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Do I still need a lawyer to represent me in my criminal defense case in Florida...

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Published on May 29, 2018

Robert Gluck: Hello. I'm Robert Gluck. I'm a criminal defense lawyer, and I've been practicing as a trial lawyer here in Florida since 1989. Things have changed since 1989. Many people ask me, "Do I need a lawyer to represent me if I'm charged with a misdemeanor or a less serious crime in which the State Attorney's Office might be offering me a withhold of adjudication or a probation or something without jail time?"
Well, I would suggest that you'll be making a big mistake at this stage in our society to do that, because in the old days you may have gotten away with taking a withhold of adjudication for a marijuana possession charge that you got when you were 19, and it doesn't really make that much of a difference in your life, and you have gone on and become a professional and done things that you need to do in life, but now things are different. You can't take any plea that's going to result in you even getting a withhold of adjudication, because guess what.
When you're looking to rent an apartment, they don't care if it's a withhold of adjudication. They type your name into the computer and they see the charge. They don't want people that have criminal records renting in their apartment complexes. If they have 10 people waiting to rent one apartment, because the rental market is so difficult, and you've got three cases or even one case in which you've been on pretrial diversion or you got a withhold of adjudication, even for possession of cocaine, and they've got somebody else that doesn't have a criminal record, who do you think they're going to rent the apartment to?
If you're applying for a job and you got a withhold of adjudication on something insignificant like a disorderly conduct, because you were at a bar with your buddies one night and you got to arrested for mouthing off to a bouncer, and then all of a sudden you apply for a job and you're competing for that job with someone that doesn't have a withhold of adjudication, they don't care if you were found guilty or not.
So don't be misled by thinking that just because you don't get an adjudication of guilt and because you're being offering something that's a withhold of adjudication ... that's not necessarily good enough. If you're not guilty, you need a ruling that you're not guilty. You need somebody to then move to seal and expunge your record, because that record is going to follow you to every apartment you try to rent, to every job you try to get, and to every credit application you apply for. Thank you.

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