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How Long Does Domestic Violence Stay on Your Record in South Carolina?

When you have been convicted of a domestic violence offense, it will stay on your record indefinitely, unless you apply for expungement and satisfy the requirements of South Carolina Code § 22-5-910(B), (C), and (F). Although you can apply on your own, you have a better chance of having your domestic violence conviction expunged if you secure a skilled criminal defense attorney who could apply on your behalf.

Christopher L. Jones, Attorney at Law, offers clients a wealth of experience. He understands South Carolina criminal law not only as a defense lawyer, but also as a former municipal judge and prosecutor. When you are looking to expunge a domestic violence conviction, Christopher L. Jones could analyze the issue from all sides and help you determine your eligibility.

Section 22-5-910(B): Expungement Only Available for Third-Degree Domestic Violence Convictions

South Carolina law reserves expungement of domestic violence records exclusively for convictions of third-degree misdemeanor domestic violence. If you have been convicted of a more serious offense under the statute relevant to domestic violence crimes, you cannot apply for expungement. The record will remain permanent.

But, if your past conviction is for misdemeanor domestic violence in the third degree, you, or your lawyer acting on your behalf, is permitted to apply for expungement to the appropriate circuit court. However, you cannot apply until five years have passed since the date of your conviction.

Section 22-5-910(C): No Convictions During Five-Year Waiting Period

Assuming you are otherwise eligible to apply for expungement, you must maintain a clean record during the mandated five-year waiting period. This includes South Carolina and out-of-state convictions.

If you do not have any other convictions during those five years since your conviction for third-degree misdemeanor domestic violence, the circuit court may grant you an order expunging (i.e., destroying) records of your arrest, conviction, and bench warrants associated with the matter.

Section 22-5-910(F): No Criminal Charges Pending for Less Than Five Years

Your domestic violence record will not be expunged if there are any criminal charges pending against you that have been pending for less than five years at the time you apply for expungement. The pending charges need not be related to domestic violence: “criminal charges of any kind” will bar you from receiving an order of expungement.

Note, that if a bench warrant has been issued against you for a failure to appear before a court during the five-year interval, the interval is “tolled,” meaning it is stalled during the period when such bench warrant is active.

Section 22-5-910(F) further explains that you are allowed to have your records expunged only once under that provision. This section does apply retroactively, authorizing expungements for convictions occurring prior to “the effective date of” § 22-5-910(F).

A Skilled Lawyer Could Offer Guidance on the Expungement Process for Domestic Violence Convictions

Expungement of your domestic violence conviction under South Carolina law can be a daunting procedure. Christopher L. Jones is an accessible, experienced lawyer who could walk you through the expungement process and advise you on other methods of handling post-conviction barriers.

Reach out to Christopher L. Jones, Attorney at Law, today to set up an initial consultation and understand how long domestic violence stays on your record. He could help you with your options.