Wisconsin Guilty, Not Guilty and No Contest

Question: Can you discuss/define the three types of pleas in Wisconsin: guilty, not guilty and no contest?

Answer: First of all, a not guilty plea is pretty self-explanatory. We always enter not guilty pleas in the beginning of all cases for our clients. Now, the question at some point—sometimes people will enter a plea to a charge pursuant to a plea agreement—and the question is whether or not it’s going to be a guilty plea or what we call in Wisconsin a no contest plea. The only difference between guilty pleas and no contest pleas are essentially that a no contest plea can’t be used against someone in the civil context. So, for example, if you have an accident and you’re entering some kind of plea as a result of that accident, that should be a no contest plea so that can’t be used in the civil suit against you.


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