Understanding the Expungement Process in South Carolina

When you make a mistake and end up with a criminal charge as a young adult, it can affect your ability to get a job, credit, or secure housing for years. Federal and state officials recognize how difficult this situation can be for some people, which is how the possibility of expungement started. After you have paid your debt to society and are ready to move forward in life, it is worth your time to contact Sara Turner Law in Charleston, South Carolina to see if your case meets the criteria for a possible expungement of your criminal records.

What Does Expungement Mean and How Does It Benefit You?

The term expungement refers to the sealing of an arrest and conviction record. While an expunged record still exists, you don’t have to worry about potential employers or landlords seeing your old criminal history that has no bearing on your life today. You legally do not need to disclose anything in your criminal history that a judge has already sealed due to expungement. An expungement of an old criminal record also improves your chances of getting professional licenses in South Carolina.

What Crimes Are Expungable in South Carolina?

Keep in mind that a South Carolina state court can only expunge a criminal conviction that occurred in South Carolina. If your conviction took place in another state but you now live here, you will need to contact that state’s legal division to determine if you meet the criteria for expungement.

The laws in South Carolina typically only allow expungement for minor offenses. That means a driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence of drugs (DUI) charge is not expungable nor is any sexual crime that required you to register with the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry.

Types of Expungements Available in South Carolina

South Carolina maintains separate criteria for 11 different types of expungements. If you request a Type 1 expungement, it means a prosecutor tried you for a crime but failed to convict you. You can request to have a Type 1 expungement sealed free of charge. A Type 1 expungement is the simplest type to receive and the only one that does not require you to pay a fee.

South Carolina reserves a Type 2 expungement for people who successfully completed a pre-trial intervention program. The solicitor who handled your pre-trial intervention program should mark it complete and verify in writing that you completed the program with no further criminal sanction taken against you. Here are the remaining types of expungement available in South Carolina:

  • Type 3, completed a valid traffic education program.
  • Type 4, completed an alcohol education program
  • Type 5, for a first offense fraudulent check misdemeanor
  • Type 6, for a first offense misdemeanor drug possession
  • Type 7, for a first offense general misdemeanor
  • Type 8, for Youth Offender Act (YOA) first offense
  • Type 9, for failure to stop when motioned to do so by a law enforcement official
  • Type 10, if you have been the victim of human trafficking
  • Type 11, for simple possession and intention to distribute drugs

If you feel your situation meets one of these expungement categories, we invite you to contact the Law Office of Sara A. Turner to learn more about the next steps. We will assist you with gathering the correct legal documents and applying for sealing of your old criminal record.