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Pleading No Contest in Virginia Is the Same as Pleading Guilty

Pleading No Contest in Virginia Is the Same as Pleading Guilty

In Virginia, drivers can plead “guilty”, “not guilty” or “no contest” (no contest is also called “nolo contendere”). However, there is no practical difference between no contest (nolo contender) and guilty.

In many states, “no contest” is used to protect defendants from law suits stemming from their traffic ticket or criminal charge. BUT NOT IN VIRGINIA!

Va Code § 8.01-418 states:

“Whenever, in any civil action, it is contended that any party thereto pled guilty or nolo contendere or suffered a forfeiture in a prosecution for a criminal offense or traffic infraction which arose out of the same occurrence upon which the civil action is based, evidence of said plea or forfeiture as shown by the records of the criminal court shall be admissible. Where the records of the court in which such prosecution was had are silent or ambiguous as to whether or not such plea was made or forfeiture occurred the court hearing the civil case shall admit such evidence on the question of such plea or forfeiture as may be relevant, and the question of whether such plea was made or forfeiture suffered shall be a question for the court to determine.”

So basically, if you are in a car accident in Virginia and get a ticket because of that accident and you then prepay that ticket, plead guilty or plead no contest the other driver can use you plea as evidence of your guilty in a lawsuit against you. Pleading guilty, prepaying or pleading nolo contender can greatly increase your chances of being sued in many situations.

In Virginia, pleading no contest is the same as pleading guilty.

Luke J. Nichols

The law firm of Nichols & Green pllc

(703) 383-9222

About Luke Nichols

Luke Nichols practices almost exclusively traffic law in Northern Virginia. His primary practice areas include reckless driving, speeding, DUI/DWI, refusal, hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license, and driving on a revoked license. Mr. Nichols has represented hundreds of Virginia drivers. You can also connect with Luke on Google+
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