What Types of Pleas Can Be Made in a Criminal Case?

What Types of Plea Can be Made in a Criminal Case?

In California, there are three basic types of pleas used in criminal cases.


Pleading guilty will result in a conviction. The defendant will not have a trial and the judge will sentence them. Hold a sentencing hearing for both the prosecution and defense to present their case regarding punishment. The defendant who pleads guilty does not have the right to appeal.

Not Guilty

When a defendant pleads not guilty, they are denying that they committed the alleged crime. They are announcing that they intend to fight the charges and to go to trial. They have a right to a jury trial and if found guilty, to appeal.

No-Contest (Nolo Contenders)

A defendant who pleads no contest will be found guilty of the charges presented while not admitting or denying responsibility for the alleged crime. Further, the term “nolo contenders” comes from the Latin phrase “I do not wish to contend”. A no-contest plea is part of a plea bargain and must be approved by the court.

However, limit these types of pleas to misdemeanors. While a no-contest plea results in a guilty finding, one cannot use the conviction as evidence in a civil trial. This is not true if the crime is a felony.

Learn More About the Types of Pleas Used in a Criminal Case

The defense at arraignment enters these pleas. It’s important that the defendant make the right decision about which plea to make as it will having lasting effects on the defendant’s life.

It is extremely important that someone accused of a crime consult with an attorney before entering a plea in a criminal case. They need to understand their rights and what impact the different pleas have on the outcome of their case.

Contact Kersey Law if you are facing criminal charges. We have the experience to get you through this difficult time.

Leave a Comment

Recent Legal Insights


Join Us on YouTube

Call Us 619-399-3366

Your Defense Starts with One Call

Don’t face criminal charges alone—Kersey Law is here to safeguard your rights. With a proven track record of reducing or dismissing charges, we’re committed to keeping your record clean.

Scroll to Top