March 14, 2015

South Carolina Senator Paul Thurmond Introduces Bill to Clear up Expungement Difficulties

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South Carolina Senator Paul Thurmond Introduces Bill to Clear up Expungement Difficultiescategories: DUI

South Carolina State Senator Paul Thurmond introduced a bill in the State Senate on January 13, 2015, to clean up confusion regarding the right of a South Carolina driver to have a DUI/drunk driving arrest expunged from their criminal history information. “S.255” makes it clear that any South Carolina driver acquitted of DUI/drunk driving (by negotiated agreement or judicial dismissal) is eligible for the initial charge to be expunged (erased) from all criminal record keeping entities.Read More

It has always been the case in South Carolina that any criminal charge for which a person is acquitted, or the charge is dismissed, etcetera was eligible to have the charge expunged from their record. Unfortunately, a Scribner’s error in the latest version of South Carolina Code Section 17-1-40 (E)(1) has resulted in South Carolina driver’s not being able to expunge the original DUI/drunk driving charge. The latest version of South Carolina Code Section 17-1-40 became effective on January 9, 2014. This mistake was not intended to happen – and Senator Thurmond is leading the charge to rectify it.

Additionally, Senator Thurmond’s bill (see below for link to the bill itself) would also require any and all websites that contain arrest and booking records – or mug shots – of South Carolina citizens acquitted of any criminal charges to expunge these records upon a proper request. If passed into law, Senator Thurmond’s bill would be a substantial improvement over South Carolina’s current expungement statute (see link below). Even assuming the current mistake is corrected allowing for the expungement of DUI/drunk driving arrests, the current statute does not reach or apply to private websites which in 2015 are in existence and do publish arrest and booking records of South Carolina citizens. This would be a vast improvement over the current law and allow South Carolina drivers accused of DUI/drunk driving to have all information connected with that arrest expunged from both public and private sources – assuming an acquittal occurs.

Let’s hope Senator Thurmond’s bill becomes the law in South Carolina soon. It would remedy the Scribner’s error described above and allow the resumption of expungements on DUI/drunk driving charges – and, stretch out to encompass private entities who publish this information as well.

Greenville, South Carolina DUI Attorney Steve Sumner primarily handles misdemeanor and felony DUI/drunk driving cases. Steve is a former DUI prosecutor and has been in private practice since 1994. Steve has been recognized as a South Carolina Super Lawyer® in the field of DUI defense since 2013. He is a member of the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers™ for criminal defense. He is a member of the National College for DUI Defense and has held a judicially endorsed AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and a “Superb” (10.0 out 10.0) ranking with Avvo since 2011.

SC Code Section 17-1-40



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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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