South Carolina criminal defense attorney explains process
If you are convicted of crimes in South Carolina, consequences can follow you long after your sentence is completed. A criminal record means you no longer have all of your rights as a citizen. You are not allowed to serve on a jury, hold most elected offices, or even keep a professional license that may be needed for employment. If you testify in court, your convictions will be brought up, and you likely can’t stop that from happening.
So, even if you have completed your punishment and turned your life around, it might seem like you can’t move forward. That’s where attorney Matt Bodman can help you. He has extensive experience in obtaining the solution – a pardon from the state.
A pardon won’t erase your criminal record, but it will allow you to have your rights restored. A pardon essentially takes away the legal consequences of a criminal conviction. It ends the penalty. That means you can get your life fully back on track.
Almost anyone can apply for a pardon, which is granted by a special board of appointed citizens. You must fill out an application and pay a $100 fee in order to get your case before the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole & Pardon Services (DPPPS).
The DPPPS will schedule a hearing in which you can present evidence about why you deserve a pardon. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney on your side to make sure you are making the best argument possible. The board will look at your convictions and question you about them. They will also review three reference letters that you must submit in advance. These letters must come from people who know you but who are not related to you.
Before you even get to a hearing, the DPPPS will investigate your paperwork to make sure it’s true and accurate. This process can take about three months. So, it’s very important to submit proper letters that clearly put you in the best light. For example, your paperwork should tell the DPPPS exactly why you want a pardon, such as trying to get a better job or attending school. You should also include examples of how you have improved your life.
Are you ready to gather all the paperwork needed for a pardon? At the hearing, can you answer questions from board members? Do you have persons who will testify on your behalf? You will have time to gather these things as you will likely have to wait seven to nine months to have your hearing scheduled after the initial investigation.
But it’s important to be prepared for your pardon hearing. And the sooner you start that process, the better. Attorney Bodman can evaluate your criminal case and discuss your available options. That way, you can make informed decisions about what to do next. Contact him today to learn more.