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What Is An Expungement In South Carolina?


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.

Who Is Eligible To File For An Expungement?

Generally, if the charges against you are dismissed, nolle 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 actually 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.

People Who Successfully Complete Pre-Trial Intervention

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)

People who were convicted of certain crimes, explained below:

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 which is a summary court (magistrate’s court or municipal court), then the conviction can usually be expunged if you have not had any other convictions (not just arrests) in three years. The offense must be one for which the maximum penalty is 30 days, or a $1000 fine.

If the 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.

Juvenile Offenses

Juvenile convictions are eligible when the offense was non-violent. A person may seek an expungement when he is 18 or older, and he must have completed any sentence and have no additional conviction after the juvenile offense.

In addition, the person must have no prior conviction for an offense that would carry a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment or more if committed by an adult.

For more information on Expungement in South Carolina, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (803) 310-5796 today.

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