Recent changes to expungement laws in South Carolina have made more individuals potentially eligible to expunge their past criminal convictions. Expungement laws may now allow you to pursue better job opportunities, increase your housing options, and pursue further education. A Charleston expungement lawyer could assess your situation, discuss your options, and determine whether expungement is a remedy that is available in your case.
Rather than paying for a single mistake or a momentary lapse in judgment for the rest of your life, you may be able to move forward. A criminal defense lawyer could be able to assist you in seeking an expungement of your eligible criminal convictions.
Expungement of Drug Offenses in Charleston
Under the new expungement law, S.C. Code of Laws § 22-5-930, individuals who have a first offense conviction for simple possession of a controlled substance or prescription drug will qualify for expungement of their offense three years following the date on which they completed their sentence, including any term of probation and parole. Likewise, for a first conviction for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, individuals will become eligible for expungement 20 years after the date that they completed their sentence.
Additionally, individuals must have no other criminal convictions during the waiting period to be eligible for the expungement of a possession conviction, including any out-of-state convictions. An expungement lawyer in Charleston may be able to determine whether individuals with drug convictions qualify for expungement under this law.
Expungement of Other Offenses in Charleston
Individuals may also qualify to have all criminal charges that did not result in a conviction expunged, including those that the court dismissed, those of which a judge or jury found individuals not guilty following a trial or those that were nol-prossed. Individuals may also expunge records related to criminal charges that the Solicitor dismissed after the completion of a Pre-Trial Intervention Program, Traffic Education Program, or Alcohol Education Program.
Other offenses eligible for expungement include:
- A first misdemeanor conviction for passing a bad check, after one year with no additional criminal convictions
- A first conviction for a crime carrying the potential for not more than 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both
- A first conviction for a non-violent offense under the Youthful Offender Act, which requires individuals to be between 17 and 24 years old and go five years with no additional convictions after completion of the sentence
- All non-violent juvenile offenses after individuals have turned 18, completed their sentences, and have no prior convictions for crimes that would carry a prison sentence of five years or more if committed by an adult
There are some exceptions to these basic rules for expungement of criminal convictions in South Carolina. An expungement attorney in Charleston may be able to evaluate circumstances and decide whether expungement is a viable option.
A Charleston Expungement Attorney May Help
If you believe that you might be eligible to expunge your criminal record, you may wish to contact a Charleston expungement lawyer for legal advice.
Having legal advice when filing for an expungement can ensure that you submit your application properly and maximize your chances of success. By seeking legal counsel, you may put yourself in a better position to achieve your goals.