If you have a criminal record you know that it can have a negative impact on your life for many years. If you have a criminal conviction you may have difficulty getting a job and may be ineligible for many jobs such as those in government, teaching jobs, and others. You may also find it hard to get into school, obtain a loan, and rent or purchase a home in the future. If you have found yourself with criminal charges or a conviction, it may be possible to have the matter removed from your record, or sealed from view. It is advisable to seek assistance from a reputable Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.
Understanding Expungement and Sealing
Expungement is the sealing or destruction of criminal records to eliminate them from your permanent record. Whenever a person is convicted of a crime it becomes part of his or her record. This information is kept in a database where it can be reviewed if necessary. Even charges without a formal conviction will continue to appear on your record unless you have them removed or sealed.
Expungement means that the record is erased or removed, while sealing a record means that the record remains but is only viewable in specific circumstances, such as by law enforcement or with a court order. The rules of expungement are outlined in South Carolina Statute § 17-1-40. There are various situations that allow for removal of a record, but it must be requested using the proper process.
Expungement can effectively remove an arrest record, booking details, mug shot, DNA profile, and fingerprints from your record. No record of the incident will be retained by any local, county, or state law enforcement agency. The arrest record will be removed from the public record within 30 days after an expungement has been granted.
Eligibility for Expungement in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Not every conviction is eligible to be expunged. There are nine types of charges or convictions which are eligible for expungement. The type of charges or conviction determines how expungement is handled.
- Not Convicted
- Completion of Pretrial Program
- Traffic Education Program (TEP) Completion
- Completion of Alcohol Education Program (AEP)
- Fraudulent Check Conviction
- Fulfillment of Conditional Court Discharge
- General Misdemeanor Conviction
- Sentence Completed as Part of Youth Offender Act (YOA)
- Failure to Stop for a Blue Light
Once you have completed the statutory requirements in place for a specific type of charge, you may be able to file a request for expungement. This is done through the Solicitor’s Office and through South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Some Convictions are Ineligible for Expungement
There are a number of convictions that are ineligible for removal. Felony convictions are cannot be removed from your record. Also, DUI convictions must remain on your record. If your charges were dismissed through a plea arrangement, you do not qualify for expungement. It is also important to note that you cannot get an expungement if you have new pending criminal charges against you. You must also not have been convicted of a criminal offense within a three year period after the offense that you want to have expunged. The rules and guidelines for expungement eligibility can be complex, so it is wise to speak with a criminal defense lawyer to learn more about your particular circumstances.
What is the Expungement Process?
The first step in the expungement process is to determine whether you are eligible. Consult with an experienced Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer to learn how to proceed. If your situation allows for the possibility of expungement, you must first meet specific requirements. For example, if you were convicted of a crime as a juvenile and completed your sentence, you may qualify for expungement under the Youthful Offender Act after 5 years of completion.
If you are eligible for expungement you must file the request along with the necessary documentation and the required fee. Simply submitting the paperwork and fees does not automatically grant an expungement. Each case is reviewed individually and if you do not meet the requirements your request will be denied. However, the fee is non-refundable regardless of the outcome.
Impact on Future Criminal Cases
Your criminal past will be taken into consideration if you’re facing another conviction. The judge will review your prior record in determining a sentence. For this reason, it could be beneficial to consider steps to expunge your prior record to help keep current sentencing as low as possible. Since the process can take some time to complete, it is best to speak with a Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You must expunge your previous record before you are charged with a new case or your request will not be allowed.
Defend Your Criminal Case
Once a conviction is made and a sentence imposed it can be difficult or impossible to remove it. For this reason, it is always best to fight your criminal charges up front in order to get the best possible results. This is accomplished with help from a qualified Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will take steps to have the charges reduced or eliminated. If a conviction does occur, your attorney works to achieve the lowest possible sentence and penalty. These issues can directly impact your future. For instance, there is a great deal of difference between misdemeanor and felony convictions. If the charges can be reduced, you may be able to avoid a felony conviction.
Many people have done things in their past for which they are sorry. You don’t need to live with the consequences of poor decisions that you made a long time ago. If you have some items on your criminal record that can be removed, it is in your best interest to get them expunged. You can learn more about the expungement process and whether you qualify by confer with a skilled criminal defense attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC. Contact the legal team at David Aylor Law Offices to schedule a confidential consultation today.