A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in South Carolina, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record. Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take. 1) Expunge Your Record 2) Seal Your Record 3) Request a Pardon of Your Record
The problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what South Carolina offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.
If you get your record expunged in South Carolina it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.
Sealing your record in South Carolina is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.
If you receive a pardon in South Carolina, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.
First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in South Carolina.
Felony Expungement in South Carolina
No, it is not possible to expunge your felony in South Carolina but it depends on the felony.
Sealing a Record in South Carolina
No, it is not possible to seal your record in South Carolina.
Getting a Pardon in South Carolina
Yes, it is possible to get a pardon of your record in South Carolina but it depends on the felony.
Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options. The first is to get a free consultation from alawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.
Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action. We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process. Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again. In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think. The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing off your record.
Can You Expunge a Felony in South Carolina?
Unfortunately expungement works only for minor or first-time offenses. Major offenses and consecutive felonies cannot be expunged.
How to Expunge a Felony in South Carolina
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to expunge your record.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible for expungement based on our test, then you should stop here.
Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in South Carolina?
Unfortunately, you cannot get any kind of criminal record sealed in South Carolina.
Can You Apply for a Pardon in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, a pardon is a grant by the state that excuses you of your crime from its legal consequences. It does not erase a conviction, it just ends the penalty.
CANNOT PARDON IF…
SupervisionIf you are/were on parole, you are eligible to apply for a pardon if you have successfully completed at least five years under supervision; however, if your parole period is/was less than five years, you are eligible the moment you are released from supervision.Restitution If you still owe any victim restitution or other court-imposed fines, you are not eligible for a pardon until you have paid them off. For an Out-of-State Conviction, you can only be granted a pardon for a South Carolina conviction.
How to Apply for a Pardon in South Carolina
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record. In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• The Board has conveniently placed its pardon application form on its website for you to download here. If you cannot access the Board’s website or the application form itself, you can contact the Board directly at 803-734-9220 and request that one be mailed or emailed to you. You can also write to:Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon ServicesAttn: Legal Services, Pardon Application Processing2221 Devine Street, Suite 600P.O. Box 50666 Columbia, SC 29250Steps to apply for a pardon in South Carolina
Step 1. In addition to filling out all basic information, you will need to list all arrests and convictions you have ever received (in South Carolina and elsewhere, including federal offenses), excluding minor traffic and parking tickets.
• You will need to know the name of the offense, the date you were arrested or convicted, and the county where you were arrested or convicted.
Step 2. You will need to submit three letters of reference along with your application.
• The letters cannot come from anyone who is related to you by blood or marriage.
• These should come from credible people (such as your boss) who know you well and can say good things about you.
• The letters must list the name, address, home and work telephone number of the person, and must be signed and dated by the person.
• The letters must also state that the person supports your application for a pardon and the reason why.
• The Board will contact these people for verification.
Step 3. You will also need to sign a release (attached to the application) authorizing the Board to obtain information about your employment, military, credit, medical, education, and other records.
• The release must be notarized, which means it must be signed in front of a notary public.
• You can find a notary public in most banks.
Step 4. If you have ever been ordered to pay any victim restitution or other court-imposed fines as part of a sentence, you will need to submit a certified statement from the appropriate authority (usually the court itself) which indicates that you have paid all restitution and other fines in full.
Step 5. We highly suggest that you submit, on a separate sheet of paper, a detailed and genuine personal statement explaining why you need a pardon.
• In your personal statement, don’t simply say you want a clean criminal record again.
• Tell the Board how your conviction has negatively affected you and/or your family.
• For example, explain how you have been denied housing or employment opportunities because of your conviction, and how this has prevented you from providing you and your family an adequate standard of living. Submit any proof you may have (such as denial letters) to support your claims.
• If you are facing deportation because of a conviction, explain how being separated from your family will negatively affect you as well as them.
• If you are pursuing a career in a field that requires you to obtain a pardon, submit documents, letters, or other proof from a prospective employer, licensing agency, or attorney verifying this necessity.
• If you need to regain your gun rights, explain why you need this—for example, you are pursuing a career that requires the use of firearms, or you want to take part in your family hunting traditions, or you simply want to feel more secure and able to defend yourself and/or your family after a recent traumatic event.
• Also indicate in your personal statement all the positive things that have occurred in your life—for example, educational achievements, new or stable employment, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, law-abiding behavior, etc.
• Submit copies of your college transcript, high school diploma or GED, military certificates, marriage certificate, honors and awards, and other proof of your rehabilitation and good character.
• Explain what your future plans are and how a pardon would help you.
• In writing your personal statement, keep in mind that the Board will not be retrying you for the offense.
• Although you may feel the need to explain the facts of the crime from your perspective, avoid trying to make excessive excuses for your crime and arguing away your guilt.
• However you feel about the crime, you have already been found guilty.
• The Board is probably more interested in seeing your remorse for the crime, and your understanding of its effects on the victim and society, than anything else.
Step 6. Keep a copy of everything you send for your records.
• Your completed application, along with your personal statement, all supporting documents, the three letters of reference, and the $100.00 check, should be mailed to:South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon ServicesP.O. Box 50666Columbia, SC 29250
Step 7. After the Board receives your application, it will determine whether you are eligible; if so, your application will be investigated by agents of the Board. An investigation may involve a personal interview on you. You should be upfront and cooperative with the Board and its agents at all times.
Step 8. After investigation is complete, a hearing will be held on your application.
• You will have an opportunity to be present at the hearing and make a statement or presentation in your support.
• If possible, you should have a few people there to support you and possibly speak out for you (if allowed).
• The hearing will be an excellent opportunity for you to put a human face onto your application; it lets the Board not only see you in person but also see the support you have in your community.
• The hearing will be before the entire Board. The victim and/or representative of the State may be there to oppose your application.
• If your application is denied, you cannot reapply until one year has passed after the date you were denied.
• If you are granted a pardon, the Board will issue you a “certificate of pardon” which states that you have been absolved of all legal consequences of your conviction and that all of your citizenship rights have been restored.
So, there you have it. One way to get rid of your record in South Carolina. As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you take this eligibility test prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.
Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational. If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.
How to get a Felony off your Record in Surrounding States
- How to get a Felony off your Record in Georgia
- How to get a Felony off your Record in North Carolina
Other Helpful Resources for Felons in South Carolina
- Jobs for Felons in South Carolina
- Housing for Felons in South Carolina
- Voting Rights for Felons in South Carolina
- Reentry Programs for Felons in South Carolina
- Temp Agencies That Hire Felons in South Carolina
What felonies Cannot be expunged in South Carolina? ›
DUIs cannot be expunged. Crimes where you registered for the SC Sex Offenders Registry cannot be expunged. If you have other pending criminal charges that are less than five years old you cannot get an expungement.How do I clear my criminal record? ›
- a period of 10 years has passed after the date of the conviction for that offence.
- you have not been convicted and sentenced to a period of imprisonment without the option of a fine during those 10 years.
- the sentence was corporal punishment.
The process may take up to six (6) months from the date the Expungement Office receives the completed Expungement Application.How much does it cost to get a felony expunged in South Carolina? ›
What fees do I pay for an expungement? You must pay a $250.00 administrative fee to the Solicitor's office, a $25.00 fee to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (“SLED”), and $35.00 filing fee to the Clerk of Court. You pay the fees with separate money orders when you apply to your Solicitor's office.Can a felon get his gun rights back in South Carolina? ›
Effect. Pardon restores all civil rights, gun rights, and the right to be licensed for any occupation requiring a license. See also S.C. Code Ann.How long do criminal records take to clear? ›
If the person was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense (i.e. legally considered to be an adult), then the conviction will be expunged from their record 11 years after the conviction date (not the offense date).How long does it take to remove criminal record? ›
The Head of the Criminal Record Centre will inform the applicant in writing that his convictions and sentences have been expunged. Please note this process usually takes about 20 – 28 weeks.Do criminal records get deleted? ›
Not everyone can get their police data and PNC record removed. If you were lawfully and correctly convicted it is highly unlikely the police will agree to removing it. Even if you were not convicted, if the police lawfully took and/ or made data with your details they might refuse.Can a felony be expunged in SC? ›
Not All Convictions Can Be Expunged
Fish and wildlife convictions CANNOT be expunged. Convictions for felonies or heinous crimes CANNOT be expunged.
Enquiries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call our Call Centre on 080 002 0007. PLEASE NOTE: ENQUIRIES BY WAY OF ELECTRONIC MAIL IS THE PREFERRED METHOD OF CORRESPONDENCE. ALL SUCH ENQUIRIES WILL BE ATTENDED TO WITHIN 5 WORKING DAYS.
What is the process of expungement? ›
Expungement is having a conviction removed from one's criminal/police record after a specific period of time has elapsed and after certain requirements have been met. The Statute which authorises the expungement of criminal records is the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act, 1988.What charges can be expunged in South Carolina? ›
- Any charge that was dismissed or where the defendant was found not guilty is eligible for expungement.
- First offense convictions for fraudulent check (bad check) charges are eligible for expungement.
(a) Law enforcement and prosecution agencies shall retain the arrest and booking record, associated bench warrants, mug shots, and fingerprints of the person under seal for three years and one hundred twenty days.Does South Carolina have a clean slate law? ›
Wiping a Dirty Slate Clean: Some Criminal Convictions Can Be Removed From Your Record. South Carolina law allows a little grace in the world for certain people who make a mistake. Even if you are convicted of certain crimes, you can have them removed from your record under the right conditions.What is the Youthful Offender Act in South Carolina? ›
Time for release of youthful offenders. (A) A youthful offender shall be released conditionally under supervision on or before the expiration of four years from the date of his conviction and shall be discharged unconditionally on or before six years from the date of his conviction.Does expungement restore gun rights in South Carolina? ›
Does expungement restore gun rights? If the crime you were convicted of causes you to lose your gun rights and you get that crime expunged, then yes.Who can see expunged records? ›
Nobody can see expunged records. Expungement completely removes these records, so they don't even exist. When a judge grants your request for criminal record expungement, all the agencies that have records on you must either destroy them or give them to you – so there's nothing for anyone to see.Can you own a gun with a felony in SC? ›
(A) It is unlawful for a person who has been convicted of a violent crime, as defined by Section 16-1-60, that is classified as a felony offense, to possess a firearm or ammunition within this State.Can a felon live in a house with a gun in SC? ›
As a convicted felon you cannot own or possess a firearm. Even though the firearms may not be yours, if you are residing in the household with those firearms then arguably you are possessing them.What can a felon not do in SC? ›
State law mandates that if an individual has been convicted of a felony, violent crime, or domestic violence, he or she can't possess a firearm. Individuals under orders of protection or restraining orders also can't have access to firearms, although they may regain access when an order is expired or lifted.
How do you get your record expunged in SC? ›
Pursuant to the South Carolina Code of Laws, a criminal record may only be expunged through an application to the court, which must be signed by a judge. An individual should contact the solicitor's office in the area where the charge originated to seek assistance and obtain an application, which does require a fee.What jobs can you not do with a criminal record? ›
- Jobs that involve working with children or vulnerable adults.
- Senior roles in banking or finance.
- Law enforcement roles, including the police and judiciary.
- The military, navy and air force.
- Work involving national security.
- Certain roles in healthcare, pharmacy and the law.
When it comes to what convictions can stop you from getting a job, very serious crimes which include sexual abuse, violence, or terrorism are going to stop someone from working with vulnerable groups such as children or vulnerable adults.Can I get a job with a criminal record? ›
Simply having a criminal record does not prevent you from getting a job. In a limited number of cases, certain convictions may prevent you from working in certain roles, but, you are likely to already know about this if it applies to you.Does your criminal record get wiped after 5 years? ›
Convictions resulting in a custodial sentence will always be disclosed on a DBS check, no matter how much time has passed. Cautions for non-specified offences that are more than six years old will no longer show on your DBS certificate.Do you have to declare a criminal record after 5 years? ›
Most will only ask for unspent convictions, although some might ask for 'any convictions in the last 5 years'. If it's spent, you do not need to disclose it under any circumstances when applying for insurance.What is a CR 180? ›
Petition for Dismissal (CR-180)
Ask the court to reduce or dismiss a criminal conviction in order to minimize the conviction's impact on employment and other areas. Get form CR-180.
9. Do I have to have an attorney to get my criminal history sealed or expunged? There is no requirement that you have an attorney in order to request a seal or an expungement of your criminal history record.How long do you have to wait to get your record expunged in CT? ›
You may apply to the Pardons Board for an Absolute pardon three (3) years after the date of the disposition of your most recent misdemeanor conviction and/or five (5) years after the date of the disposition of your most recent felony conviction.What is South Carolina Code 40? ›
It is unlawful for a person to engage in a profession or occupation regulated by a board or commission administered by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation without holding a valid authorization to practice as required by the statute or regulation.
What is SC statute 16 1 40? ›
A person who aids in the commission of a felony or is an accessory before the fact in the commission of a felony by counseling, hiring, or otherwise procuring the felony to be committed is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be punished in the manner prescribed for the punishment of the principal felon.What is charge 100 in SC? ›
Q: in South Carolina, what does Charge 100:Fugitive from Justice mean? Why would a bond not be set with this charge? A: A fugitive from justice warrant is issued when a person is wanted from another state and found in SC. It is basically just a way of holding someone until a hearing can be scheduled for extradition.What is South Carolina Second Chance Program? ›
Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) created the Second Chance initiative to help returning citizens learn a skill and understand how to successfully search for a job. By helping individuals prepare for employment, they gain confidence, purpose, and direction, reducing the recidivism rate.What is the slowpoke law in South Carolina? ›
This week, a State Senate subcommittee approved the change to South Carolina's "Slowpoke Law" that would increase the fine associated with it. As the name suggests, the law makes it a punishable offense for drivers to use the left lane for anything other than passing the vehicle in front of them.What is the first time offender program in South Carolina? ›
The Pre-Trial Intervention Program in South Carolina is a diversionary program that allows first-time offenders an alternative to traditional prosecution in a criminal courtroom. A benefit of the PTI program is you DO NOT have to plead guilty to apply for the program.Can a felony conviction be expunged in South Carolina? ›
Fish and wildlife convictions CANNOT be expunged. Convictions for felonies or heinous crimes CANNOT be expunged.Can you have a felony expunged in South Carolina? ›
Pursuant to the South Carolina Code of Laws, a criminal record may only be expunged through an application to the court, which must be signed by a judge. An individual should contact the solicitor's office in the area where the charge originated to seek assistance and obtain an application, which does require a fee.How many expungements are you allowed in SC? ›
You are allowed only one expungement under the law. (S.C. Code §§ 22-5-920, 24-19-10, 24-19-50 (2021).)Does expungement restore gun rights in SC? ›
Does expungement restore gun rights? If the crime you were convicted of causes you to lose your gun rights and you get that crime expunged, then yes.What crimes can be expunged in South Carolina? ›
Any charge that was dismissed or where the defendant was found not guilty is eligible for expungement. First offense convictions for fraudulent check (bad check) charges are eligible for expungement. If a simple possession of marijuana charge is resolved by conditional discharge it is eligible for expungement.
How long does it take for criminal record to clear? ›
The Head of the Criminal Record Centre will inform the applicant in writing that his convictions and sentences have been expunged. Please note this process usually takes about 20 – 28 weeks.Can a non violent felon have a gun in South Carolina? ›
No, as a felon you may not own, possess, hold, handle, or fire a firearm. The issue is not whether the felony is violent or non-violent, as the vast majority of felonies are non-violent. This issue is the felony conviction at all.What happens if a felon gets caught with a gun in South Carolina? ›
(B) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.