Withhold of Adjudication Versus Adjudication of Guilt
The ultimate one free bite at the apple
At some point in your criminal case you will be presented a plea offer by the Court or the prosecution. The gold standard of any plea offer is a withhold of adjudication as part of the deal. A withhold is a plea deal that involves the Court entering a sentence but you are not formally convicted of a criminal offense. After you successfully complete your sentence of probation and you are released by the Court, the withhold takes effect. The reason the withhold is the gold standard for a plea deal is that a withhold of adjudication is not a conviction. That means you avoid the negative consequences that result from a conviction. You will not be a convicted felon, and will not lose any of the individual rights that can happen with a conviction. This one free bite at the apple allows you to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction and allows you in some cases to clear your record entirely by having your record sealed or expunged.
The withhold of adjudication only applies to State court and does not apply if you are charged with a Federal crime. Most first offenders will be eligible for a withhold of adjudication by the Court. In some limited circumstances, your lawyer may be able to get you a withhold even if you have had other withholds or have a prior conviction, but that is not the norm. Our firm does its utmost to obtain a withhold in every plea negation we do. It is an excellent way to alleviate a conviction on a defendant’s record. It also allows you to answer “no” if you are asked whether you have ever been convicted of a crime. This has tremendous advantages in your future job searches and career choices that you make. You want to avoid being a convicted felon at all costs. Being a convicted felon limits your ability to vote, own a firearm, sit on a jury, and the overall society stigma of having the conviction on your record for the rest of your life.
Certain crimes are not eligible for the court to enter a withhold of adjudication. One of the most common crimes not eligible for a withhold of adjudication is a DUI. Capital, life, and first degree felonies also cannot have a withhold of adjudication. Second degree felonies can be withheld in limited circumstances. The prosecutor must recommend it, which is common, and the Court must make specific findings in imposing the withhold. There are other crimes that by their very nature that are not eligible for a withhold. They include kidnapping, domestic battery, and manslaughter to name a few. If you are charged with a crime that is not eligible for a withhold of adjudication, there are alternatives available to you. Your lawyer must charge bargain your case to have you plead to a criminal offense that is eligible for a withhold of adjudication.
You must hire a lawyer that is experienced in the area of criminal law so that all of the nuances of obtaining a withhold of adjudication for you are understood before your case is resolved. It is very difficult to undo or reverse a plea once it’s entered in the record. It is very important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to make certain the stigma of a felony conviction does not follow you for the rest of your life.
If you have been charged with violating Florida laws, contact Law Offices of Yale Galanter, a Miami Criminal defense attorney with over 30 years of experience. Law Offices of Yale Galanter have helped countless clients avoid jail time, lessen their charges, or even have their charges dropped entirely. The Law Offices of Yale Galanter are experienced in:
Commentary by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Yale Galanter:
Yale Galanter, a Miami criminal defense lawyer, has over 30 years of experience providing discreet and aggressive legal counseling to both public figures and clients looking for precise and excellent legal defense. Yale Galanter is known for his personal representation and attention to your criminal matter.
If you find yourself facing a charge of drug possession, you do not have to face this alone. Contact an experienced drug defense attorney, call Law Offices of Yale Galanter at (305)576-0244 or (954)524-6600, or visit galanterlaw.com.