While you may be a respected member of the medical profession, it is unlikely that your expertise extends far into the law. While virtually everybody understands the difference between pleading “guilty” and “not guilty” to criminal charges of any variety, the “no contest” plea can be more confusing.
If you elect to plead “not guilty” to the charges against you, the proceedings will head into a trial. If you plead guilty, you are making an admission that you did indeed do what the law accuses you of doing. According to NoloContendere.org, pleading “no contest,” or “nolo contendere,” is legally the same as a guilty plea, minus the part where you actively admit guilt.
Are there any benefits to pleading no contest?
The primary benefit of a no-contest plea is so that third parties do not sue you for admitting to a crime. Pleading guilty, of course, means that you acknowledge the charges that the court is bringing against you, you have no defense and that the court can go ahead and punish you as it sees fit.
Pleading “no contest” does the same thing, legally. In essence, you admit no guilt but are willing to accept whatever punishment the court metes out. In the context of professional licensing, this may indeed mean that you lose your license to practice medicine.
What should I do if I want to keep my license?
Even though there are many medical professionals in Pennsylvania who are at risk of losing their license each year, each situation is unique. Before pleading in any manner to any crime, it is vital to get professional counsel. Only then can you feel confident that your motions within the legal system are fully vetted.