In legal terms, a plea is simply an answer to a claim made by someone in a criminal case under common law using the adversarial system. Colloquially, a plea has come to mean the assertion by a defendant at arraignment, or otherwise in response to a criminal charge, whether that person pleaded or pled guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere (a.k.a. no contest), no case to answer (in the United Kingdom), or Alford plea (in the United States).
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