Columbia Expungement Lawyer

Having a criminal arrest or conviction on your record can feel like an insurmountable obstacle in various areas of your life, including apartment applications and job interviews. An expungement lawyer in Columbia, SC, can help you return to a clean slate and regain normalcy in your life.

Shealey Law Firm’s Columbia criminal defense lawyers leverage their experience to work toward the best possible outcome for you. Contact us today and learn more about the expungement process as well as the support we can provide every step of the way.

How Can an Expungement Lawyer Help You?

Expungement refers to the complete erasure of criminal history from your record. When an expungement order goes through, the relevant government agencies must destroy all records about the arrest or conviction of the expunged crime, including mugshots, booking records and all other related files. There is no downside to expunging your record, so it is a good idea to reach out to an expungement lawyer who can help you understand if wiping your criminal record is an option.

The expungement process is complex, but having a lawyer on your side can ensure that much of the burden is off your shoulders. There are requirements and qualifications you must meet, court costs to consider and application procedures that may confuse those unfamiliar with the intricacies of criminal law. We can explain your qualifications, guide you through the process on a step-by-step basis and present your application to the Solicitor’s Office on your behalf.

What Criminal Offenses Can Be Expunged in South Carolina?

South Carolina expungement laws allow for the expunging of a wide variety of criminal convictions. These laws exist to ensure that you can reclaim your rights and enjoy a standard quality of life after serving your sentence. Keep in mind, however, that expungement does not occur automatically even if the offense is able to be expunged and you meet the qualifications.

The criminal offenses which you can seal with help from an expungement lawyer in South Carolina include:

  • First-offense fraudulent check misdemeanor
  • First-offense drug convictions with a conditional discharge
  • First-offense simple possession of a controlled substance or possession with intent to distribute
  • Misdemeanors with penalties of up to 30 days or a $1,000 fine
  • Dismissed, not prosecuted, no-billed or not guilty verdicts

A criminal accusation, criminal charge or law enforcement arrest will also appear on your record alongside any convictions. These non-conviction items may also be eligible for expungement.

Not all criminal offenses are eligible for expungement, though. Felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions exceeding a certain monetary value, for example, will permanently remain on your record regardless of any expungement application.

What Is the Expungement Process Like?

Initiating the expungement process begins with locating the Solicitor’s Office in South Carolina with jurisdiction over your offense. Your expungement lawyer can guide you to the correct solicitor and will remain an important ally throughout the entire process going forward.

When filing the actual application, there are certain items you must include. These are the application form itself, the certified disposition with relevant documentation and any required fees. The Solicitor’s Office will verify the application and send it to a circuit court judge who will make a final decision regarding the expungement.

Expungement is never a guarantee, even after submitting your application, but our expungement lawyers can give you the best possible chance at a favorable outcome by compiling the necessary documents and gathering your criminal records before completing and submitting your application on your behalf.

What Is the Difference Between Pardons and Expungement?

An expungement implies the complete erasure and destruction of your criminal records. Not only must government agents remove all evidence of your criminal history from their records, but those records will also cease to appear on any background checks that law enforcement, potential employers or landlords conduct.

Pardons, on the other hand, do not erase your criminal history. A pardoned arrest or conviction will remain on your record and visible to those who conduct a background check. However, the pardon will also be on your record as state-approved proof of your rehabilitation and as an indication of your restored civil rights.

Expungement is preferable over a pardon as it seals your criminal record and allows you to start over with a clean slate as a citizen with no criminal history. However, it is not possible to expunge certain convictions, whereas any crime has the potential for a pardon.

It is worth remembering, though, that the pardon process can vary greatly depending on the nature of the crime and your qualifications for eligibility. Your expungement lawyer can inform you about when pardoning is an option worth pursuing if you cannot receive expungement for your criminal record.

How Do You Check if Your Conviction Is Expunged?

It is understandable that you would want to see with your own eyes that your expungement was successful following the submission of your application. Furthermore, you may wish to confirm the status of your criminal history before undergoing any process that may require a background check, such as a job or housing application. Our expungement lawyers can help you access the resources at your disposal for checking on the expungement of your conviction.

If a judge rules in favor of your expungement application, you will receive a copy of the expungement order stating that all relevant agencies received instructions to destroy any records about the expunged crime. These agencies are independently responsible for destroying their own records, though, so it may be wise to verify the status of your record for yourself. You can request a copy of your own criminal background check at any time from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency.

Our Expungement Lawyers in Columbia Can Help You

At Shealey Law Firm, we fiercely advocate for clients who wish to reclaim their civil rights and their everyday lives through the expungement of their criminal records. Expungement is a complicated process but one that can give you renewed access to the opportunities and recognition that you deserve. Contact us online or by calling 803-590-3917 today to learn more about what our team can do for you.


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