Maximum Sentence for Failure to Appear for Sentencing Despite a No Contest Plea

In Burgess v. State, 691 So. 2d 607, 607-08 (Fla. App. 1997) the defendant signed a "petition" to enter a no contest plea to certain offenses. The trial court wrote on the petition that if defendant committed a new crime prior to sentencing or failed to appear for sentencing, he could be sentenced to the statutory maximum. The court reemphasized those conditions to defendant at the no contest plea hearing. The defendant failed to appear, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. When defendant appeared before the trial court, he claimed he did not understand that he could get the maximum sentence if he failed to appear. The trial court rejected that argument and sentenced defendant to the maximum prison term.