Expungement Lawyer in Columbia, SC
Our Carolina Defense Lawyers are committed to helping Columbia residents navigate complex legal matters, particularly with the law on expungements. The process of filing an application for expungements can be confusing and time-consuming. Don’t worry because with expungements we are here to help when you need it most. Call us 24/7 to schedule a free consultation with our Columbia expungement lawyer in today.
What Is an Expungement of Criminal Records (Arrest and/or Conviction)?
An expungement is a court order for the destruction of criminal records related to an arrest or conviction. If you are eligible for an expungement, a court order will remove the arrest and/or conviction from your criminal record (“rap sheet”).
In South Carolina, state law allows for expungement of non-convictions and certain criminal offenses. There are South Carolina statutes that specifically address what can and cannot be expunged. This guide will help you decide whether you should seek to have a criminal charge or conviction expunged.
Why File an Application for Expungement?
An expungement could give you a fresh start by having a second chance at a “clean” criminal record. Arrests and convictions can have a negative impact on your ability to find a good job, obtain a professional license, or be approved on a loan application. A simple and cheap background check will reveal your criminal record. If you are eligible for an expungement, why would you not ask to remove arrests or a conviction from your criminal record?
What Arrests or Convictions Can Be Expunged from My Criminal Record In South Carolina?
- You can expunge non-convictions (this includes the record or arrest). Non-convictions are charges that have been dismissed, nol-prossed, or are not guilty verdicts. Please note: Charges that have been dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement are treated differently.
- You can expunge criminal charges that have been dismissed by a Prosecutor because you successfully completed the Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI).
- You can expunge criminal charges that have been dismissed by the Solicitor because you successfully completed the Traffic Education Program (TEP).
- You can expunge criminal charges that have been dismissed / nol prossed by the Solicitor because you successfully completed the Alcohol Education Program (AEP).
- You can expunge a first offense misdemeanor conviction for a bad check (single conviction for a fraudulent check). Please note: You cannot have an additional criminal conviction within one year from the date of that conviction.
- You can expunge a conviction of a first offense Simple Possession of Marijuana when you consented to a conditional discharge and have successfully complied with the terms of that sentence.
- You can expunge a conviction of a first offense for a crime carrying a penalty of not more than 30 days imprisonment or a fine of $500 and/or both. Please note: You cannot have an additional criminal conviction within three (3) years from the date of the first conviction.
- Only your first offense is eligible and the law specifies that the offense must be a single crime.
- Exception: For a first offense conviction of Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV), you must wait five years before filing an application.
- You can expunge a conviction of a first offense as a youthful offender under the Youthful Offender Act (YOA). Please note: The crime must note have been a violent offense as described in Section 16-1-60 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, you must be 17-24 years old at the time of the conviction, and you cannot have any additional criminal convictions within the five (5) years after the completion of your probation or parole supervision.
- You can expunge a conviction of a misdemeanor first offense for Failure to Stop for Blue Light. Please note: You cannot have any additional convictions within the three (3) years after the completion of the sentence.
- You can expunge juvenile offenses when the offense was non-violent, the defendant is 18 years or older, the sentence is completed, and there is no prior conviction for an offense that would carry a maximum sentence of five (5) years imprisonment or more if committed by an adult.
What Arrest Records and Convictions Cannot Be Expunged?
- Traffic offense convictions (Title 56 Offenses)
- General Sessions convictions
- Felony convictions
- Exceptions: First offense convictions for YOA and Failure to Stop for a Blue Light as previously discussed.
How Much Do Expungements Cost?
- For non-convictions, there are no fees unless the dismissal is part of plea agreement.
- If dismissal is part of a plea agreement, there is a $250.00 fee to the Solicitor’s office.
- For a fraudulent check conviction, there is a $250.00 fee to the Solicitor’s office, $25 fee to SLED for the background check, and possibly a $35 fee to the Clerk of Court.
- For a conditional discharge, there is a $250.00 fee to the Solicitor’s office and possibly a $35 fee to the Clerk of Court.
- For a first offense conviction, there is a $250.00 fee to the Solicitor’s office, $25 fee to SLED for the background check, and possibly a $35 fee to the Clerk of Court.
Another Option: File for a Pardon
- Many arrests and convictions cannot be expunged. Another option is to file an application for Pardon in South Carolina. A pardon forgives all legal consequences of a conviction.
Important Information on Expungements in Columbia
- South Carolina expungements only erase charges and convictions in South Carolina.
- The Solicitor’s Office will not be able to discuss your eligibility for an expungement. You must submit a signed application. The processing fee to the Solicitor’s Office and SLED is non-refundable regardless of the whether the application is granted or denied. An expungements attorney is not necessary to file an application for expungement. However, an expungements attorney can file the application for you to ensure that it is done properly.
- Filing an application for expungement does not guarantee that the charged will be removed; it is only after there is consent from the Solicitor’s office, SLED, and the appropriate Judicial Officer that an expungement order will be granted.
Need Help? Call Our Columbia Expungement Lawyer Today
If you need help applying for an expungement of an arrest or conviction on your criminal record in Columbia, we will discuss your eligibility during a free and confidential consultation.
Carolina Defense Lawyers
4723-B Sunset Blvd.,
Lexington, SC 29072
- You are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney in any legal matter. If you move forward without an attorney, it may negatively affect your legal rights. If you have questions about your legal rights or the law that affects your case, please consult with an attorney.