Expungements and Pardon Lawyer in Charleston, SC

If you’ve been convicted of a crime in South Carolina, you already know the long-lasting effect that it can have on your life.

Besides the embarrassment of being labeled a convicted criminal, a criminal record in SC may:

  • Prevent you from getting the job that you want – most potential employers will run a background check before deciding who they are going to hire;
  • Prevent you from getting an occupational license – for nurses, doctors, lawyers, and many other professions in SC, you must be approved by a licensing board before you can go to work;
  • Prevent you from getting some types of housing;
  • Prevent you from getting financial aid depending on the type of convictions;
  • Prevent you from working for the federal government or obtaining security clearances;
  • Prevent you from traveling abroad; and
  • Prevent you from owning a firearm or getting a CWP (concealed weapon permit) in SC.

In some cases, you may be eligible to have your convictions expunged. When an expungement is not possible, however, a pardon will restore your civil rights, including your right to own a firearm and to hold occupational licenses.

What is an Expungement in SC?

When a charge is expunged in SC, that means that all records of your arrest and conviction are destroyed.

The expungement order applies to all government agencies, but it does not apply to third parties or non-government websites – you may need to take additional steps if your information is appearing on a non-government website.

What SC Offenses Can Be Expunged?

Only certain types of convictions can be expunged in SC, under certain circumstances. For example:

  • Dismissals or acquittals: In the magistrate or municipal courts, the clerk is supposed to automatically process expungements for cases that have been dismissed or when the defendant is found not guilty at trial. When they don’t, or if your case was in General Sessions Court, your Charleston, SC expungement lawyer can help.
  • Misdemeanor convictions in magistrate or municipal court: A 30-day misdemeanor offense in the magistrate or municipal court can be expunged three years after the date of conviction, if it is the only conviction on your record.
  • Youthful Offender Act (YOA) convictions: A YOA conviction can be expunged five years after you complete your sentence, if there are no other convictions after the YOA conviction.
  • Pretrial Diversion: Successful completion of diversion programs in Charleston, SC, like Pretrial Intervention (PTI), Alcohol Education Program (AEP), Traffic Education Program (TEP), conditional discharges for minor drug offenses, or Charleston’s drug court will result in expungement of your record.

What SC Offenses Cannot Be Expunged?

With a few exceptions, any offenses not listed above cannot be expunged under SC law.

Traffic offenses cannot be expunged in SC – this includes DUI or DUAC convictions, reckless driving, or driving under suspension (DUS), but reckless driving can be sent to PTI and expunged if you successfully complete the program.

Can I Get a Pardon in SC?

If you are not eligible for an expungement, you may be able to get a SC pardon.

A pardon does not remove the conviction from your criminal history like an expungement. Your criminal history or SLED Catch will reflect that you were pardoned, however. A pardon also restores your civil rights, including your right to own firearms, to apply for a CWP (concealed weapon permit), and to have occupational licenses.

SC Pardon and Expungements Attorney in Charleston

If you want to clean up your record – whether it is getting convictions expunged or applying for a SC pardon, we can help. Call Charleston, SC DUI defense lawyer Grant B. Smaldone now at (843) 808-2100 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.