A criminal record can have a lasting impact on your rights and affect your ability to obtain employment or participate in your community. A Summerville expungement lawyer may be able to help you avoid these lingering problems by removing a conviction from your record.

An expungement could remove an offense from your criminal record and allow you to move forward with new opportunities. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you could put yourself in the best possible position for a new job, new housing, or another opportunity.

What Does an Expungement Do?

An expungement is also known as an Order for Destruction of Arrest Records. A court order for expungement removes a conviction or arrest from a person’s public record. Expungements may be helpful when seeking employment or housing, as well as other situations where a criminal record may be detrimental. Stopping the public from accessing information about the past can also provide a person with an increased sense of privacy.

However, even if a record is expunged, courts and law enforcement agencies may be allowed to keep nonpublic records. Additionally, a person may be legally obligated to disclose an expunged record under some circumstances. A Summerville expungement attorney could further explain the benefits and limitations of removing an item from a person’s criminal record.

Seeking an Expungement

A person should pursue an expungement in the county where the charge occurred and should be aware that counties may have slightly different procedures. South Carolina Code of Laws §17-22-930 states that a person must request an expungement by using the form available in the county solicitor’s office.

In most cases, a person will also need to pay fees and provide notice to prosecutors or law enforcement agencies to obtain an expungement. Failure to notify the correct agencies could result in a denial of the expungement request. Additionally, even if the court orders a record expunged, it may continue to be available if the correct agencies are not notified. A destruction of criminal records attorney in Summerville could guide a person through the correct steps for a successful expungement application.

What Types of Records May Be Expunged?

Many types of minor or first offenses may be eligible for expungement, including:

  • First convictions for offenses with no more than a 30-day jail sentence
  • First convictions for third-degree domestic violence
  • Certain nonviolent convictions as a youthful offender
  • Cases involving the successful completion of traffic or alcohol education program or pretrial intervention program

However, expungements are not available in all cases. A person may not be able to obtain an expungement if an offense was violent, carried a lengthy prison sentence, or if the person has other criminal records. Most traffic offenses, including convictions for driving under the influence, cannot be expunged.

In some cases, a certain amount of time must pass before applying for a record’s removal. For example, a person may only have a domestic violence conviction expunged under S.C. Code §22-5-910(B) after five years have passed. An expungement lawyer in Summerville could help determine whether the court may expunge a particular record.

A Summerville Expungement Attorney May be Able to Provide Assistance

Removing an offense from your public criminal record can allow you to enjoy new opportunities without dwelling on past mistakes. A Summerville expungement lawyer could explain your options for eliminating a negative mark on your record. Call today to start working on your case.