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Felony Charges And Withholds of Adjudication

Florida law prohibits the court from withholding adjudication in certain felony cases.

If you recall from previous posts, a withhold of adjudication is not a conviction. It may be sealed if the charge is a qualifying offense. Furthermore, having adjudication withheld means that you will not become a convicted felon, thereby losing your civil rights.

However, a judge cannot withhold adjudication, and therefore must adjudicate (convict) if you plead guilty or are found guilty of any capital, life, or first degree felony offense, and also a second degree felony offense unless the state attorney requests in writing that adjudication be withheld; or the court makes written findings that the withholding of adjudication is reasonably justified based on circumstances.

Florida law states that no adjudication of guilt shall be withheld for a second degree felony offense if the defendant has a prior withholding of adjudication for a felony that did not arise from the same transaction as the current felony offense.

The judge may also not withhold adjudication for a third degree felony offense if the defendant has a prior withholding of adjudication for a felony offense that did not arise from the same transaction as the current felony offense unless the state attorney requests in writing that adjudication be withheld, or the court makes written findings that the withholding of adjudication is reasonably justified based on circumstances.

Furthermore, no adjudication of guilt shall be withheld for a third degree felony offense if the defendant has two or more prior withholdings of adjudication for a felony that did not arise from the same transaction as the current felony offense.