Michigan Criminal Law: Conviction/Post Conviction; No Contest Pleas, or “Nolo Contendere”

In general terms, a no-contest plea counts the same as a regular, guilty plea. Legally, while the factual method of entering the plea is different, in the context of criminal cases, they are still considered pleas and potential convictions depending on the terms of the plea deal.


A no-contest plea does not require the individual to, under oath, admit to the alleged act. Instead, a factual basis for the plea is found based on other sources such as a police report, witness testimony from an earlier proceeding, or other accepted sources. The presiding judge notes the source material.


Admissions may be used in other cases, so a no-contest plea may be available when a person is potentially facing significant civil liability or they cannot remember the alleged incident due to injury or intoxication (“lack of memory”). However, ultimately, the presiding judge determines whether to accept the possible plea. Some judges do not like no-contest pleas.

Our experienced trial attorneys are very knowledgeable about our client’s rights, their options, and we fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent clients statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

For information on the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, click here.

For information on expunging prior convictions, click here.

For information on probation and probation violations, click here.

Anyone charged, of course, is presumed innocent. The prosecutor would need to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt if the matter proceeded to trial. Simply because a person is charged does not mean that ultimately, they will be convicted.

If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer.

If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public’s expense. You have a right to counsel.