Definition of ‘Conviction’ According to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure

In Batchelor v. State, 729 So. 2d 956 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), the defendant pled no contest to a robbery with a firearm charge.

In a subsequent trial, points were scored for the robbery offense.

The First District held that the prior robbery with a firearm charge, to which the defendant had entered a no-contest plea, was not a conviction for the purposes of the sentencing guidelines.

The First District reasoned:

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.702(d)(2) defines "conviction" as "a determination of guilt resulting from plea or trial, regardless of whether adjudication was withheld or whether imposition of sentence was suspended."

Our research leads us to conclude that this definition is nothing more than an effort to codify case law.

In Florida, it is generally recognized that "the term 'conviction' means determination of guilt by verdict of the jury or by plea of guilty, and does not require adjudication by the court." State v. Gazda, 257 So. 2d 242, 243-44 (Fla. 1971).

An adjudication of guilt following a plea of no contest also qualifies as a "conviction." Raydo v. State, 696 So. 2d 1225 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997), approved in part and quashed in part, 713 So. 2d 996 (Fla. 1998).

However, a no-contest plea followed by a withhold of adjudication is not a "conviction." Garron v. State, 528 So. 2d 353 (Fla. 1988). Batchelor, 729 So. 2d at 958.