What is an Expungement?
First thing’s first. Let’s discuss what an expungement is. More often than not, if you have been convicted of a crime, you will have a permanent criminal record that will follow you the rest of your life. Despite the fact that you’ve done your time, paid your fine, etc. the impact of a conviction is permanent and will follow you forever effecting your personal and professional life. Yet, in this state, there is a possibility to have some convictions to be removed from your record through expungement. This is a legal order for the destruction of any record that relates to a previous arrest and/or conviction. An experienced South Carolina criminal defense attorney can advise you as to whether or not you are eligible for an expungement. When your criminal record accurately reflects your criminal history, it makes it easier to keep or secure employment because you don’t have to explain why you were arrested, suspected, or convicted of an illegal activity.
Things People Don’t Tell You About Having A Criminal Record
- An arrest does not mean being dragged off in handcuffs. If an officer takes your fingerprints, you will have a record. An arrest also occurs when you are given a ticket.
- Courts do find people guilty who have never appeared before a judge. You can be found guilty, forfeit your bond, and never go to court.
- A record includes both an arrest and the court disposition.
- You are responsible for ensuring that your criminal record is correct.
How to get an Expungement
- Check your Criminal Record to ensure it is correct.
- You need a copy of your warrant number, arrest date, and case disposition. (some rap sheets have it all).
- You may need a disposition from the local Judge.
- All expungements, unless otherwise provided above, cost $250, made payable to the Solicitor’s Office in the county where you were charged and/or convicted.
- These items must be taken to the Expungement office in the Solicitor’s Office in the county where you were charged and/or convicted.
- The Solicitor’s Office will fill out the orders/forms and guide you through the process.
- You must file your order with the Clerk of Court.
- There is an additional $35 fee to the Clerk of Court for all expungements of convictions. There is no charge for non-convictions.
- You must send a legal copy of the expungement order to SLED for a clean record. SLED will also forward the information to the FBI.
- SLED charges a $25 fee for processing the order, except for non-convictions.
- Once State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has received your order for expungement, it will take 2 to 3 weeks to remove your charge. It normally takes about 4 weeks from the start of the expungement process until your record is clean.
If you are not eligible to have a particular arrest or record expunged, you may be able to be granted a pardon. A pardon sets aside the punishment for a crime and also gives the rights/privileges back to the person that they lost due to their offense. Receiving a pardon is a very long and difficult process, and it may take numerous procedures and hearings. It restores the rights and privileges forfeited on account of the offense.
Whether you are trying to get an expungement or a pardon, these criminal defense attorneys are very well-versed in the system and these types of cases and will fight tirelessly to have your rights given back to you. Please don’t dillydally to contact an attorney.