12th Jul 2015

These two terms are commonly used among Florida legal professionals that the clients, in a Miami-Dade County or Broward County court system, may not necessarily understand.

A “withhold of adjudication” means that the person that pleaded guilty but was not convicted….they were not adjudicated guilty.

An “adjudication” means that the person was convicted. Such a term triggers a harrowing label of being a convicted felon along with the stigma. A convicted felon is stripped of constitutional and basic rights such as;

– an ineligibility to vote;

– a preclusion of possessing a firearm;

–  limitations on where a person may live and

–  limitations on ability to maintain certain types of employment.

Many times on an employment application there will be a portion inquiring “Has the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony?” A person that has been “adjudicated” would have to check in the affirmative whereas a person that received a “withhold of adjudication” can rightfully and legally make a denial.

For most crimes, if the person is a first offender, a “withhold of adjudication” may permit erasing (sealing) of a record while an adjudication will never allow such a remedy.

The withhold/adjudication differential  only occurs in a Florida “State court” setting since there is generally no such thing in a “Federal court” setting…anybody found guilty is adjudicated guilty and therefore convicted.

Only a qualified and experienced South Florida criminal defense attorney will be able to properly and accurately explain the nuances of this issue. Call Miami and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Scott Saul to discuss further.

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