence to prove its case against you. The case will proceed as if it is going to trial. The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted, and you will have the right to defend yourself.
- Plead Nolo Contendre. A nolo contendre plea, or no contest plea, tells the court that you are not challenging the government’s evidence against you and that you believe the evidence is enough to convict you. While you do not admit that you committed the crime, the effect of a no contest plea is the same as a guilty plea. In most cases, you cannot appeal after a nolo contendre plea.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Before Entering a Plea
To understand the best plea option after an arrest in Midlothian, Chesterfield County, or the greater Richmond area, it is important to consult with a Virginia criminal defense attorney before you go to court. At Quest Law PLLC, we will be honest with you from the very start and explain the consequences of each potential plea to you. Contact us today to learn more.