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What Does “Adjudication Withheld” Mean for Your Criminal Case?

May 16, 2024
By The Wiseman Law Firm

When one thinks of a criminal case, they often assume that the case will end with a judge declaring the defendant either guilty or not guilty. However, in the state of Florida, it is not always so black and white. If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, the judge may choose to impose an adjudication withheld, which means that you are not convicted of the crime you are being charged with but will be ordered to carry out probation. 

The Wiseman Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm in Florida that helps clients understand their rights after they have been charged with a crime. We understand that being charged with a crime can be overwhelming and upsetting for you and your loved ones. That is why our criminal defense attorney works hard to help you build a strong defense to ensure you are given a fair trial.

Understand How Adjudication Withheld Could Affect Your Florida Criminal Case

In the state of Florida, if a person is charged with a criminal offense and enters a plea or is found guilty after a trial, the judge handling their case has to impose a sentence, typically thought to be either guilty or not guilty. However, when the court decides whether or not someone should be convicted, or adjudicated guilty, of the criminal offense they have been accused of, they may instead choose to impose a sentence that does not convict the accused of this offense. This is done by imposing a withhold of adjudication and adjudication withheld. In other words, a withhold of adjudication and adjudication withheld is not a conviction. Instead, the judge will order you to carry out a probation sentence that befits the crime and other factors concerning the offense you were accused of committing.

When a judge imposes adjudication withheld for your case, you will be ordered to abide by the terms of probation for a specified period. The terms of the probation will depend on the following factors:

  • The charges you were accused of
  • Your criminal history

When adjudication withheld is imposed in a criminal case, there are a variety of special conditions that could accompany a probationary sentence, including:

  • Attend treatment programs like substance abuse counseling or anger management
  • Avoid contact with people engaged in criminal activity
  • Keep the probation office updated with current address and employment information if it changes at any point
  • Maintain suitable employment
  • Pay restitution to victims
  • Perform community service
  • Refrain from committing any criminal activity
  • Report to a probation officer as required
  • Submit to random drug and alcohol testing
  • Support legal dependents

To learn more about adjudication withheld and how this may affect your Florida criminal case, consult a criminal defense lawyer for more information.

Does Everyone Qualify for Adjudication Withheld in Florida?

Adjudication withheld was initially intended to offer individuals convicted of crimes in Florida a second chance when they have no prior criminal history and it is determined by the court that they are unlikely to continue to engage in further criminal activity. However, being a first-time offender is not a requirement to be considered for adjudication withheld for a crime in Florida. While it is not common for someone who has a criminal history to be offered adjudication withheld, it is possible when you work with a trusted defense attorney who can help you build a strong case. 

A person’s eligibility for withheld adjudication is also determined through the nature of the charge. Certain types of crimes are never eligible under Florida law, including:

  • Serious felonies
  • First-degree felony punishable by life or ordinary first-degree felony offenses can only receive a withhold of adjudication if they are sentenced as a juvenile

Second-degree or third-degree felonies may qualify if the prosecutor requests in writing that adjudication be withheld or the court enters written findings of mitigating circumstances justifying the withheld adjudication pursuant to Florida Statute 921.0026. To better understand whether you may qualify for adjudication withheld for your criminal case, consult an experienced Florida lawyer today.

Defend Your Rights With a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Navigating the complexities of criminal charges requires knowledgeable guidance to ensure you know what options are available to you. At The Wiseman Law Firm, our seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney is ready to offer the support and defense strategy you need when pursuing an adjudication withheld imposition for your criminal case. 

Contact us today by calling (407) 420-4647 or filling out a contact form. We will protect your rights and work towards the best possible outcome in your criminal case.

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