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Sex Offender Registry Removal

In the landmark case, Powell v. Keel, the South Carolina Supreme Court established that South Carolina’s lifetime registration requirement for sex offenders was unconstitutional. The opinion was published on June 9, 2021, and on May 23, 2022, Governor McMaster signed former House Bill 4075 into law which affords sex offenders a mechanism to seek removal from South Carolina’s lifetime sex offender registry. Eligibility for removal is largely determined by the tier system which classifies convictions into one of three tiers, with Tier I being the least severe and Tier III being the most severe. 

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Guidance on Adult Tier I Offenders can be found here

Examples of Tier I convictions include Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree (CSC 3rd), kidnapping a person 18 years of age or older (except when the court makes a finding on the record that the offense did not include a criminal sexual offense or an attempted criminal sexual offense), incest, buggery, and voyeurism, to name a few. 

Tier I sex offenders are permitted to apply for removal 15 years after registration. 

SLED Guidance on Adult Tier II Sex Offenders can be found here.

Some examples of Tier II convictions include criminal sexual conduct in the 2nd degree, online solicitation of a minor, criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the 2nd or 3rd degree, and human trafficking.

Adult Tier II sex offenders may apply for removal through SLED no less than 25 years after registration

SLED Guidance on Adult Tier III Sex Offenders can be found here.  

Examples of Tier II convictions include, but are not limited to, Criminal sexual conduct 1st degree (CSC 1st), CSC with minors 1st degree, and kidnapping a person under the age of 18 years of age (except when the offense is committed by a parent). 

For Adult Tier III Offenders, there is no administrative request to SLED for termination. Instead, after 30 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, Tier III Offenders may file a motion in General Sessions Court.

Tier Administrative Request to SLED AvailableTime Period (absent conviction(s) for failure to register within previous 10 years or additional sexual offense post-registry) 
Tier IYes15 Years
Tier IIYes25 Years
Tier IIINo30 Years

Tier I and Tier II Sex Offenders may file a request for termination of the registration requirement after the prescribed time period by mailing an application to SLED with a $250 filing fee, two sets of fingerprints, and proof of successful completion of all required treatment programs.

Upon denial by SLED, Tier I and Tier II Offenders have two options: (1) re-apply to SLED after five years or (2) challenge SLED’s denial with an appeal to General Sessions Court. These appeals can be tedious for many reasons, especially if the conviction occurred outside the state of South Carolina. It is important to have an experienced legal team on your side.  To learn more about whether you are eligible for removal and how our lawyers may be able to assist, give us a call at (864) 271-3535.

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