Friday, December 19, 2014

What is a "withhold of adjudication"? Is a withhold a conviction? / AVVO / Michael A. Haber, Esq. / Call **ARRESTED or **MIAMIDUI

Q:    What is a "withhold of adjudication"?  Is a withhold a conviction? 

Michael Adam Haber


Contributor Level 20


Lawyers agree


Answered No and yes.

No, a without is not a conviction pursuant to Florida law. In fact, the whole reason that withholds exist is to afford an alternative to convicting certain folks for certain crimes where the facts and circumstances justify such a "break".   A "withhold" is a legal concept which the Florida Supreme Court has recognized as being a means to withhold the adjudication of guilt (conviction) even though you have been found guilty by a Court. It is recognized as a matter of Florida law but this is not necessarily true as far as other jurisdictions are concerned (i.e. other sovereigns, be them States or not, do not have to recognize the "withhold" as a legal entity and may, as the federal court system chooses to do, instead consider a withhold to be the very same thing as a conviction).  In Florida you do not have to admit to being convicted, as you are not convicted if you have a withhold, but if you are asked about the withhold and you do not fess up then you are likely to be branded a liar by whomever asked the question.  

Yes, again, in that outside of Florida the withhold may be considered as a conviction - meaning that some other sovereigns may not recognize the distinction and may treat a Florida withhold as a conviction for their own purposes. (For example, if you have a Florida state withhold and are subsequently charged and prosecuted in federal court for a different crime they will score your prior state court withhold as a conviction. This may hold true in other states as well, but in FL a withhold is not a conviction.)   Also, and as an aside, although not a conviction certain applications and circumstances may require that it be disclosed, it will almost certainly appear on most every background check and some folks might choose to interpret it as a conviction. 

I hope that this has been helpful.
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