Expungement, Pardons, Fees & Restitution

We are not attorneys. We can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. We only prepare paperwork. Also, please be advised that an individual does not have to have a lawyer to request an expungement but can represent himself or herself pro se. Our goal is to provide the help you need to help yourself.


The expungement process may be an important tool for a person to obtain a job since a criminal record may prevent an employer from wanting to hire an otherwise qualified applicant. When an order for expungement is granted, the arrest, conviction or dismissal, disposition, and any related proceedings are considered not to have occurred. You need a copy of your warrant number, arrest date, and case disposition to start the process.

If the court expunges your record, that means your record will — for most purposes — be treated as though it never existed. One of the greatest benefits of this is that if you are asked whether you have a criminal history, you can legally say no. (Assuming, of course, that you didn’t get into trouble afterward.) If a prospective employer, college, government agency, or other agency or individual checks your background, your court history will not usually show up. Having your record expunged can be a great advantage when you later apply for a job, professional license, or in any other situation where having a criminal history might negatively affect you.


In the State of South Carolina, all pardons are granted by a seven-member board, not the Governor. Pursuant to the State Constitution, the Governor may only grant a reprieve and commute a sentence of death to a sentence of life imprisonment. All other pardons are granted by the Board of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.

Pardon means that an individual is fully forgiven from all the legal consequences of his or her crime and conviction – direct and collateral – including the punishment, whether imprisonment, fine, or whatever penalty is provided for by law.

Applicants must list the name, address, and home and work telephone numbers of those submitting letters of support for the pardon. Each letter must also be signed, recently dated (within the last 6 months), and attached to the application.

Application forms must be filled out completely, signed, and dated by the applicant. The Release of Information section of the application must also be completed and notarized.

Fees and Restitution

Under the South Carolina Code of Laws 17-25-322, an offender may not be granted pardon until all restitution is paid in full. This includes any restitution that has been converted to a civil judgment. It is the applicant’s responsibility to attach to the application a certified statement from the appropriate authority reflecting that these payments have been made. If there are any fees and/or fines, other than restitution, that have not been paid, the Board will be made aware when reviewing your case.

Inmates may be considered any time prior to becoming parole-eligible upon proof of the most extraordinary circumstances. The Board will decide, based upon the submission of proof of extraordinary circumstances, whether the evidence demonstrates such circumstances. All restitution must still be paid in full.

For inmates with terminal illness – These inmates may be considered any time after they are afflicted with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of one year or less. The Board will decide, based upon the submissions and finding, if the evidence demonstrates a condition that meets this criteria. Two separate doctor’s statements documenting life expectancy must be attached to the application. All restitution must be paid in full.

In all of the above cases, the Board’s decision shall be the final determination of pardon eligibility.

Civil Rights Restored Upon Pardon

A pardon shall fully restore all civil rights lost as a result of a conviction. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

The right to register to vote.
The right to serve on a jury.
The right to hold public office, except as provided for in Section 16-13-210 of state law

The right to testify without having the fact of the conviction introduced for impeachment purposes, except to the extent provided for under rule 609 of the South Carolina Rules of Evidence.

It should be noted that an individual regains the rights to register to vote and to vote when the entire sentence has been satisfied. Also, State Statute 7-5-120 (4) (b) reads: “Persons convicted of a felony or offenses against the election laws are disqualified from being registered or voting unless such disqualifications have been removed by service of the sentence, including probation and parole time unless sooner pardoned.”


(1 )The general information provided is not legal advice, cannot be cited as legal authority, and cannot replace the advice of an attorney licensed in South Carolina. The information provided is accurate as of the date of publication. If you decide to bring a lawsuit in a South Carolina court without an attorney, you are responsible for researching the law on your own. Please note that the presiding judge in each case decides what law applies in that case.

(2) The Pate House is not a Law Firm. The employees of The Pate House are not attorneys. The information listed on this website is not intended to be construed as legal advice. We only prepare paperwork. We do not perform the legal services that an attorney performs, nor can we counsel, advise or provide any client, person, or entity with legal advice and/or the unauthorized practice of law.

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