IT IS ORDERED that all records relating to such arrest and subsequent discharge, including associated bench warrants, pursuant to the above referenced section be expunged and destroyed and that no evidence of such records pertaining to such charge shall be retained by any municipal, county or state agency except as follows: (1) arrest and booking record, associated bench warrants, mug shots, and fingerprints of the defendant shall be retained under seal pursuant to §17-1-40, by law enforcement, detention, correctional and prosecution agencies for three years and one hundred twenty days, and law enforcement and prosecution agencies may retain the information indefinitely under seal for purposes set forth in §17-1-40 (B)(1)(a) and (b); under §17-1-40 (C)(1), this order does not require the destruction of evidence gathered, unredacted incident and supplemental reports, and investigative files, which statutorily shall be retained under seal for three years and one hundred twenty days, and may be retained indefinitely under seal for purposes set forth in §17-1-40 (C)(1); and information retained under seal by law enforcement, detention, correctional and prosecution agencies pursuant to §17-1-40 is not a public information and is exempt from disclosure, except by court order; (2) nonpublic information retained on each person accepted for Pre-Trial Intervention pursuant to § 17-22-130; and (3) nonpublic information retained by SLED and S.C. Department of Public Safety/Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to §17-22-330(A) and §17-22-530(A), as well as any nonpublic records retained by S.C. Commission on Prosecution Coordination as required by law.

  • You cut that off in a weird place - in the middle of a statute number?
    – D M
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 15:18
  • not really. its regarding expungment in South Carolina. This is what is said on the expungement letter and I just want to know what it means? Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 15:19
  • Is this quoted from sccourts.org/forms/pdf/SCCA223A1.pdf if so the question could you edit the question to reflect that? Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 16:06
  • this is the right form: sccourts.org/forms/pdf/SCCA223B1.pdf Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 16:27
  • Sorry, this is way too broad as a question. Please at least indicate what you don't understand - and please format the text to be readable. Voting to close.
    – sleske
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 7:30

1 Answer 1


It says that in the particular criminal case, all court and law enforcement records are to be destroyed. There are some limitations, one being that law enforcement and prosecution agencies must retain records for 3 years plus 120 days. These records are "under seal", meaning they cannot be released to anyone other than law enforcement, prosecution, or attorneys representing law enforcement or prosecution, or unless a court orders them to be released. That is, they are not public records open to disclosure, and thus a future employer will not know about this. Warning: that may not be true of jobs requiring a federal security clearance, since the FBI does investigate such candidates. Very recently on 6/27/18, SC law was amended to add a provision, which will be effective in 6 months, that

Except for criminal justice agencies, employers shall not use expunged information adversely against an employee. No information related to an expungement shall be used or introduced as evidence in any administrative or legal proceeding involving negligent hiring, negligent retention, or similar claims.

Law enforcement and prosecution are also allowed to keep that information forever (still under seal), to be used in "ongoing or future investigations and prosecution of the offense, administrative hearings, and to defend the agency and the agency's employees during litigation proceedings" (the purposes mentioned in §17-1-40 (B)(1)(a) and (b)).

Detention and correctional facilities likewise must keep their relevant records (e.g. booking records) for 3 years and 120 days (under seal); at the end of that period, the records must be destroyed unless there is a lawsuit or investigation related to the incarceration. Finally, evidence must be retained for that same period, and may be retained forever. The tail end was cut off, so it's impossible to interpret.

The court order basically copies the statute, trimming the wall of text a bit, but still writing one incomprehensible sentence. Courts feel (not unreasonably so) that their job is to re-state the law, not make it intelligible to ordinary people, who are expected to hire an attorney.

  • 1
    I like this answer, but I'll also add that a good way to read the run-on sentence of the court order might be to put a line break after every colon and semicolon. This will help visually separate the different clauses, so you aren't staring at a wall of text.
    – D M
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 15:28
  • So in other words since the charge is expunged the detention facility where you were booked at destroys all fingerprints and mugshots related to the arrest? Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 15:28
  • 1
    @Rolloofthenorm Yes, but only after three years and one hundred twenty days, and even then they might keep it under seal for certain purposes.
    – D M
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 15:29
  • So that doesn't hinder you job chances doesn't it? Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 15:33
  • 1
    @Rolloofthenorm That is a complicated question of its own.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 17:43

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