What is DUI expungement, and is it possible in South Carolina?
DUI expungement is the process of having a DUI (driving under the influence) charge removed from a person’s criminal record. Generally, this requires a person to petition the court and demonstrate that they have successfully completed all the requirements of their sentence and have since been a productive member of society. In South Carolina, DUI expungement is possible, but is more difficult than in some other states. A person must meet several requirements to be eligible for expungement, including waiting at least five years after completing their sentence, having no other criminal convictions, and demonstrating that they have been a responsible citizen.
What are the eligibility criteria for DUI expungement in South Carolina?
In order to be eligible for DUI expungement in South Carolina, the following criteria must be met:
1. The charge must have been either dismissed or resulted in a “not guilty” verdict.
2. The charge was not for a felony DUI or a DUI with serious bodily injury.
3. No other similar charges have been made against the individual within the past five years.
4. There are no other pending charges against the individual.
5. The individual has not had any other criminal convictions in South Carolina within the past five years.
6. The individual has completed all court-imposed conditions, including any probationary period and/or payment of fines and restitution.
7. The individual has not been convicted of any other offense in another state or federal court for the same offense within the past five years.
Is there a waiting period before someone can apply for DUI expungement in South Carolina?
Yes, there is a waiting period before someone can apply for DUI expungement in South Carolina. The waiting period is five years from the end of the sentence imposed for the DUI conviction.
What types of DUI convictions may be eligible for expungement in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, certain convictions for DUI may be eligible for expungement. This includes first offense DUI convictions where the offender was sentenced to probation or suspension of sentence, or DUI convictions where the offender successfully completed an alcohol and drug safety action program. Additionally, a DUI conviction may be expunged if the charges were dropped, dismissed, nolle prossed, or if the offender was found not guilty.
Are there specific conditions or rehabilitation programs required for expungement eligibility in South Carolina?
Yes, South Carolina requires that certain conditions be met in order for an individual to be eligible for expungement. Individuals must complete any applicable rehabilitation programs and/or community service requirements as set out by the court before being eligible for expungement. Additionally, the person seeking expungement must not have any pending criminal charges or arrests or any new convictions or arrests during the period of time since the conviction or arrest that is being sought for expungement.
How does someone initiate the DUI expungement process in South Carolina?
1. Obtain and complete the expungement petition form, available from the South Carolina Judicial Department’s website.
2. Gather required documents, such as the South Carolina DUI arrest record and court disposition documents.
3. File the petition form and required documents with the South Carolina Circuit Court in the county where the DUI occurred.
4. Attend the hearing scheduled by the court to present your case for expungement.
5. Once the judge grants your petition, file the order for expungement with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
6. Wait for SLED to process your order and issue a Certificate of Expungement once completed.
What documentation or evidence is needed when applying for expungement in South Carolina?
When applying for expungement in South Carolina, individuals must submit evidence in support of their application, including the following:
-A copy of the individual’s criminal record
-A statement addressing the individual’s qualifications for expungement under South Carolina law.
-A certified copy of the court order or judgment for the charge(s) sought to be expunged.
-The affidavit of the individual seeking expungement and/or anyone who may have knowledge of the facts of the arrest and/or conviction.
-Any documentation or evidence that may otherwise support the individual’s case, including letters of recommendation, character affidavits, etc.
-Any other documentation that may be pertinent to the request for expungement.
Are there fees associated with filing for DUI expungement in South Carolina?
Yes. In South Carolina, there is a $150 filing fee for DUI expungement.
Can individuals with multiple DUI convictions apply for expungement in South Carolina?
No, individuals with multiple DUI convictions are not eligible to apply for expungement in South Carolina. According to South Carolina law, expungement is only available for individuals who have been convicted of an offense once and have not been convicted of any other offense.
Does expungement result in the complete removal of the DUI record, or is it sealed in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, expungement will result in the complete removal of the DUI record.
How do employers, landlords, and background check companies view expunged DUI records in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, employers, landlords, and background check companies will not be able to view expunged DUI records. Upon the completion of the expungement process, the records are sealed and removed from the public record and will not be accessible to any third party.
Is there a difference between expungement and setting aside a DUI conviction in South Carolina?
Yes, there is a difference between expungement and setting aside a DUI conviction in South Carolina. Expungement is the process of completely destroying a criminal record, whereas setting aside a conviction means that the conviction still remains on the person’s record but is no longer considered a conviction for certain purposes.
Can expunged DUI records be used against an individual in future DUI cases in South Carolina?
No, expunged DUI records are not eligible for use in a future DUI case in South Carolina. When a DUI record is expunged, it is sealed and can no longer be used in any criminal cases.
Do expunged DUI records affect professional licensing or certifications in South Carolina?
Yes. Depending on the type of professional licensing or certification, expunged DUI records may be taken into account when deciding whether to grant or deny the certification or license. For example, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will deny a commercial driver’s license to anyone who has been convicted of a DUI within the past three years, even if the conviction has been expunged.
Are there any restrictions on firearm ownership after DUI expungement in South Carolina?
No, there are not any restrictions on firearm ownership after DUI expungement in South Carolina.
Is there a waiting period for expungement to take effect after approval in South Carolina?
Yes, there is a waiting period for expungement to take effect after approval in South Carolina. After the expungement has been approved by the court, there is a 30-day waiting period before the order becomes effective. After that 30-day period, the records of the arrest and conviction are sealed and may not be released without a court order.
What role does the court or prosecutor play in the DUI expungement process in South Carolina?
The court and prosecutor play a vital role in the DUI expungement process in South Carolina. Before a DUI can be expunged, the petitioner must first file a petition with the court where the DUI conviction occurred, outlining why they believe their DUI should be expunged. The court will then consider the petition and the prosecutor’s recommendation. If the court is satisfied that the criteria for expungement have been met, they will grant the petition and issue an order removing the DUI from official records.
Are there resources or organizations that provide guidance on DUI expungement in South Carolina?
Yes, there are a number of resources and organizations that provide guidance on DUI expungement in South Carolina. The South Carolina Bar offers information on expungements on its website. The South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services also provides information and resources on expungement eligibility and the process. The National College for DUI Defense offers online resources on DUI expungement in South Carolina. The South Carolina State Law Library provides online resources for researching DUI expungement laws in the state. Additionally, the South Carolina Chief Public Defender Office provides information on obtaining an expungement from a criminal record.
What is the timeline for completing the DUI expungement process in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, the DUI expungement process can take anywhere from 6-12 months. The actual length of time can depend on the specific court’s docket and if any issues arise during the process. The first step in the process is to file an expungement petition with the court. After that, the court will review the petition and may require a hearing before granting or denying the request. After the court makes its decision, they will issue a written order to seal the record. Once that is done, copies of the order must be delivered to all government agencies and entities that have a copy of the DUI record.
How does DUI expungement impact immigration status, if applicable in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, a DUI conviction can have a direct impact on a person’s immigration status. Depending on the severity of the charge, a DUI conviction may be considered an “aggravated felony” which could lead to deportation. Additionally, a DUI conviction may be considered to be a “crime of moral turpitude” which could also lead to deportation. While expungement of the DUI conviction may help in some cases, it is important to note that the US immigration authorities may still consider the conviction as evidence that the person is not of good moral character. In such cases, an immigration attorney should be consulted to discuss the possible implications of a DUI conviction on a person’s immigration status.