Even if you've never been in a courtroom before, chances are you've seen a movie or television show where the judge asks the defendant how they plea to the crime they are being charged for. A plea is essentially your response to the charges being brought against you. There are three ways a defendant can plea during a court case: guilty, not guilty, and nolo contendere (also known as no contest). The way you plea to charges against you determines the next steps in your case. Once you've put in your plea, it's very difficult to withdraw or change it, so be sure you're comfortable with whatever route you decide to go.