In Florida, being found guilty means that you have either admitted guilt by entering a guilty or no contest plea to a criminal charge or you were found guilty by a jury after a trial. Only after you have been found guilty can the court consider the adjudication.
What does it mean to be Adjudicated Guilty?
First, you cannot be adjudicated guilty unless you have first been found guilty by the court. After a finding of guilt the court has the option of adjudicating you guilty or withholding the adjudication of guilt. By adjudicating you guilty the court is convicting you of the crime. If the offense is a felony the loss of your civil rights will occur. Being adjudicated guilty also makes you ineligible to have any criminal history record sealed or expunged.
What does it mean to have the Adjudication Withheld?
Again, you cannot have adjudication withheld unless you have first been found guilty by the court. After a finding of guilt the court has the option of adjudicating you guilty or withholding the adjudication of guilt. By withholding the adjudication of guilt the court is not convicting you of the crime. If the offense is a felony you will not lose your civil rights. Having the adjudication of guilt withheld also leaves you eligible to have your criminal history record sealed or expunged so long as you do not have an adjudication of guilt in any other case and the offense qualifies.
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