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Understanding Expungement and Pardons in South Dakota

It is important to understand the difference between an expungement and a pardon.

South Dakota has legal processes that allow an individual charged with a crime or convicted of a crime to have that charge or conviction removed from their criminal history.  It is important to understand whether your situation requires an expungement or a pardon. The process of requesting either are very different and failure to correctly follow the right process can be time consuming and expensive. 

In South Dakota, an expungement is the legal process by which an arrest can be removed from an individual’s criminal record. There are only specific situations when an arrest can be removed from one’s record, which the attorneys in our office are familiar with and have experience handling.

 Having your arrest expunged would prevent employers, schools or the general public from being able to learn about an arrest through a background check. An expungement does not prohibit law enforcement from having access to prior criminal records nor does an expungement imply the physical destruction of records.  It is simply the ability to have an arrest, not resulting in a conviction, removed from one’s criminal history.  

A pardon is the legal process by which an individual seeks to remove a conviction from their criminal record.  Making the request for a pardon can involve a lengthy process as one has to navigate through the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Parole before the request can be presented to the governor. Only the Governor of South Dakota can decide whether an individual will receive a pardon.  Not all convictions qualify for a pardon but the attorneys at Helpser, McCarty & Rasmussen, can help you determine if your case qualifies as they assist you in the pardon process. 

If you have an arrest or conviction on your record and it is impeding your ability to find employment, or it is causing other problems for you, you should consider exploring your legal options today and let our experienced lawyers guide you through the legal process that best meets your situation. 

Lawyers at Helsper, McCarty and Rasmussen can help.