November 2015
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Should You Plead "No Contest" To Your DUI Case? 
After a DUI, the person accused of the crime has three options: plead guilty, plead not guilty, or plead no contest. While the first two options are easy enough to understand, pleading no contest is a relatively unknown area of the law for most people. What is a no contest plea, and is it right for your DUI case?

A no contest plea, also known as a West plea or by the Latin phrase nolo contendere, means that the accused person has not admitted guilt, but recognizes that there is enough evidence to convict him or her of the charges.

When a person enters a plea of no contest, it must be approved by a judge. Not all no contest pleas are approved, and in some counties, the plea is not allowed at all. When a no contest plea is allowed, it may have some benefits for the person accused of a crime.

First, a no contest plea keeps a large majority of evidence out of court and out of the public record. If a situation is particularly embarrassing, or if the person accused of the DUI is famous, pleading no contest will allow the case to be resolved without admitting guilt and without a trial.

Second, and most importantly, pleading no contest is beneficial for people who have been accused of misdemeanor DUIs and who are facing civil lawsuits. An example includes a situation where a person is accused of driving drunk, causing an injury to another person. In this type of civil case, a guilty plea is evidence that the driver was responsible for the accident. In contrast, a plea of nolo contendere cannot be used as evidence in the civil case. However, this is only true in misdemeanor cases. A plea of no contest to a felony DUI charge can be used as evidence in a civil case concerning liability.

While these benefits are important, pleading no contest is - for most intents and purposes - the same as pleading guilty to the charge. A person who pleads no contest will not receive a lighter sentence as a result of the plea, and the conviction will still show up on a person's criminal record. State licensing boards, professional organizations, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and others will all consider a no contest plea to be the same as a guilty plea.

For more information about no contest pleas, or to discuss your options after a DUI, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry by calling 866.902.6880 or visiting us online at
Is It Fraud If You Didn't Mean It? Why Intent Matters In California Fraud Cases  
Being accused of fraud can affect your reputation for years to come. Many people with past fraud charges are discriminated against in their careers, especially when seeking white collar jobs which require a person to handle money or be in a position of trust. Fraudulent charges may make it difficult to apply for a credit card, loan, or mortgage, and felony fraud convictions can result in a lifetime of obstacles.

For those reasons, it is important to defend yourself vigorously from any accusations of fraud. One of the most successful ways to beat a fraud charge is to prove that you lacked the intent to commit the crime. When this defense works, the person accused could be acquitted of the charges.

What Is Fraud?

In California, fraud is a criminal charge that covers a wide variety of areas. In general, a person commits fraud when he or she intends to deceive another person by concealing a material fact, which caused a loss of money, goods, rights, or services. 

There are many types of fraud charges, depending on the area where the alleged crime occurred. For example, a person can be accused of credit card fraud, check fraud, health insurance fraud (including private insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, or Medi-Cal fraud), welfare fraud, workers' compensation fraud, real estate and mortgage fraud, identity theft and forgery, and fraud against the elderly.

In order to prove fraud, a prosecutor must show that the accused committed each element of the crime. While these elements change depending on the type of fraud, there is one consistent defense: intent.

Proving Intent

Fraud is an intentional crime, which means that a prosecutor must show that the accused meant to deceive or trick another person about a material fact for his or her own benefit. Without proof that the crime was intentional, the charges cannot stand.

For example, suppose a house is unsafe because of problems in the foundation. If a real estate agent convinced a buyer to purchase the house, the agent could be charged with fraud if he or she purposely concealed the condition of the house from the purchasers. If, however, the real estate agent did not know about the house's condition, and had no way of finding out about it, the agent would not have committed fraud because there was no intent to mislead or deceive the buyers.

Often, intent is proven through circumstantial evidence. When relying on circumstantial evidence, a jury can only find a defendant guilty if there is no reasonable conclusion which points to innocence. The jury will be asked to examine the events and actions leading up to and after the alleged incident, and must decide whether there is a reasonable, non-criminal explanation for the person's actions. If there is, the jury must acquit.

Defending Fraud Claims

Because intent is necessary in proving a fraud case, it is important that people accused of fraud do not unintentionally incriminate themselves through statements to the police or in court. Many seemingly innocent actions or statements can be twisted to show a criminal intent to deceive.

For that reason, it is imperative that people accused of fraud speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our attorneys will review your fraud charges and determine your best line of defense.

For more information about defending accusations of fraud or other criminal charges, visit To set up a free initial consultation with one of our defense attorneys, call 866.902.6880 today.
Virginia Landry

Virginia L. Landry received her undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University in 1982. She then went on to pursue her law degree from Western State University, graduating in 1988. The following year, Ms. Landry opened her own Law Office. As a nationally recognized Board Certified DUI Defense Attorney Specialist, Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Virginia L. Landry, is able to practice law within all the California state courts and the Central District Court of the United States.


As a criminal defense lawyer with years of litigation and trial experience, Ms. Landry is fully prepared to handle criminal cases involving violent crimes, white collar crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, juvenile crimes, drug crimes, weapons charges, and domestic violence. Attorney Landry has successfully represented clients facing a variety of complex misdemeanor and felony charges.

In addition to her current position as Regent for the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), Virginia serves on the Board of Directors for the California DUI Lawyers Association  as its Secretary. Virginia is one of only a handful of attorneys across the nation who is Board Certified in DUI Defense. She has also received her  certificate of instruction , successfully training participants in DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student and Instructor courses.


Virginia Landry served on two committees and was on the Orange County Bar Association's Board of Directors for three years, is a past President and current member of the West Orange County Bar Association, is currently a Sustaining Member for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Other local bar associations include the North Orange County Bar Association, The Newport Harbor Bar Association, the South Harbor Bar Association, the Western State University Alumni Association, the Northern Arizona University Alumni Association and the Warren J. Ferguson Inns of Court.