What Does it Mean to Withhold Adjudication in Florida?
Written by Moses & Rooth on August 5, 2019
We have all made mistakes throughout life, some bigger than others. These mistakes can be small, only causing issues within that day, while other mistakes can have lasting effects on your life. Such mistakes result in a criminal record that can affect your job, housing, whether you are able to obtain a license, as well as harming your reputation.
Florida can sometimes give you a “second chance” in the form of withholding adjudication. You may be eligible for this form of adjudication, and should therefore contact an attorney. If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a crime, contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to determine the best strategies for your case.
In Florida, the law can be tricky. If you are charged, and enter a guilty plea or no contest, though you may be found guilty, you may not actually be convicted of the crime. The court will determine whether or not you are adjudicated guilty or if the court will withhold the adjudication of guilt. If the court withholds the adjudication of guilt then it has not convicted you of the crime, though you may be guilty.
According to Florida’s Statute Section 948.01, if it appears to the court that the defendant is not likely to again engage in criminal activity and that the defendant should not suffer the penalty imposed by law, the court gives great discretion to withhold the adjudication. If the charge was for a felony then the defendant must be placed on probation, and if the charge was for a non-felony, if probation is not rendered, then a fine may be. Once the probation is completed and/or fines paid, there is no adjudication of guilt.
There are many benefits to withholding adjudication. When a judge withholds adjudication, the defendant will not be convicted of the crime. This allows for a defendant to:
- Keep his or her license if it was supposed to be revoked or suspended;
- Answer “No” on job applications when asked if he or she has ever been convicted of a crime;
- Own a firearm;
- Petition the court to seal your record.
It is important to note that there is a limitation on the number of withholds a person can receive. That is why it is in your best interest to seek legal representation to see if your charge qualifies.
Withhold of Adjudication FAQs
Q. What is a withhold of adjudication?
A. In the state of Florida, the law provides judges the ability to withhold adjudication for certain offenses. A withhold of adjudication simply means you are not convicted – even if you are guilty.
Q. When is withhold of adjudication offered?
A. Typically, a withhold is offered to 1st time offenders who the court finds unlikely to again engage in criminal activity.
Q. Is a withhold in Florida recognized by other states?
A. Outside of Florida, organizations (commercial and governmental) may not recognize withholds and may look at them similarly to a criminal conviction. Withholds go on your record.
Q. Do I have to disclose a withhold of adjudication to an employer?
A. It just depends on how the question is asked. For example, if your employer asks if you have ever been arrested or charged for a criminal offense, then you would still need to answer in the affirmative. On the other hand, if you’re asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, then you can answer “no.”
Need Legal Advice?
Being charged with a crime can be overwhelming, especially considering all of the consequences you could possibly face. However, withholding adjudication can save you a lot of distress if you are granted it. Because of this, it’s important to contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to seek legal advice and representation. Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 or by filling out our contact form. We may be able to help you with your case!