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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 24449
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My some was convicted possession, in South

Customer Question

My some was convicted for drug possession, in South Carolina, 2005. He was given probation if he agreed to go into rehab, which he did. He has been sober ever since. He has not been in trouble, ever since. In fact he is now finishing up a PhD program in
experimental physics at a top 10 university. is it possible to have his drug conviction expunged? and if so, aside from hiring an attorney, what would be the process?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.
Was your son convicted under South Carolina's youthful offender law? If so, and at least 5 years has passed since the date of his conviction, he would be able to apply to the circuit for an expungement. Otherwise, South Carolina would not offer an expungement for his offense, unless his conviction was for a crime so minimal that the maximum possible sentence for it could have been no more than 30 days.
As he would appear to be ineligible for the expungement, his remedy would be to apply to the Governor of SC for a pardon. The SC Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services does the screening for the governor. You can get information and download the application form here.
http://www.dppps.sc.gov/Parole-Pardon-Hearings/Pardon-Application
A pardon wouldn't remove the conviction from his record but still would be official proof that the state's highest political official believes him to be fully rehabilitated.
Another possibility is a longshot which would require hiring a lawyer and trying to reopen his old case to get it dismissed in the interest of justice. A judge has the power to dismiss a case under principles of equity even when the law does not allow for it. They use these powers very sparingly and generally only to prevent an injustice. Here, considering what your son has gone on to accomplish for himself, a judge might find his situation compelling enough to grant the dismissal.
Your son would need to talk to a local criminal trial lawyer to see whether a petition of this sort is a viable possibility for him. The DA would weigh in on this, and they would be very likely to object. So this is not something he can do without a lawyer.