A woman accused of assaulting a deputy and burglarizing a home will no longer face charges. An expungement order issued required that all records of her arrest be removed. It is unclear if the charges were dismissed; she was found not guilty, or nolle prossed, meaning the prosecutors elected not to proceed. Regardless, the reason for the expungement does not alter the fact that the charges will no longer show on the woman’s legal records.
Qualifying for Expungement
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, you may be interested in expungement. However, not every charge is eligible for expungement under South Carolina law, and generally, only minor or first offenses can be expunged. Violent offenses do not qualify for expungement. Your charge may be eligible for expungement if:
- The charge was dismissed or you were found not guilty.
- The charge was nolle prossed for any reason, including completion of the Pre-Trial Intervention or Alcohol Education Program.
- It was your first offense and was a single misdemeanor conviction for a fraudulent check, possession of marijuana, or failure to stop.
- It was your first offense as a youth and it has been five years since your sentence was complete.
There are other possible qualifications for expungement, so be certain to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney about your specific case. Even if your charge qualifies, there are other steps to expungement. Unless the charges were dismissed, nolle prossed, or you were found not guilty, you’ll have to pay a $250 fee and may have to pay other fees depending on the charge being expunged. You’ll also need to complete and file the proper forms, which an attorney can assist you with.
Expungement and Your Record
Expunging a charge is meant to give the person charged a clean slate and second chance by effectively deleting the criminal record. Although there are limits to expungement, it may allow you to obtain jobs otherwise unavailable to you if your criminal record was still public record.
If your charge is expunged, the records of it will be sealed, meaning that they are no longer public record. However, your records can still be used for some law enforcement purposes and can be released under court order. In most cases, this means that your record will be effectively destroyed, so long as you do not commit future crimes, which may require a release of your records.
While the official public records can be expunged, nothing can be done about any media releases concerning the crime. This means that employers, school officials, or other interested parties could find out about the charge if they conduct a simple Internet search. You should be aware of this and prepared for the potential impacts of any media coverage of your charges.
Contact a Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney
If you would like to expunge a charge from your criminal record, contact the attorneys at the David Aylor Law Offices. We can both help you to clear your record and also advise you on any possible ramifications of media coverage of your charges as well.
David Aylor is a Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Charleston, Walterboro, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 11 years. David Aylor believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.