Columbia Expungement and Pardons Attorneys
Assistance with clearing your criminal record in Columbia, South Carolina
No individuals want the stigma of being marked as a criminal for the rest of their lives, especially after they’ve done their time and served the terms of their sentence. Unfortunately, that’s the future you may be facing if you have a criminal record. Whether you have a criminal conviction or were arrested and the charges were dropped, you may still have a public record accessible by a wide variety of people.
This criminal record can cause you to lose many of your basic rights, like the right to own a firearm or have a concealed weapon permit, and even the right to earn professional licenses and certifications. At the Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A., we love helping clients seek pardons. We love hearing your stories and sharing those stories with the pardon board. We are passionate about helping people seek a clean slate, and starting down the path to your new life.
Did You Know? Pardons and expungements are not the same – keep reading to find out why.
The difference between pardons and expungements in SC
Although they seem similar, pardons aren’t quite the same as expungements. Expungements completely erase a criminal history. When a government agency or authorities receive an expungement order, they’re mandated to destroy all records of your arrest, prosecution, and everything else related to your case. (There are a very few exceptions where some agencies can retain the records for a limited time, solely for use in litigation.)
Pardons, on the other hand, don’t erase your criminal history. Your arrest and/or conviction will still show up on a background check – however, the pardon will show up as well. One of the benefits of receiving a pardon is that it shows potential employers (and anyone else who runs a background check) that the State considers you rehabilitated. Pardons will also restore any civil rights loss through criminal conviction.
Another very important difference between a pardon and an expungement is that a pardon could be issued for ANY crime. Expungements are more limited; not all crimes can be expunged.
Did You Know?
Pardons and expungements are not the same –
keep reading to find out why.
Why would I want to file for a pardon?
The aftermath of a criminal conviction can negatively affect you for the rest of your life. However, if an expungement is impossible, a pardon can put an end to the collateral consequences of your conviction. This includes regaining your constitutional rights, including the right to:
- Have a concealed weapon permit (CWP)
- Hold an occupational/professional license
- Hold office as a public servant
- Own a firearm
- Serve as a juror
According to the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, nearly 70% of people who applied for a pardon in 2017 were successful. Out of 692 who applied that year, 481 received a pardon. Attorney Hough works to help you become one of those successful individuals, winning back the rights you’ve earned through your hard work and rehabilitation.
Why would I want to file for expungement?
Expunging your criminal record is like giving yourself a second chance at having a clean criminal record. As you may already know, arrests and convictions can have negative consequences that may follow you around for the rest of your life – affecting your job, reputation, relationships, and interests. A criminal record shows up on any employer’s or loan officer’s background check, meaning you’ll likely lose out on the things you need.
If you don’t qualify for expungement, you may look into a pardon.
The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. also aggressively defends clients against other criminal charges, including assault, arson, kidnapping, and charges against college students. We also handle drunk driving defense.
How do I know if the charges have been removed from my record?
After a successful expungement action, you’ll receive a copy of the Expungement Order letting you know that the court has notified all agencies to destroy their records regarding your arrest and conviction. These agencies are all responsible for destroying their own records – so never assume your charges have been removed until you see for yourself. To verify your arrest, charges, and conviction have been removed, you can obtain your own criminal background check from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency.
Talk to our Columbia and Charleston pardons lawyer
At The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. in Columbia, we routinely help people through the process of pursuing a pardon. Our attorney helps clients prepare a strong initial application, and he personally appears before the Pardon Board to advocate for those who have earned their right to a Pardon. Randy's decades of experience and respected reputation in the local legal community can work to your advantage. 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.