The crimes of a sex offender are malicious, and many victims deserve to know that their abusers are paying for the consequences of their actions as justly allowed by the rules of the land. While sex offenders can get a pardon in South Carolina, they may not be able to remove their names from the state’s sex offender registry.
2008 amendments to the South Carolina sex offender registry laws stipulated that unless a pardon is given based on a finding of innocence, with the pardon specifically stating that the individual is not guilty of the crime he or she was convicted of, then their name cannot be removed from the state’s sex offender list.
That said, in 2022, the governor signed Act 221, former House Bill 4075, into law. This Act affords all sex offenders in South Carolina a mechanism to seek removal from South Carolina’s lifetime sex offender registry.
If you’re wondering what to do if you’re wrongfully accused of sex abuse and would like to seek help to remove your name from the South Carolina sex offender list, it’s best to get in touch with a South Carolina sexual abuse lawyer from Strom Law.
Offenses That Require Sex Offender Registry in South Carolina
The offenses that could land a person on South Carolina’s sex offender registry range from a peeping tom offense to grave crimes. These include:
- Criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, or third-degree
- Criminal sexual conduct with minors in the first, second, or third-degree
- Engaging a child in sexual performance
- Producing, directing, or promoting sexual performance by a child
- Assault with the intent to commit criminal sexual conduct
- Peeping, voyeurism, or aggravated voyeurism
- Indecent exposure (if the court makes a specific finding that the person should register as a sex offender)
- Kidnapping of a person eighteen years of age or older (except when the court finds that the offense didn’t include a criminal sexual offense or an attempt thereof)
- Kidnapping of a minor (except when the offense is committed by a parent)
- Trafficking in persons
- Criminal sexual conduct when the victim is a spouse
- Sexual battery of a spouse
- Sexual intercourse with a patient or trainee
- Criminal solicitation of a minor under some circumstances
- Giving someone gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) with the intent to commit certain crimes
Pardons for Sex Offenders in South Carolina
After amendments to South Carolina sex offender registry laws in 2008, the state mandated that people who are on the local sex offender registry must remain there for life, regardless of the circumstances of the crime or any prediction of future behavior.
The only way that a sex offender could remove their name from the list is by having their conviction reversed, overturned, or vacated on appeal by an appellate court. This is different from an expungement (i.e. removing the criminal conviction from the person’s record), which would still keep their name in the registry. To completely lift their name off the list, they must prove that they shouldn’t have ever been convicted in the first place.
Getting Off the Sex Offender Registry in South Carolina
On May 23rd, 2022, Governor Henry D. McMaster signed into law Act 221 (former House Bill 4075). This gave all sex offenders in South Carolina a way to get their names removed from the state’s lifetime sex offender registry.
Getting off the sex offender list is based on state tiers. Those convicted may file a request for termination of their registration according to the amount of time they were on the list:
- Adult Tier I Offenders: After having been registered for at least fifteen years
- Adult Tier II Offenders: After having been registered for at least twenty-five years
- Adult Tier III Offenders: After thirty years from the date of discharge from incarceration without supervision, or the termination of active supervision of probation, parole, or any other active alternative to incarceration.
Contact a South Carolina Sexual Abuse Lawyer from Strom Law to Learn More
Sex offenders may get a pardon in South Carolina, which could effectively reinstate some rights they’ve lost after conviction–but a pardon doesn’t automatically clear the sex offender’s name from the state’s lifetime sex offender registry. To learn more about pardons, expungements, and related and related processes for sex offenders in South Carolina, get in touch with an expert sexual abuse lawyer from Strom Law.