Cleary Law LLC

Expungements


Expungement means the removal of a charge or conviction from the public records. The law in South Carolina regarding what records may be expunged is complicated and there are some unresolved questions about what can be expunged and what cannot. Therefore, I cannot guarantee this information is absolutely accurate so you need to consult with a criminal defense lawyer about your particular case, before you proceed.

Before you seek to expunge your records, go HERE to and run a copy of your criminal record from SLED. This will cost you $25. Make sure you save the document with your record on it. Once you do, email it to our office and we can tell you what your options are.

Non-Convictions

GENERALLY, if the criminal charges against you are dismissed, nol prossed (dropped by the State), or if you are found not guilty, the record of these charges are expungeable. These records are now being expunged without requiring you to apply for an expungement. However, older charges will require an application. There should be no fees charged by the State for these expungements. The main exception is when a charge is dropped as part of a plea deal and you pled guilty to other charges.

Pre-Trial Intervention Dispositions

If your case is dismissed after you successfully completed a pre-trial intervention program, you can apply for an expungement immediately after completing the program. You will be required to pay fees for the expungement. Such programs include:

  • Traffic Education Program (TEP).
  • Alcohol Education Program (AEP)
  • Pre-trial intervention (PTI)
  • Conditional Discharges (for certain minor drug offenses)

Convictions

A conviction arises when you (1) plead guilty; (2) are found guilty by a judge after a bench trial; (3) are found guilty by a jury after a jury trial; or (4) forfeited bond by failing to appear in magistrate or municipal court. Some people have convictions without realizing it because they were tried in their absence after they failed to appeal for court.

Certain convictions may be expunged. These expungements require that fees be paid to the State of South Carolina.

Summary Court Convictions

If you were convicted of an offense brought against you in summary court (magistrate’s court or municipal court), which carries no more than thirty days imprisonment or a fine of one thousand dollars, the conviction can usually be expunged if you have not had any other convictions (not just arrests) in three years.

If the summary court conviction was for criminal domestic violence, you must not have gotten any other convictions in five years.

Fraudulent Checks

If you were convicted of a first offense misdemeanor for writing a fraudulent check and you have not been convicted of another criminal charge in one year, you may be eligible for an expungement.

Youthful Offenders

If you were convicted of a first offense under the Youthful Offender Act (YOA) and you have not been convicted of another criminal charge in the five years since you completed your sentence, you may be eligible for expungement.

Failure To Stop For Police

If you were convicted of first offense failure to stop your vehicle for the police and you have not been convicted of another criminal charge in the three years since you completed your sentence, you may be eligible for expungement.

Convictions for traffic offenses (including DUI) and wildlife offenses cannot be expunged.

If your conviction is not eligible for expungement, you may consider applying for a pardon. It will not remove the conviction from your record but a pardon restores civil rights. Many employers will not hold pardoned offenses against you when you apply for a job.

Call Ellen Cleary at (803) 310-5796 for a free initial consultation today with a criminal law lawyer. She is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can have your criminal record expunged in Columbia, South Carolina.