How Do You Get a Pardon in South Carolina?
If a person is convicted of a crime in South Carolina state court, then the pardon cannot come from the President. In many states, a pardon is granted by that state’s governor, though in South Carolina pardons are granted by the seven-member Board of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. To secure a pardon, two-thirds of the Board must agree to grant your petition.
Why should you seek a pardon?
When you have finished your sentence, including parole and/or probation, you may think that your punishment is finally over. The truth is that it is not: people who have been convicted of crimes can be haunted by their pasts for the rest of their lives. You will almost certainly face a loss of your rights, including:
- The right to possess a firearm
- The right to vote
- The right to seek and hold a professional license
- The right to receive government tuition aid
- The right to obtain educational scholarships
- The right to run for and hold public office
- The right to serve on a jury
A pardon ends the penalties you still face even after you have served your time and repaid your debt to society.
How do pardons work?
Pardons, like expungements, help people who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime restore their rights. Unlike an expungement, which erases the record of your arrest and conviction for certain crimes, a pardon leaves your record intact. However, the pardon itself also shows up on your record, which indicates to employers, loan officers, and other applicable parties that South Carolina considers you fully rehabilitated.
*Note: there may be times when an expunged record can be retained and used against you. We can explain why and when this is during your first consultation.
Should I hire a pardon attorney?
Legally, you don’t have to hire an attorney for anything. Realistically, however, you really should. Specifically, we think you should hire us. Attorney Hough is one of the most experienced pardon attorneys in South Carolina, and he has been successfully preparing and advising clients for almost 30 years.
Attorney Hough will be at the hearing as your lawyer, fighting for you as he has in State and Federal Courts throughout the state for decades. In preparation for that day, we will:
- Help you “clean up” your record. Often, clients come to us for help with a pardon for one specific charge, but have other charges on their records. We review your record to see which, if any, prior charges can be expunged. We also ensure that your record is accurate. For example, if you have outstanding warrants for fines that you have already paid, or charges that are not yours, we make sure that they are removed, and your record is updated correctly.
- Prepare you for your hearing with the Board of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. A. Randolph Hough will represent you in person as your advocate. He knows that the key to success is preparation. We know what kinds of questions the PPP Board will ask, and the answers they are looking for. We know the issues that are important to them, and how to present your case in the best possible light. We help you show how much you have grown by taking responsibility for your past mistakes, and providing evidence that you have been a model, productive member of society.
- Use his expertise. We have specialized knowledge and years of experience in successfully obtaining pardons. We understand how pardon laws are related to state and federal firearms rights law, expungement, professional licensing and other areas of the law. We can help you navigate these issues and make strategic decisions regarding regaining your rights. Without the assistance of an attorney experienced in these areas, you could easily make a costly mistake that keeps you from regaining your rights.
Who can apply for a pardon in South Carolina?
Anyone can petition for a pardon provided they fulfill one of these requirements:
- You are a probationer who has been discharged from supervision.
- You are a parolee who has completed 5 years under supervision (unless the maximum parole period is under five years, in which case you must complete the entire parole period).
- You have been discharged from your sentence
- You are an inmate with a terminal illness whose life expectancy is less than one year.
If you had fines or fees associated with your conviction, those must be paid in full, as well. Pardons can be granted for any crime, which is one of the things that make them so appealing.
At The Law offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A., we prepare our clients to become their own advocates. We are selective in the pardon cases we take, which allows us to devote more time and resources to our clients. This is why we have been so successful with obtaining pardons for our clients, including those whose previous petitions have been denied. While our past successes are not a guarantee of future results, we are confident in our abilities, and believe that our record of success speaks for itself.
We want you to choose The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough to help you, because the way we practice law is informed by the pardon process; it’s the part of our job that we find the most fulfilling. We love fighting for people who have turned their lives around and succeeded despite the burden of a conviction on their record. We have been very successful in obtaining pardons on behalf of clients and believe our knowledge and experience will benefit you, too.
At The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A., we put our decades of experience and respected reputation in the local legal community to work on your behalf. If you wish to petition for a pardon or for expungement, we want to help. To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Columbia or Charleston, please call 803-771-4119 or fill out our contact form.
Former prosecutor A. Randolph “Randy” Hough has a strong background in criminal law. Before entering private practice, he served as a prosecutor for the Fifth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina, handling numerous crimes ranging from drug trafficking to white-collar crimes to murder. A strong trial lawyer, A. Randolph Hough excels at building rapport with juries, and has extensive training and experience in DUI defense. Over the course of his career, he has handled thousands of cases — including both drug- and alcohol-related charges. Learn more about A. Randolph Hough.