Often, mistakes are a part of life. Everyone makes them; however, it can be disruptive when mistakes from the past come back to haunt you—particularly on your permanent record. Minor offenses can often have major ramifications, notably those that show up on a background check or must be disclosed to friends, family and places of work. Depending on the type of offense and the amount of time that has passed, you may be eligible for expungement in South Carolina. We have outlined the South Carolina expungement process below and, with the help of an attorney, you can determine if your offense may be expungable.
The first step in getting an offense expunged from your record includes knowing what can and cannot be taken off your record. Check out the following list to see if your offense qualifies:
- Pre-Trial Intervention
- Completed an Alcohol Education Program
- Completed a Traffic Education Program
- First Offense Misdemeanor Conviction under the Fraudulent Check Law
- First Offense Simple Possession of Marijuana or Certain Other Illegal Drugs
- First Offense Conviction for a Crime Carrying a Penalty of No More Than 30 Days Imprisonment or a Fine of $500, or Both
- First Offense Conviction for Failure to Stop When Signaled by a Law Enforcement Vehicle
- First Offense Conviction as a Youthful Offender
- Juvenile Offenses
Of course, every case is unique, so it’s important to review the specifics of your offense with an attorney to determine if you qualify for expungement.
Once you and your attorney have assessed that your conviction can be expunged, the next step is to work together to determine where you need to file your request. In South Carolina, expungement requests may be filed at a magistrate/municipal court for non-convictions while all other charges must be filed through the solicitors’ office.
Step three in getting an offense expunged is all about paperwork! You need to properly fill out your legal paperwork and pay your fees. Again, work with an attorney who can help you through this process and make sure all of your forms are completed correctly.
If you filed the expungement paperwork with your county’s solicitors’ office, they will forward your request to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (“SLED”) to investigate if your offense can be expunged. SLED is dedicated to providing quality manpower and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies and conducting investigations on behalf of the state as directed by the Governor and Attorney General.
Lastly, if SLED determines your offense can be expunged, the request goes to a circuit judge who will either approve or deny the request for expungement.
While you may feel that a mistake from the past is hanging over you, it’s important to recognize that you are not your mistakes. The attorneys at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC are ready to discuss your case with you and help navigate the opportunities available to move on from your past. With proven legal experience and knowledge, the attorneys at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey are here to help you solve complex legal matters. Schedule a comprehensive consultation by phone at 864-523-7738 or contact us online so our attorneys can review your situation and decide on next steps. We are here to help.