Summerville Expungement Lawyer

A criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor, can only harm you professionally and disrupt other aspects of your life.  But for certain offenses in South Carolina, someone who receives a first conviction for a 30-day misdemeanor may be eligible apply to have it removed from their record.

If you received a first conviction that you would like to have omitted from your official legal criminal record, contacting a Summerville expungement lawyer may be the right choice for you. Schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney in your area to discuss your case.

Fraudulent Check Violations Tried in Municipal Court

South Carolina Code of Laws §34-11-60 makes cases involving fraudulent checks for up to $1,000, triable in municipal court. A first conviction for a check for up to $500 carries a fine of $50 to $200 or imprisonment for up to 30 days. A first conviction for a check for more than $500 and up to $1,000 carries a fine of $300 to $500, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both.

For a first conviction, the court may suspend a prison sentence if the person convicted repays the amount of the check along with all reasonable court costs. Once they have paid back the loss, the person may apply for an expungement to have their arrest and conviction records destroyed.

Expungement under South Carolina Law

According to S.C. Code §17-1-40, when criminal charges are dropped, proceedings dismissed, an accused person found not guilty, or a conviction expunged, most government agencies must destroy all records of the arrest and charge. An exception exists for law enforcement and prosecution agencies, which must keep the records “under seal” for three years and 120 days, after which they may retain them indefinitely if necessary for legal and administrative purposes. A similar policy applies at correctional facilities, which must destroy records of an expunged case after three years and 120 days, retaining them only if needed to address another case in progress.

Under S.C. Code §17-1-45, any bond paperwork or courtesy summons issued by the South Carolina Court Administration must include a notice telling the recipient that if charges in the case are discharged, dismissed, or nolle prossed (when a prosecutor decides not to continue an action), or if they are found not guilty, they may have their record expunged. Since a person convicted of a charge may exercise the right to expungement only once, the Law Enforcement Division retains a nonpublic record of the expungement to prevent repetition.

Circumstances Permitting an Application for Expungement

Several criminal statutes in the S.C. Code authorize an application for expungement of records of a misdemeanor conviction. Some conditions for application include, per Article 9 of §17-22:

  • A first offense for a fraudulent check
  • Conditional discharge in a first offense for possession of a controlled substance
  • A first offense in magistrates court or Circuit Court General Sessions Court
  • A first offense under the Youthful Offender Act
  • A first offense for simple possession or possession with intent to distribute drugs
  • A first offense for failure to stop for a law enforcement vehicle
  • Successful completion of a pretrial intervention program

Aside from criminal justice agencies, employers may not use expunged information against employees. It is best to discuss eligibility for expungement with a local attorney.

Schedule a Consultation With a Summerville Expungement Attorney to Help Protect Your Record

The law related to expungement contains many details and exceptions. If you have a record of conviction and are uncertain as to any expungement options that could be available to you, you may have good reason to pursue legal advice.

Eliminating a conviction from your record could affect you in countless ways. Schedule a consultation with a Summerville expungement lawyer to discuss your options to sealing your records.