If you have been convicted of a crime and want to know if you can get your criminal record expunged in South Carolina, the expungement process may be an option for you to have your record cleared and move forward in your life. Expungement law can be confusing and complicated, so it is important to ask an attorney for advice on your expungement options.
At Touma Law Group, we are dedicated and aggressive in our tactics to protect your rights. If you were unable to enlist us to defend your case and are stuck with a conviction, don't miss out on the opportunity for us to help you with the expunction of charges and have your legal rights reinstated.
What Crimes Can Be Expunged in South Carolina?
An expungement is an order made by the court that demands any relevant law enforcement agency to nullify, destroy or seal criminal records. The order is signed by a judge and then sent to any municipal, county, or state law enforcement agency that may have your criminal history file.
This includes the destruction of your arrest record, booking record, mug shot, and any additional documents associated with your crime. This can be ordered for a number of crimes including criminal charges, criminal convictions, traffic convictions, and juvenile offenses.
The expungement process can be time-consuming and tedious. Using competent and knowledgeable South Carolina legal services is your best option to have your record cleared quickly.
In the state of South Carolina, there are a range of offenses that are eligible for expungement of charges, including:
- Any charge that was dismissed
- Any charge with a not-guilty verdict
- First offense conviction for fraudulent check offenses
- Simple possession of marijuana resolved by conditional discharge
- First-time drug possession offenses (without any prior convictions in the last three years)
- First offense conviction of possession with intent to distribute (without any prior drug convictions in the last twenty years)
- A first offense for failure to stop for law enforcement vehicle
- Nonviolent offense by a juvenile
- Offenses resolved by successful completion of pre-trial intervention program or diversion program (like an alcohol education program or drug education program)
If your criminal charges fall under any of these types of offenses your case may be eligible for the expunction of charges. Contact an experienced attorney today to understand more about your case and the legal process for you to move forward and leave your criminal history behind.
What Crimes Cannot Be Expunged?
Types of offenses that are deemed more serious in nature are NOT eligible for the expunction of charges. Many federal convictions and misdemeanor convictions cannot be removed from your criminal history file. Criminal charges that do not meet South Carolina's eligibility for expungement include:
Motor Vehicle Offenses
Traffic offenses are not eligible for expungement except for first offense conviction for failure to stop for a law enforcement agency.
Fish And Wildlife Convictions
The South Carolina Judicial Department takes hunting crimes seriously. As a major hunting state, to protect wildlife and hunting programs, wildlife convictions remain on your record and carry serious penalties with increased offenses.
Felonies or Heinous Crimes Convictions
Felony arrest charges or violent crimes including domestic violence offenses, burglary charges, arson charges, or murder are not eligible for expungement of records.
How to Begin Application for Expungement
If you are interested in checking your eligibility for expungement, you must first check the status of your criminal history, which can be found in both public records and nonpublic records. If you believe you meet the criteria for eligibility for expungement, you should first find a criminal defense attorney to help you begin your expungement application process.
For applications for expungement in S.C. where the non-conviction occurred before June 2, 2009, there is no fee for expunction petition forms. You will need to contact the South Carolina Solicitor's office or the Municipal Court. For any non-convictions after June 2, 2009, the administrative fee for expungement is $250 to the Solicitor's office, a $25 fee to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and a $35 filing fee to the Clerk of Court. This does not include fees imposed by an expungement lawyer.
Before beginning an expungement application you must ensure that the required period of time since your conviction has passed. This period is different depending on the crime and may include requirements like completion of a sentence, completion of a period of probation, and/or completion of the pretrial intervention program.
If you have maintained a clean record since your disposition and have fulfilled the provision of law required for your case, you may proceed with the expungement application. There are various expunction petition forms depending on your situation. The waiting period for the process to be complete after your petition forms have been filed can vary but generally takes between 2-6 weeks.
An attorney can answer questions you may have about your specific situation. Have you met each provision of law including fee provisions? What expungement options are right for you? Do you need representation through this criminal justice process? With any complicated proceeding for offenses of any nature, it is best to have solid legal advice.
How an Attorney Can Help You Expunge Your Record
A criminal record is often a barrier between you and securing employment, housing, and licensure. Many landlords and employers conduct a criminal background check before offering an employment position or potential housing, and a lawyer can help you circumvent these roadblocks.
Complete removal or sealing of your criminal record is never guaranteed, but having a lawyer to handle your expungement of records will increase the likelihood of success. Lawyers can ensure you have all of your bases covered with filing fees, paperwork, and proper representation in the court of law.
Our attorneys at Touma Law Group are committed to delivering justice for you no matter your criminal background. We are experienced in representing a wide range of offenses and understand the provisions for expungement. We also understand that you just want your life back. Removing or sealing your files in law enforcement records is the first major step in reinstating your legal rights.
If you believe your charges fall under eligible offenses, contact us today to begin your criminal justice process.