Q: What is my best approach....attempt to reclassify a felony charge, or attempt to seal as is? I need help.
I was charged with felony child abuse during a time of custodial disagreements with my ex-wife. I have never even spanked our children. under bad advise from a lawyer, I was led to believe adjudication withheld was as simple as not breaking the law, which is no issue, and it would be like this never happened. I now understand that is not the case with adjudication withheld. My life has been uprooted in many different ways. After I researched seal/expunge recently and reviewing FDLE eligibility packet, I may have eligibility issues due to the nature of the offense.... I am confused. upset etc.... Please advise
A: Child abuse, as defined in F.S. 827.03, is an offense not eligible for sealing, as you've discovered. Record sealing restrictions are collateral consequences resulting from withholds for certain offenses, so it's not grounds to reverse your plea of guilty/no contest. https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Seal-and-Expunge-Process/Reasons-for-Denial.
An attorney can try to have the charge re-classified as child neglect, but I imagine that was attempted at some point. It doesn't hurt to try.
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