Expungement Guide

South Carolina Expungement

South Carolina Expungement
In the state of South Carolina the law allows for the obliteration of arrest information and conviction information under specific circumstances. South Carolina Code of Laws 17-1-40 states that the booking and arrest records, mug shots, files, and fingerprints of an individual be destroyed leaving no evidence of any past record in the files of county, municipal, or state law enforcement agencies. This is only when an individual qualifies for expungement.

Pretrial Intervention
South Carolina provides a diversion program for non-violent first-time criminal offenders called Pretrial Intervention. Those eligible must perform community restitution and provide monetary restitution for the victims involved in the crime or crimes. Those who have successfully completed the Pretrial Intervention are allowed to apply for the destruction of criminal records relating to the arrest under the South Carolina Code of Law 17-22-150. This act will restore the individual to the previous status that he or she had prior to being arrested. After this order has been entered, the individual will not longer be able to be held as guilty of perjury or otherwise providing false statement to whether he or she committed a citable crime in the past.

Check Fraud
The first offense of check fraud with intent may, after one year from the assigned conviction, apply for expungement of criminal records. This will allow an individual to apply for or have another act on his or her behalf for an expungement petition. This particular provision does not include those convicted of felony offenses where check values exceeded five thousand dollars. If no other convictions are present after one year, expungement may be granted. This right is only give to individuals once.

Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana
The first offense of simple marijuana possession, those deemed misdemeanors, may have their records cleared after the completion of all required sentencing according to South Carolina Code of Law 44-53-45. All the information associated with the arrest will be eliminated including records of not only the arrest but also the trail, finding of guilty, indictment, dismissal, and discharge of pursuant. After an expungement has been granted the individual will no longer be required to acknowledge the arrest in any form including pleading guilty in a court procession and cannot be charged with perjury as such.

Municipal Court Convictions
Three years after the date of conviction, an individual will be able to apply for expungement for the conviction and arrest in a municipal court or a magistrate's court. However certain crimes are not expungeable. These include offenses that involve the operation of a motor vehicle, violations of Title-50--those of fish, game, and watercraft--and offenses of Chapter 25 and Title 16--criminal domestic violence.

If an individual has not been convicted for any other crime during this three-year time period after the first offense to the municipal court or the magistrate's court, the circuit court may then grant an order to expunge the criminal records. Individuals are only granted this kind of expungement once in his or her lifetime.

See also:
South Carolina Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
South Carolina Felony External link (opens in new window)
South Carolina Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)