DUI ExpungementIs your criminal record holding you back?

The Law Office of Peter David Brown, P.A. understands that everyone makes mistakes, and we understand the long-term consequences that Criminal charges can have on the ability to move on with your life and further your career. We know that there are potential opportunities lost because of a past arrest and/or conviction is appearing on a public record.

The South Carolina Legislature has rewritten the laws and now certain additional arrests and even convictions can now be expunged (removed) from your record. Attorney Peter Brown and his staff have been handling Expungements across the state of South Carolina for his clients the past three (3) decades. The firm handles criminal defense matters from the very beginning of the process in Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties; all the way through to the Expungement process. We are frequently retained to handle expungements years later.

Expungements Anywhere in South Carolina

The Law Office of Peter David Brown, P.A. can expunge arrests and/or convictions from any county or city in South Carolina if it is eligible for an Expungement.

What is an Expungement?

An expungement is a court order that removes an arrest or conviction from your criminal record. The order is called an Order for Destruction of Arrest Records. They are requested through the Solicitor’s Office in each county in South Carolina and each office goes through the same steps. Expungements in South Carolina work for non-convictions and even minor or first-time offense convictions. Guilty pleas, no contests “nolo contendere” and/or paid fines for a charge all count as convictions for the purpose of an expungement.

What is Eligible for an Expungement?

Under S.C. Code Section 17-22-910 here are different scenarios eligible for an expungement

If you have had a charge dismissed, the arrest most likely will still show up on your criminal record. These are dismissals, not-guilty verdicts, or charges not prosecuted (“nolle prossed”). This is regardless of the nature of the charge and includes charges that may have been dismissed as the result of remanded charges, a plea agreement, and/or conditional discharges for drug offenses.
Diversion Programs
If you have completed a diversion program as the result of a charge and the charge was dismissed because of the successful completion of the program it is eligible for an expungement. Examples of a diversion program are Pretrial Intervention (PTI), Alcohol Education Program (AEP), Traffic Education Program (TEP), or Gateway.
First Offense Misdemeanor Conviction
A misdemeanor for the purposes of an expungement in South Carolina is a crime carrying a penalty of not more than thirty (30) days imprisonment or fine of one thousand ($1,000) dollars, or both. Once you have gone three (3) years conviction free after the conviction date you should be eligible for an expungement (SC Code Section 22-5-910). This section may only be used once for an individual’s record, and it must be the first time they are convicted of the offense.
First-Offense Criminal Domestic Violence
A conviction for Domestic Violence third degree (DV 3rd) or the old Criminal Domestic Violence 1st offense (CDV 1st) may be eligible for an expungement if there is a five-year conviction free period from the completion of the sentence for the first conviction.
First Offense Fraudulent Check
If you have a fraudulent check charge, that is not a felony, and is a first-time conviction for that charge, you may be eligible for an expungement. There must be no other convictions or a one (1) year period following that conviction and only one check may be expunged. (S.C. Code Section 34-11-90(e))
First Offense Drug Conviction, Simple Possession
This section may apply to you regarding simple possession first-time convictions or unlawful possession of prescription drugs in magistrate, municipal or general sessions. There must be a three (3) year period from the competition of the sentence, to include probation or parole, with no convictions, excluding minor traffic offenses not involving a DUI and there must be no current pending charges. (S.C. Code Section 22-5-930)
First Offense Drug Conviction, Possession with Intent to Distribute
This is for any first offense conviction of a possession with intent to distribute charge, not to include manufacturing, distribution, dispensing, delivering, purchasing, or anything else covered by criminal statute). There must be a twenty (20) year period from the competition of the sentence, to include probation or parole, with no convictions, and there must be no current pending charges. (S.C. Code Section 22-5-930)
Youthful Offender Act (YOA)
  • This must be a first offense YOA conviction.
  • After June 2, 2010, anyone sentenced pursuant to the Youthful Offender Act who goes a period of five (5) years from the completion of their sentence without any other convictions may be eligible for an expungement.
  • Before June 2, 2010, anyone between the ages of seventeen (17) and twenty-four (24) who goes a period of five (5) years from the completion of their sentence without any other convictions may be eligible for an expungement.
  • Even with multiple YOA charges they may all be eligible for an expungement. If the sentence was at single sentence proceeding where charges were closely connected and arose out of the same incident.
First Offense Failure to Stop for Blue Lights
If you have a first-time conviction for failure to stop for blue lights you may be eligible for an expungement, if there was no great bodily injury or death as a result. There must be no other convictions for three (3) years following the completion of the sentence for the first offense conviction. (S.C. Code Section 56-5-750(f))
Juvenile Offenses
According to S.C. Code Section 63-19-2050 anyone who has been taken into custody for, charged with, or adjudicated delinquent for having committed a status offense or a nonviolent crime may petition the court for an expungement Order. The juvenile must now be 18 years or older, have fully completed their sentence, have no prior convictions that carry more than a five (5) year sentence, and not been convicted of any other delinquent or criminal offense or have any charges pending.

Are Traffic Offenses Eligible for an Expungement?

Traffic offenses that were not-guilty verdicts, dismissed or nolle prossed are eligible to be expunged from your record. However, any traffic offense convictions, including those for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are not eligible, unless it is for Failure to Stop for Blue Lights. There are certain programs and weeks throughout the year hosted by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SC DMV) that can assist and help reduce points or license suspensions that may be affecting your driving ability.

Do Expungements Cost Anything?

Certain Expungements require court costs. Court costs can range for zero to three hundred and ten ($0-$310) dollars and are sent directly to the court for the processing of the Expungement. Certain charges are exempt from any fees. There is no refund for these fees to process the expungement, even in the case where they are denied.

How Long Does an Expungement Take?

An expungement can take anywhere between six (6) to twelve (12) weeks for the Solicitor’s Office to process. They take time to go through each step, starting with checking the eligibility of the individual and then sending it off to SLED for them to check and confirm the eligibility. It is then sent back through the Solicitor’s Office to get approved by the Solicitor and a Circuit Court Judge for the final approval and signed Order of the Destruction of Arrest Records. Once processed the Order is sent to all respective agencies and can take about thirty (30) to sixty (60) days for SLED to officially reflect the Order on an arrest record. These times can fluctuate to sometimes be shorter and sometimes longer depending on time of year and staffing of each department.

What Happens Once my Expungement is Done?

By state law you will receive a copy of the completed Expungement Order. You will need to verify your arrest record with SLED after the thirty (30) to sixty (60) day period. You can run a copy of your arrest record through SLED by following this link (hyperlink the word link). It is very important you do this step to ensure your record is clear.

What Can I Do if My Charge is Not Eligible for an Expungement?

A Pardon

The next step that might lessen the impact of a conviction would be applying for a Pardon. A Pardon is granted by the South Carolina Board of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services and can excuse a person convicted of a crime from its legal ramifications. It will not erase a mistake or remove it from your arrest record, but it will erase the state penalties received because of the conviction. A Pardon may also help you recover certain important civil rights, such as your right to vote and your right to carry a firearm. If interested in pursuing a Pardon, please reach out to us at the Law Office of Peter David Brown at (843) 971-0099.

The Expungement process can be very complicated and intimidating.

At the Law Office of Peter David Brown we see first-hand the amount of stress our clients endure when going through the court process. Having experienced Attorneys, such as Attorney Peter Brown or Attorney Donald Sorenson, to guide your matter through the Expungement process will take the weight off your shoulders.