This criminal law article by a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney explains what exactly a nolo contedere plea means and how it is different from a guilty pleas. This is very importnat information for criminal defendants in Rhode Island.
Is a Nolo Contendere Plea to a criminal case a Conviction In RI ?
A Nolo contendere plea means a Rhode Island criminal defendant is not contesting the criminal charges. When an accused agrees to a nolo contendere plea in RI, the alleged perpetrator is throwing in the towel and not fighting the charges but is also admitting to the charges.
What is the primary difference between a guilty plea to a criminal charge and a nolo contendere plea in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations?
There is a big difference between guilty and nolo! Pursuant to Rhode Island criminal law, a guilty plea always constitutes a conviction although a plea of nolo may not be a conviction. A conviction could effect a persons employment status or future plans in a significantly worse way then a nolo plea. A nolo plea may not be a criminal conviction in RI. Nolo contendere only constitutes a conviction under the laws of the Ocean State if there is a sentence of confinement (such as the ACI or home confinement), a suspended sentence or a fine imposed.
Conviction in RI
If an accused cops a nolo contendere plea bargain with a sentence of probation and a contribution to the violent crimes indemnity fund or court costs it will not be a conviction under Rhode Island law! A plea of nolo contendere with a sentence of a filing and a contribution to the violent crimes indemnity fund (vcif) will not constitute a conviction under Rhode Island law.
Any nolo contendere plea to a criminal charge with a fine is a conviction under RI law. Therefore, it is important that the defendant gets either no fine or a contribution to the victims fund or court costs rather then a fine. All misdemeanor plea agreements in Rhode lsland (RI) should be nolo contendere with court costs or a contribution towards the victims indemnity fund rather then guilty pleas!
Authoratative Citations and Authorities:
“In Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye, the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of criminal defendants who were deprived of a favorable plea offer because of their lawyers’ professional lapses. In dissent, Justice Scalia complained that “[t]he ordinary criminal process has become too long, too expensive, and unpredictable,” because of the Court’s criminal procedure jurisprudence; that plea bargaining is “the alternative in which…defendants have sought relief,” and that the two new decisions on the Sixth Amendment right to effective representation in plea bargaining would add to the burden on the criminal process.” The Right to Plea Bargain With Competent Counsel After Cooper and Frye: Is the Supreme Court Making the Ordinary Criminal Process ‘Too Long, Too Expensive, and Unpredictable…In Pursuit of Perfect Justice’? Bruce A. Green Fordham University School of Law June 10, 2013 Duquesne University Law Review, Vol. 51, No. 735, 2013 Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2277094