criminal plea

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Definition - What does criminal plea mean?

A criminal plea is a criminal defendant’s response in court to the charges being brought against him or her. This plea is entered in a court of law by, or on behalf of, someone who has been formally accused of a crime.

SureHire explains criminal plea

In a criminal plea, the defendant will indicate guilt or innocence, and assert any affirmative defenses to the charges, such as a claim of insanity. A criminal defendant may also choose to enter a plea of no contest. Pleading guilty means that the accused formally admits to committing the criminal acts they have been charged with committing. A plea of no contest, or nolo contendere, indicates that the defendant will not contest or dispute the state’s charges but does not admit guilt. A not guilty plea is entered when a defendant intends to dispute the state’s charges against him or her. A lack of jurisdiction or other defense may also be raised when a criminal plea is entered.

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