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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a withhold and an adjudication?


A withhold of adjudication and an adjudication, or conviction, are legal terms or designations to describe how your case has closed out, and each one carries different consequences. A withhold of adjudication means your case has ended following a plea or a trial, and you have received some kind of sentence for a crime, but you were not adjudicated guilty, or convicted, of that crime. It is considered a less severe penalty to being convicted of a crime, and it is therefore preferable to receiving a conviction.

A criminal conviction means your case has ended following a plea or trial, and you received an adjudication of guilt. A conviction usually carries additional civil penalties that a withhold does not; for example, if you are convicted of a drug offense, you automatically lose your driver's license for one year, whereas if you receive a withhold on a drug offense, your driving privileges are not affected. Furthermore, you are eligible to have a criminal case sealed from your record if you received a withhold, but you cannot have your record sealed if you were convicted.

A felony conviction can also seriously impact your life going forward. For example, with a felony conviction, you lose your right to vote in Florida and to possess a firearm. You may not be able to receive certain federally funded benefits, and you may not be able to pursue certain jobs that require a professional licensing. Employers will almost always ask for your arrest and conviction history, and this could affect your ability to obtain employment. These are just a few of the ways a felony conviction can seriously impact your life going forward, which is why if you are facing a felony charge, it is very important that you have a skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney who will fight hard to minimize the long-term negative affects of a criminal case.