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South Carolina

Adult Criminal Record Clearance Overview

Adult criminal records for cases in which you were convicted are eligible for expungement in some situations. You have to file a petition in court to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 

  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of a first-offender fraudulent check misdemeanor, the record can be expunged one year after conviction, so long as you have no other convictions during that time. 
  • Records relating to a minor offense handled in magistrate's or general sessions court--or multiple offenses if they arose from the same incident and the person was sentenced at the same proceeding--may be expunged by the court three years after conviction, provided the person has no other conviction during the three- year period. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted in magistrate’s court or general sessions court of a first-time, minor offense, the record can be expunged three years after your conviction, so long as you have no other convictions during that time. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted in magistrate’s court or general sessions court of domestic violence in the third degree for the first time, the record can be expunged five years after your conviction. You are only eligible if you have no other convictions during that time. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted for the first time of a failure to stop a motor vehicle when signaled by a law-enforcement vehicle misdemeanor, the record can be expunged three years after you complete your sentence. You are only eligible if you have no other convictions during that time. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted for the first time as a youthful offender, the record can be expunged five years after you complete your sentence, so long as you have no other convictions during that time. 
  • If you were convicted of an offense because you were a victim of human trafficking, the conviction can be vacated and the record expunged immediately. You have to file a petition in court to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • Records relating to a first offense of minor drug possession can be expunged by the court three years after sentence completion if the person has no other conviction during the three years. 
  • Records relating to a first offense of drug possession with intent to distribute can be expunged by the court 20 years after sentence completion if the person has no other conviction during the 20 years. 

Adult criminal records for cases in which you completed a diversion or deferral program are eligible for destruction or expungement in some situations. You have to file a petition in court to start the process, and if you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 

  • If you successfully completed an alcohol education program and received a non-criminal disposition of your case, the record can be destroyed immediately. 
  • If you successfully completed a traffic education program and received a non-criminal disposition of your case, the record can be destroyed immediately. 
  • In a first-time drug case, if the charges are dismissed after you successfully complete conditional discharge probation, the record can be expunged immediately. 
  • If you successfully completed a pre-trial intervention program and received a non-criminal disposition of your case, the record can be destroyed immediately. 

If your case was discharged or dismissed, or you were acquitted, the record should be sealed immediately and destroyed after three years and 120 days. 

Likely not eligible for sealing, destruction, or expungement.

Adult Criminal Record Clearance Policies

    Records relating to a first offense of minor drug possession can be expunged by the court three years after sentence completion if the person has no other conviction during the three years. S.C. Code Ann. § 22-5-930.
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    Records relating to a first offense of drug possession with intent to distribute can be expunged by the court 20 years after sentence completion if the person has no other conviction during the 20 years. S.C. Code Ann. § 22-5-930.
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    Records relating to a first misdemeanor fraudulent check offense can be expunged by the court one year after the conviction, so long as the person has no other conviction during that time. S.C. Code Ann. § 34-11-90(e).
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    Records relating to a first domestic violence in the third degree offense, handled in magistrate's or general sessions court, may be expunged by the court five years after the conviction, if the person has no other conviction during that time. S.C. Code Ann. § 22-5-910(B).
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    Records relating to a first misdemeanor failure to stop a motor vehicle when signaled by a law enforcement vehicle may be expunged by the court three years after sentence completion, if the person has no other conviction during that time. S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-750(B).
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    Records relating to a first offense as a youthful offender can be expunged by the court five years after sentence completion, if the person has no other conviction during the five years. S.C. Code Ann. § 22-5-920.
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    Records relating to a minor offense handled in magistrate's or general sessions court (or multiple offenses if they arose from the same incident and the person was sentenced at the same proceeding) may be expunged by the court three years after conviction, provided the person has no other conviction during the three year period.S.C. Code Ann. § 22-5-910.
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    Records relating to a conviction that resulted from the petitioner being a victim of human trafficking can be vacated and expunged by the court. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-2020(F).
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    Records relating to an arrest for which the petitioner successfully completed an alcohol education program can be destroyed by the court. S.C. Code Ann. § 17-22-530.
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    Records related to an arrest for which the petitioner successfully completed a traffic education program can be destroyed by the court. S.C. Code Ann. § 17-22-330.
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    Records relating to a first controlled substance charge can be expunged by the court upon dismissal following the successful completion of probation pursuant to a conditional discharge. S.C. Code Ann. § 44-53-450.
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    Records relating to an arrest and charge can be destroyed by the court upon the successful completion of a pretrial intervention program. S.C. Code Ann. § 17-22-150.
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    Records relating to a criminal offense that was discharged, dismissed, or resulted in an acquittal, if expunged, are placed under seal immediately and destroyed after three years and 120 days. S.C. Code Ann. § 17-1-40.
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    Juvenile Record Clearance Overview

    Below is a general overview of when juvenile records can be expunged in South Carolina. Please note that the Clean Slate Clearinghouse does not provide legal advice. 

    Read the legal policies and statutes for detailed statutory information. 

    Juvenile Record Clearances Policies Overview 

    Some juvenile records can be expunged. 

     

     

    • Non-violent offenses can be expunged after you turn 17 and complete all the requirements of your probation or commitment, including payment of all fines and restitution. You have to submit an application to the Office of the Solicitor (prosecutor) to start the process. The solicitor will provide the paperwork to the court, but it is up to the judge whether or not to approve your application. 
    • If you were found not guilty, you can submit a request to the solicitor to expunge your record at any time, and the judge is required to grant your request. 

    You may not be eligible for expungement if you have certain convictions or adjudications on your record or have pending criminal or juvenile charges. 

    Find a Lawyer 

    If you think you might be eligible to have your record expunged, find a lawyer who may be able to help you. Some lawyers might help you for free, although you may still need to pay a fee to file the paperwork in court. 

    Court Forms and Resources 

    If you cannot find a lawyer to help you, you may be able to file a petition on your own using these court forms and resources. 

     

     

    Juvenile Record Clearance Policies

      Records relating to a delinquency matter where the person was found not guilty will be expunged, so long as the person is not subject to a disqualifying event. S.C. Code Ann. § 63-19-2050(C)(3).
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      Records relating to nonviolent charges can be expunged once the person turns 18, so long as the person is not subject to a disqualifying event. S.C. Code Ann. § 63-19-2050(C)(2), (3).
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      Find A Lawyer

      Legal service providers located in the state.

      Contact information for legal aid organizations, bar associations, and other organizations that engage in record clearance work is provided for informational purposes only. The NRRC does not endorse or recommend any organization or individual referenced on the site. If you are a legal service provider who offers record clearance services, please contact us.