A conviction means an adjudication. A withhold of adjudication is NOT a conviction.
You can be convicted of many types of crimes, and each conviction will have a difference impact.
But all convictions have some things in common. Whether felony or misdemeanor, a conviction cannot be sealed. If you are convicted you will carry that conviction around for your life. You will be ineligible to seal a conviction, no matter what the charge.
That means that if you are in a job interview and you are asked, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" You must answer, "Yes."
The most "minor" of convictions may be a conviction for a criminal traffic offense. Criminal traffic offenses are misdemeanors. Some examples of criminal traffic offenses may be DUI, reckless driving, and driving while license suspended (DWLS).
DUI has a mandatory conviction pursuant to Florida law. If you are convicted of DUI, your auto insurance carrier may drop you.
Misdemeanor convictions will not strip you of your civil rights or right to own a gun, per se, but they will have long-lasting effects.
If you are convicted of a domestic violence crime, even though a misdemeanor, you cannot own a handgun in the State of Florida.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana, you will lose your driver's license for two years.
While misdemeanor convictions are bad, felony convictions are significantly worse. You do not, under any circumstances, want to become a convicted felon.
If you are convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a felony, you will lose your civil rights. Among those rights includes the right to vote and the right to own or possess a firearm.
If you are a convicted felon and you are in possession of a firearm, under Florida law, you will be charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years with a 3-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Probably the worst thing about a conviction is difficulty finding employment. It is nearly impossible to find a job with a felony conviction.
So how do you avoid a conviction?
I believe that a good criminal defense attorney is a necessity when charged with a crime. That's because a criminal lawyer understands the ramifications of a conviction and will work diligently to avoid it.
If you have prior criminal offenses on your record, you run the risk of being convicted. Even if it is your first time through the system, you still may risk being convicted depending on the charge. Don't take a chance.
I serve both Miami-Dade and Broward. If you are facing criminal charges, call me today.