Columbia Expungement Lawyer

Many people believe that if they are convicted of a crime that their criminal record can never be changed. Indeed, in South Carolina, most criminal convictions cannot be removed from a person’s record. However, there is a select series of convictions that may be removed from a person’s criminal record under specific circumstances.

In addition, any charge that did not result in a conviction will also be eligible. Our Columbia expungement lawyer work with people to determine their eligibility for this law and to take the appropriate steps needed to make a fresh start with their life. To discuss whether expungement may be an option in your situation, consult with an experienced defense attorney in Columbia today.

Who is Eligible for Expungement?

South Carolina Code 17-22-910 specifically states which criminal convictions can be expunged. These offenses which a Columbia expungement attorney may be able to assist with include:

  • First offense misdemeanor fraudulent check,
  • Charges that led to the successful completion of a pre-trial intervention program,
  • First offense possession of marijuana when the defendant completes any requirements of a conditional discharge program,
  • Non-violent first convictions when the person was 17 to 24 years old at the time of conviction. This can only be done when the most recent 5 years have been conviction free. See Youthful Offender Act.

Any other first offense conviction in the magistrate, municipal, or transfer court may be expunged if the penalty applied upon conviction was no more than 30 days in jail, a $500 fine or both. The applicant must also have no other convictions for three years following the sentence, but this time expands to 5 years if the conviction was for domestic violence.

Any conviction for a crime not specifically listed above cannot be expunged. This means that any felony conviction, or even a misdemeanor where a person was sentenced to a fine above $500, or was convicted of a crime with a potential sentence of more than 30 days in jail, will always remain on a person’s criminal record.

Many people do not realize that even being accused of a crime will appear in a person’s criminal record. However, people are also eligible to have any non-convictions (dismissals and not guilty verdicts) removed from their criminal records.

Starting in June of 2009, courts automatically expunge any record of a non-conviction. For older charges, people must petition the court directly. Fortunately, there is no charge for this procedure and the process is outlined in South Carolina Code 17-22-950.

How to Begin the Expungement Process

All expungements of South Carolina criminal records are handled by the Solicitor’s Office. The Solicitor’s Office has branches in all of the judicial circuits throughout the State. Depending on the specific judicial circuit, the rules for properly applying differ. In Columbia, the appropriate paperwork can be found here.

In addition to this application, all people, or their Columbia expungement attorney on their behalf, must provide three separate fees for the Solicitor’s Office in the amount of $250.00, a SLED Verification fee of $25.00, and a filing fee to the Clerk of the Court in the amount of $35.00. This total of $310.00 must be paid at the Solicitor’s Office when submitting the application.

The Solicitor’s Office will then confirm the applicant’s eligibility, and cross-reference this information with SLED. Once this is done, the file goes to the judge at the circuit court who reviews the case. This judge then makes the decision on whether or not to grant the expungement.

At no point will an applicant be forced to appear in court or have the opportunity to argue for the expungement; it is mainly a matter of procedure that all parties are required to follow.

Contact a Columbia Expungement Attorney Today

Our Columbia expungement lawyers help clients to evaluate whether they are eligible to apply for an expungement in the State of South Carolina. We examine people’s criminal records and determine if an expungement request will be successful.

We then submit the required paperwork with the proper information and fees. With our help, people can remove unflattering marks on background checks and move forward with their lives. Contact our firm today.