2019 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 22 - Magistrates and Constables
Chapter 5 - Magistrates' Powers And Duties In Criminal Matters
Section 22-5-930. Expungement; first offense drug convictions.

Universal Citation: SC Code § 22-5-930 (2019)

(A) Following a first offense conviction for either simple possession of a controlled substance under Article 3, Chapter 53, Title 44 or unlawful possession of a prescription drug under Section 40-43-86(EE), including those charges for which the person would now be eligible for a conditional discharge pursuant to Section 44-53-450, the defendant after three years from the date of the completion of the sentence, including probation and parole, for this conviction, and including a conviction in magistrates or general sessions court, may apply, or cause someone acting on his behalf to apply, to the circuit court for an order expunging the records of the arrest and conviction and any associated bench warrant.

(B) Following a first offense conviction for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance under Article 3, Chapter 53, Title 44, the defendant after twenty years from the date of the completion of any sentence, including probation and parole, for a drug conviction or any felony conviction may apply, or cause someone acting on his behalf to apply, to the circuit court for an order expunging the records of the arrest and conviction and any associated bench warrant.

(C) If the defendant had no other convictions, to include out-of-state convictions, during the three-year period as provided in subsection (A) or no other drug conviction or felony conviction during the twenty-year period as provided in subsection (B), the circuit court may issue an order expunging the records including any associated bench warrant.

(D) No person may have the person's record expunged under this section if the person has pending criminal charges of any kind unless the charges have been pending for more than five years; however, this five-year time period is tolled for any time the defendant has been under a bench warrant for failure to appear. No person may have the person's records expunged under this section more than once. No person may have the person's records expunged pursuant to this section if the person has had a conditional discharge within the five years prior to the date of arrest for the charge sought to be expunged if the charge sought to be expunged is simple possession of marijuana, or within the ten years prior to the date of arrest for the charge sought to be expunged if the charge sought to be expunged is for the simple possession of any other controlled substance or the unlawful possession of a prescription drug under Section 40-43-86(EE). A person may have the person's record expunged even though the conviction occurred before the effective date of this section; however, the expungement will not affect a subsequent enhanced conviction or sentence that occurred before the effective date of this section.

(E) After the expungement, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is required to keep a nonpublic record of the offense and the date of expungement to ensure that no person takes advantage of the rights of this section more than once. This nonpublic record is not subject to release pursuant to Section 34-11-95, the Freedom of Information Act, or any other provision of law except to those authorized law or court officials who need to know this information in order to prevent the rights afforded by this section from being taken advantage of more than once.

(F) As used in this section, "conviction" includes a guilty plea, a nolo contendere, or the forfeiting of bail. For the purpose of this section, any number of offenses for which the individual received sentences at a single sentencing proceeding for offenses that are closely connected and arose out of the same incident may be considered as one offense and treated as one conviction for expungement purposes.

HISTORY: 2018 Act No. 254 (H.3209), Section 4, eff December 27, 2018.

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