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Expungement Information

Expungement Case Inquiry

An "Expungement" is the destruction or obliteration of criminal records relating to an arrest or a conviction. South Carolina law allows for the destruction of arrest and/or conviction information under the following limited circumstances.

DISMISSAL OR NON CONVICTION OF OFFENSE

Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws § 17-1-40, the arrest and booking record, files, mug shots, and fingerprints of any person, who after being charged with a criminal offense and such charge is discharged or proceedings against such person dismissed or is found to be innocent of such charge, shall be destroyed and no evidence of such record pertaining to such charge shall be retained by any municipal, county or State law enforcement agency

SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF PRE-TRIAL INTERVENTION

Pre-trial Intervention is a diversion program for first-time non-violent criminal offenders. Participants are required to perform, among other things, community restitution and make monetary restitution to their victims. South Carolina Code of Laws § 17-22-150 allows offenders, who successfully complete the pretrial intervention program to apply to the court for an order to destroy all official records relating to his arrest. The effect of the order is to restore the person, in the contemplation of the law, to the status he occupied before the arrest. No person, as to whom the order has been entered, may be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his failure to recite or acknowledge the arrest in response to any inquiry made of him for any purpose.

FRAUDULENT CHECKS

After a first offense conviction of fraudulent intent in drawing check, draft or other written order, the defendant may, after one year from the date of the conviction, apply, or cause someone acting on his behalf to apply, to the court for an order expunging the records of the arrest and conviction. This provision does not apply to any crime classified as a felony (that is, any check valued in excess of Five Thousand Dollars). If the defendant has had no other conviction during the one-year period following the conviction under this section, the court shall issue an order expunging the records. No person has any rights under this section more than one time. See South Carolina Code of Laws § 34-11-90(e).

SIMPLE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA – First Offense

Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws § 44-53-450(b), any person who has been sentenced to a "Conditional Discharge" for their first offense of simple possession of marijuana, may, upon completion of the sentencing requirements, apply to the court for an order to expunge from all official records all information relating to his arrest, indictment, trial, finding of guilty, and dismissal and discharge pursuant to this section. No person as to whom such order has been entered shall be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his failures to recite or acknowledge such arrest, or indictment or information, or trial in response to any inquiry made of him for any purpose.

FIRST OFFENSE CONVICTIONS

Under South Carolina Code of Laws § 22-5-910, a defendant may apply three years after the date of the conviction for an order expunging the records of the arrest and conviction of a first offense conviction in magistrate, municipal, or general sessions court for a crime carrying a penalty of not more than 30 days imprisonment or a fine of $1,000, or both. However, this section does not apply to any of the following offenses:

  1. Offenses involving the operation of a motor vehicle,

  2. Violations of Title 50 (Fish, Game and Watercraft) or the regulations promulgated under it for which points are assessed, suspension provided for, or enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses authorized,

  3. Offenses contained in Chapter 25 of Title 16 (Criminal Domestic Violence) except first offense criminal domestic violence as contained in Section 16-25-20, which may be expunged five years from the date of the conviction.

If the defendant has had no other conviction during the three-year period following the eligible first offense conviction the circuit court may issue an order expunging the records. No person may have his records expunged under this section more than once.

The office of the South Carolina Court Administration has designed a form Order which must be used for all expungements. The Order must be consented to by the Circuit Solicitor and approved and signed by the Circuit Judge.

The Solicitor will consent to every case in which a properly completed proposed Order is presented to him along with all documentation, certification from the Court, and prior criminal record check necessary to confirm that the defendant is lawfully entitled to the expungement.

Expungement Directions and Order





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