Pleading no contest means exactly that – you are not contesting the charges against you. Procedurally, this has the same effect as a guilty plea, but you are technically not admitting guilt to the charges. There are some circumstances where it can be advantageous to plead no contest, but they are an exception rather than a rule. Your attorney will help you to determine what course of action to take in your specific case.
When you plead not guilty in a case, the burden of proof falls on the prosecution to convict you of the charges. When you plead guilty, you accept responsibility and accept the court’s decision on punishment. In a no contest plea, you accept the punishment without actually admitting guilt.