When you enter a guilty plea in Florida, you are waiving certain rights. The same is true when you plea no contest or nolo contendere. Under Rule 3.172(c) of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, a you are waiving the following rights:
- the right to a trial by jury;
- the right to an attorney at trial;
- the right to confront witnesses and present your own witnesses at trial;
- the right to not be compelled to testify at trial;
- the right to appeal (in most circumstances); and
- the right to remain silent about the offense to which you are entering the plea (the judge may question you about it).
Not only are you waiving rights, but you may be subjecting yourself to unknown consequences. It is important to pay close attention to Rule 3.172(d)(8 – 10):
“(8) that if he or she pleads guilty or nolo contendere, if he or she is not a United States citizen, the plea may subject him or her to deportation pursuant to the laws and regulations governing the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. It shall not be necessary for the trial judge to inquire as to whether the defendant is a United States citizen, as this admonition shall be given to all defendants in all cases; and (9) that if the defendant pleads guilty or nolo contendere, and the offense to which the defendant is pleading is a sexually violent offense or a sexually motivated offense, or if the defendant has been previously convicted of such an offense, the plea may subject the defendant to involuntary civil commitment as a sexually vio- lent predator upon completion of his or her sentence. It shall not be necessary for the trial judge to determine whether the present or prior offenses were sexually motivated, as this admonition shall be given to all defendants in all cases.
(10) that if the defendant pleads guilty or nolo contendre and the offense to which the defendant is pleading is one for which automatic, mandatory driver’s license suspension or revocation is required by law to be imposed (either by the court or by a separate agency), the plea will provide the basis for the suspension or revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license.”