If you have a criminal record, it may negatively impact your ability to rent an apartment or pursue certain educational and occupational opportunities. In this situation, you may benefit from talking to a seasoned criminal defense attorney, as some arrests and convictions are eligible for expungement. A Mount Pleasant expungement lawyer could help you learn more about the process and how the law applies to your case.
Expungement Laws in Mount Pleasant
State law does not make all criminal records eligible for expungement. Typically, any time the court dismisses charges or finds the defendant not guilty, the history of that arrest is expungable.
Convictions Eligible for Expungement
Courts in South Carolina may allow the clearing of the following convictions:
- A first conviction for writing bad checks
- Simple possession of marijuana the court conditionally discharges
- A first offense of failing to stop at a law enforcement officer’s request
- First violation of some magistrate or municipal court issues
- Charges resolved through alcohol education programs or pre-trial intervention
- Convictions against youthful offenders under the age of 25
A Mount Pleasant expungement attorney could provide guidance regarding the full list of offenses eligible for expungement as defined in South Carolina Code §17-22-910.
Convictions Ineligible for Expungement
There are some criminal offenses or violations that can never be expunged. Any felony-level offenses—as well as any offenses related to driving under the influence, driving violations, and hunting violations—must remain on an individual’s record.
If the law does not allow expungement of a person’s record, that person may be able to request a pardon from the Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole Services. This department has the discretion to grant a pardon upon a proper showing.
Process of Expungement
The process of expungement can be condensed into three steps: checking the criminal record, applying for expungement, and receiving the court decision. An expungement lawyer in Mount Pleasant could answer an individual’s questions regarding any step of this process.
Checking the Criminal Record
If a person is concerned about their criminal record and what information is on it, they may request a copy from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). A person may file their request on the organization’s website.
Application for Expungement
If seeking expungement, a person must file an application to the solicitor’s office in the circuit where the offense allegedly occurred. The application must include the statutory authorization as well as the reason why the person’s record is eligible. To be successful, the applicant must use the appropriate expungement form, pay the necessary fees, and serve the document on all parties required by law.
Depending on the circumstances, a court may issue the expungement with or without a hearing. Once the court decides to grant the order, the related government agencies must remove the applicant’s information from specific databases.
Seek Guidance from a Mount Pleasant Expungement Attorney
Getting your record cleared can be difficult, so speaking with an attorney who understands the process thoroughly may be invaluable. Contact a Mount Pleasant expungement lawyer today who could help guide you through the process and assist you in making an informed decision.