Expunge a Criminal Record in South Carolina

February 22, 2024
Criminal Defense

Past mistakes can haunt your life forever. If you have a criminal record in South Carolina, you face barriers in housing, employment, education, government assistance, and more. Consulting a criminal defense attorney in Rock Hill, South Carolina, can help you tear down those barriers and clear your record.

What is an Expungement?

Expunging a criminal record essentially seals your record, leaving you able to clear most background checks for housing and employment. Expungement is a legal process by which your record is sealed from public view. If successful, a judge will order your state and local agencies to destroy any and all documents pertaining to your criminal history, including:

  • Fingerprint records
  • Mug shots
  • Booking records

An expungement does not wipe the slate clean completely. The FBI maintains its records. However, those can only be viewed by a very limited number of individuals.

Is Having Your Criminal Record Expunged Difficult?

Having your criminal record expunged in South Carolina can be a very long and difficult process. According to an in-depth article:

  • 1 in 3 people in the US have criminal records
  • Only 7% of those eligible for expungement have their records cleared

An expungement attorney in Rock Hill can help you navigate the complexities and legal requirements to clear your criminal record.

To expunge a record in South Carolina, you must:

  • Coordinate numerous parties involved in the expungement process
  • Gather all preliminary information
  • Ensure that the extensive paperwork is filed timely and accurately

In addition, the process can take as long as a year. If the judge grants your petition, your criminal record can be destroyed, granting you a fresh start.

Am I Eligible to Apply for an Expungement in South Carolina?

If you have a criminal record that is wreaking havoc on your life, expunging your record can have a tremendous impact. Many qualifying factors determine expungement eligibility, including:

  • Successfully completing all sentencing requirements
  • Certain time restrictions may apply
  • Having no other convictions for a specific period of time

Most minor misdemeanors convictions qualify for expungement. Also, under the Youthful Offender Act, some nonviolent crimes committed by those under 24 may be expunged.

New South Carolina Law Expands the Youthful Offenders Act

Recently, Act No. 73 was passed, giving the Youthful Offenders Act greater reach. The Youthful Offenders Act aims to give those between the ages of 17 and 24 a second chance.

Under the law’s expansion, some previously ineligible crimes would now qualify to be expunged, including disturbing school grounds and driving with a suspended license. In addition, a person may qualify for expungement before the 5-year waiting period.

The new law will apply retroactively. If you are experiencing hardships associated with a criminal record and think you may be eligible for expungement, contact Barboza Law today.

What Offenses Cannot be Expunged?

Not every crime can be expunged from your record. Violent offenses cannot be expunged. High-level misdemeanors and felonies are ineligible. Additionally, most offenses involving alcohol cannot be cleared.

Examples of crimes that cannot be expunged include the following:

  • The majority of traffic offenses
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Violent crimes, including homicide, assault, and sex-related offenses
  • Driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration
  • Hunting, fishing, and gaming offenses
  • Criminal offenses that carry a potential jail sentence of more than 30 days

If you are struggling under the weight of your criminal record and believe you may be eligible to have it expunged, contact Barboza Law today.

How a Rock Hill, South Carolina Expungement Lawyer Can Help

An expungement of your criminal record is not automatic. There are many legal hoops to clear your record successfully and start fresh.

At Barboza Law, we understand mistakes should not define you or dictate the quality of your life. Attorney Barboza will fight for you and your rights. Let our compassionate team help you expunge your criminal record in South Carolina and regain your freedom. Contact a Rock Hill criminal defense lawyer for a consultation today by dialing (803) 973-6003.