What does Adjudication Withheld Mean?
Adjudication withheld typically refers to a decision by a judge to put an individual on probation, as a to incarceration or other forms of criminal punishment. As a result, adjudication withheld generates a legally binding ruling of not guilty by the court system.
If the person receiving the adjudication withheld ruling adheres to the stipulations of their probation and has no subsequent offenses, no further action will be taken on the case. In essence, the adjudication withheld ruling is offered to those individuals as a plea bargain; typically a withheld adjudication is granted to individuals who are first –time offenders.
Instead of putting these individuals in jail and straining already crowded correctional facilities, an adjudication withheld opportunity, will require these individuals to serve community service or enroll in educational courses that are primarily linked to their underlying case. For example, an individual charged with drunk driving who receives an adjudication withheld ruling, may be required to attend alcohol education courses to fulfill the terms of their probation.
If the accused individual does not satisfy the terms of their probation in an adjudication withheld ruling, a finding of guilty will be entered and the individual will be sentence according the punishments defined for the offense. Additionally, if the stipulations of the probation are not fulfilled, the guilty ruling will be placed on the individual’s personal record—the whole premise of an adjudication withheld judgment is that it enables, upon completion of the probation requirements, for an individual to clear his or her name for the charges brought against them.
Stipulations of the Adjudication Withheld Process:
The adjudication withheld process simply defers a guilty ruling; in these situations the accused individual is required to enter a guilty plea. Once the plea is submitted to the adjudication court, the judge presiding over the case will grant the adjudication withheld process and outline the stipulations of the guilty party’s probation. By agreeing to the adjudication process, the guilty party pledges to complete the terms, in full, of his or adjudication withheld process of his or her probation.
If the adjudication withheld process is not satisfied, the individual’s guilty plea will carry “normal” punishments, which could take the form of a fine or a prison sentence. In essence, the adjudication withheld process simply defers punishment, a guilty ruling and a permanent status on the individual’s record until the guilty party completes the requirements outlined in their probation. Upon completion, the individual will be cleared of all charges and will be free from punishment.