A withhold of adjudication (simply called "a withhold") or an
adjudication may come by way of being found guilty at trial, or entering
a plea of guilty, or no contest.
"Adjudication" is just a fancy word for "conviction."
If adjudication is withheld, the sentence is not a conviction.
It sounds simple, but the Florida Legislature has designated some crimes
as having mandatory convictions. Those crimes are:
Fleeing and Eluding
Nearly all second-degree felonies, first-degree felonies, first-degree
felonies punishable by life, life felonies, and capital felonies
The Florida Legislature also entitles you to one withhold of adjudication
over the course of your life. However, the courts have discretion in permitting
a second one.
Miami-Dade County criminal attorney, I am asked all the time what are the differences between a withhold and
an adjudication. With regard to getting or maintaining a job, a withhold
of adjudication permits you to tell an employer or prospective employer
that you have never been convicted of a crime. Note the word convicted.
If the employer asks if you have ever been arrested, you must answer yes
unless you have had your
. A withhold of adjudication on any qualifying offense may allow you to
seal your record. If you seal your withhold of adjudication, you may legally
tell an employer that you have never been arrested.
An adjudication, however, may not be sealed or expunged. You must carry
that adjudication, or conviction, around with you for life. If the adjudication
is for a drug crime, such as
These crimes include the following types of drugs: marijuana, cocaine,
methamphetamine, oxycodone, alprazolam, heroin, or any other substance
listed under Florida Statutes Chapter 893, your driver's license will
be suspended for a period of two years.
Furthermore, if your adjudication is on a felony offense, that means you
cannot vote, you cannot own a firearm, and you will be subjected to the
stigma of being a convicted felon. The only way to reclaim your voting
and firearm rights is to apply to the State of Florida for Restoration
of Civil Rights. You may visit https://fpc.state.fl.us/RCRapp.htm to fill
out an online application if your civil rights have been taken away due
to a felony conviction.
In conclusion, a withhold of adjudication is clearly better than an adjudication.
However, a withhold doesn't mean that you do not have a criminal record.
Any public database will show the arrest and date of sentence. You must
have your record sealed in order for your charges to be out of the view
of the public.
today to discuss options regarding your case, and whether you are eligible
to have your criminal record sealed.