A criminal record can haunt you for years after a conviction. Prospective employers, landlords, and financial institutions could turn you down for jobs, housing, or loans based on a criminal conviction.
Instead of paying for a single mistake for the rest of your life, seek help from an experienced Beaufort expungement lawyer. The knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Schiller & Hamilton could help you clear your record and move on to a brighter future.
What is Expungement?
Some people believe that once they are convicted of a crime, that stays with them indefinitely. Fortunately, state law permits judges to “expunge” a conviction, which essentially means to remove the conviction from a person’s criminal record and hide it from public view.
Expungement is also referred to as an Order for Destruction of Arrest Records under the state’s Uniform Expungement of Criminal Records Act. Because a conviction can detrimentally impact a person’s job, housing, and educational opportunities, expungement offers many people a fresh start.
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What Convictions Can be Expunged in Beaufort?
While a person cannot clear their record of every crime, a Beaufort criminal court judge can expunge certain convictions. South Carolina Code of Laws §17-22-910 lists offenses eligible for expungement, including but not limited to:
- First offense misdemeanor fraudulent check
- A conviction under the youthful offender act
- A first offense for simple possession or possession with intent to distribute
- A first offense for failure to stop for a law enforcement vehicle
- Certain alcohol-related offenses
- A conviction that carried a penalty of not more than 30 days incarceration, a $500 fine, or both
A local attorney could assess someone’s case and determine whether expungement is legally possible.
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Legal Process for Expungement in Beaufort
An individual seeking expungement should apply with the Solicitor’s office in the county where they were initially arrested. For charges that were dismissed or not prosecuted, or for which the defendant was found not guilty, the applicant can request expungement once a judge files the final disposition in the clerk’s office. In cases involving conditional discharge, the applicant must successfully complete all discharge requirements before applying for expungement.
To apply, the individual must complete the required expungement application and submit a certified copy of the disposition of the charges they want to remove from their record. The applicant must also pay a $25 fee to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, a $250 administrative fee to the prosecutor’s office, and a $35 filing fee to the Clerk of Court.
Generally, it can take up to six months from the date of application for a judge to consider and decide whether to grant the expungement request. However, this time may be extended if the applicant has not yet supplied all required documentation. A qualified attorney at Schiller & Hamilton could explain the requirements and guide an applicant through the expungement process.
Talk to a Capable Beaufort Expungement Attorney Today
Criminal behavior that results in a conviction can impact your life for a long time, if not forever. Whether it was a momentary lapse in judgment or a youthful mistake you wish you could take back, you deserve the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.
To determine if you can legally clear your record, contact a skilled Beaufort expungement lawyer. Schiller & Hamilton’s team could provide sound legal advice throughout the expungement process and help you put the past behind you, so call today to move forward.