Most everyone would understand that getting arrested or convicted for a crime won't be helpful for their job prospects, but exactly how bad is a South Carolina CDV conviction going to hurt you? Unfortunately for many people arrested South Carolina's laws are among the least friendly for employees dealing with criminal charges.
South Carolina is one of the few states that have a public arrest record. As soon as you are arrested and taken to the bond court there is a public record that is accessible to anyone over the Internet for free. Go to this link select your county and then summary court. Then search by name or date of arrest.
This public arrest record means that within a few days of your arrest employers who run background checks on you will learn of your pending charge, before you have ever even been to Court or been found guilty of anything.
We also are an at-will employment state. This means that nearly any employee in South Carolina can be fired by their job without advance warning and for any reason. Unless you are one of the very small percentage of employees in South Carolina protected by an actual employment contract, you can be immediately terminated just for being arrested for CDV.
Being arrested is not the same thing as being convicted. If you can avoid the conviction then the record of your arrest will automatically be expunged (or deleted) from the public record. You become convicted only if you plead guilty or no contest, or if you are found guilty after a trial. The main goal of hiring a defense attorney is to help people avoid this conviction.
If you are convicted then not only can your present or future potential employers learn about your arrest, they will also understand that you either admitted to the allegations or were found guilty after a trial. This can again result in you losing your present employment, or being denied future employment by not begin able to pass the background screening.
What makes a CDV worse than other conviction?
- If this is your first criminal conviction you can't expunge it off of your record in three years like you could other offenses such as shoplifting, marijuana possession or malicious injury to property
- The general public doesn't understand that an arrest can be based on almost no evidence, and that you can be convicted by the Court even in cases where no actual or attempted injury occurred. The public is conditioned to believe that CDV is serious violence against women, when in fact it also encompasses routine situations that have been blown up out of proportion by law enforcement.
So what hope is there?
There are strategies that someone arrested for CDV can do to improve their job prospects. The most important is to take steps to minimize the chance of being convicted, and to try to become eligible for the Court's expungement process as quickly as possible.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for domestic violence or any other South Carolina criminal offense you are invited to consult with the defense attorneys at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. We offer free consultations in our office located at 316 South Lake Drive, Lexington, South Carolina 29072. To schedule your consultation please call us today at 1-888-301-6004 or (803) 359-3301.