Expungement Law – Can I Get My Record Expunged in South Carolina? | 12.21.2020

Getting convicted of a crime has the potential to impact your life forever. From possession to white-collar charges, the moments after an arrest or conviction can be scary for everyone involved. Our team at Cavanaugh & Thickens truly believes that no person is as bad as the worst thing they’ve ever done. That’s why our personal injury and criminal defense lawyers will do everything we can to help you get back on your feet and have hope for the future ahead.

What is an expungement?

First, it is important to understand what an expungement is. Getting a charge expunged in South Carolina means permanently erasing it off your criminal record. This includes all mug shots, fingerprints, and information on file related to the crime. People commonly seek an expungement lawyer in South Carolina for possession and general misdemeanor charges. However, only certain charges are eligible for expungement.

Did you know that even if your arrest led to a “not guilty” or “non-conviction” verdict, it is likely still on your record?

Why get an expungement?

An expungement in South Carolina can help you get back on your feet and get a job, professional license, or housing without your criminal record holding you back. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer or expungement lawyer is well worth it when it comes to your future opportunities.

Which South Carolina criminal charges are eligible for expungement?

You may be eligible for expungement for several “first-offense” misdemeanor charges under South Carolina law. In SC, most criminal convictions are not expungeable. However, convictions under SC’s Youthful Offender Act, felonies that would otherwise be ineligible for expungement may be eligible. Even if you did not plead under the Youthful Offender Act, but you pled before June of 2009, you may also have an eligible conviction.

For more information, schedule a free consultation with our Columbia Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Krzyston.

The following charges may be eligible for expungement in South Carolina:

  1. Dismissed and not-guilty charges. 
  2. Simple possession – such as first-offense marijuana possession.
  3. General misdemeanors – crimes with a maximum penalty of 30 days or $1,000.
  4. Resolved drinking charges – after successful completion of Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or Alcohol Education Program (AEP).
  5. Fraudulent checks – if it’s your first offense misdemeanor with no other charges.
  6. Charges under the Youthful Offender Act.
  7. Failure to stop – if it’s your first offense.

South Carolina expungements can only erase South Carolina state charges or convictions.

There are many important factors when getting a criminal record expunged, so it’s important to call an experienced criminal defense lawyer to guide you through the process.

Important note: Title 56 offenses, which are all related to the operation of motor vehicles, are not expungeable. Title 56 offenses include DUI (Driving Under the Influence, Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration).

Do I have a criminal record?

If you’re not sure if you have a criminal record, you can get an electronic or paper copy of your record from SLED for $25. For more information or to request a copy, click here.

Do I need an expungement lawyer or can I do it myself?

“WARNING: You are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney in any legal matter. If you move forward without an attorney, it may negatively affect your legal rights. If you have questions about your legal rights or the law that affects your case, please talk with an attorney.” – South Carolina Judicial Branch on expungement.

Yes, you should always seek legal advice from a trustworthy criminal defense lawyer when it comes to expunging your record. Your criminal record is attached to your name forever. Attempting to take on the legal process yourself is not worth the risk of negatively affecting your rights. An expungement lawyer can also save you tremendous time and effort during the expungement process.

If you decide to represent yourself, please keep in mind that you may be paying to get records expunged that are not eligible or refundable. Call us today for your free consultation, and we will be happy to talk you through your options.

SC Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Kryzston smiling with his paralegal, Justine.

How do I get an expungement lawyer?

The first step to getting your record expunged in South Carolina is to call a reputable expungement lawyer. You can also schedule a free consultation with most criminal defense law firms in Columbia, South Carolina. The attorney will talk you through your charges, what they mean, and how they can help.

Why choose Cavanaugh & Thickens?

Our personal injury and criminal defense attorneys in Columbia, SC have over 30 years of combined experience fighting for people across the state. Give us a call today at (803) 888-2200 to speak directly with a lawyer. Your first consultation is always free of charge.

Disclaimer: The opinions and ideas in this article are for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. Each case is different and must be evaluated based on its own particular facts and merits.

You may also like “Defending Your Rights and Managing Weapon, Drug and Alcohol Risks as a Minor” or “2 Reasons You Need a DUI Lawyer.”

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About the Author:

Steve Krzyston has eight years of experience defending a wide range of felony and misdemeanor criminal allegations including alcohol and underage crimes, DUI defense, white-collar crimes, drug & statewide grand jury cases, violent crimes, and more. He has traveled throughout South Carolina to present to students on how to protect their rights and manage risk (criminal and injury) on and off-campus. To speak with Steve about your case, call our office at (803) 888-2200, schedule a free consultation, or message us through our live chat.

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