A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in South Dakota, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record. Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take. 1) Expunge Your Record2) Seal Your Record,3) Request a Pardon of Your RecordThe problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what South Dakota offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.
If you get your record expunged in South Dakota it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.
Sealing your record in South Dakota is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.
If you receive a pardon in South Dakota, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.
Things to Know Before You Start
First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in South Dakota.
Felony Expungement in South Dakota
Yes, it is possible to expunge your felony in South Dakota but it depends on the felony.
Sealing a Record in South Dakota
Yes, it is possible to seal your record in South Dakota but it’s just juvenile records.
Getting a Pardon in South Dakota
Yes, it is possible to get a pardon of your record in South Dakota but it depends on the felony.
Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options. The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.
Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action. We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process. Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again. In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think. The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing of your record.
Quick Navigation: Can You Expunge a Felony in South Dakota? How to Expunge a Felony in South Dakota. Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in South Dakota?How to Seal Your Criminal Record in South DakotaCan You Apply for a Pardon in South Dakota? How to Apply for a Pardon in South Dakota
Can You Expunge a Felony in South Dakota?
South Dakota law does allow for expungement of misdemeanors and felonies as well as drunk driving offenses provided you meet the age requirements or the offense occurred at least 10 years after all conditions of probation have been satisfied.
You may petition for expungement if you are at least 75 years old and the offense occurred 10 years ago and have had no other convictions during this time.
Also, any conviction for an offense that is no longer considered a crime qualifies for expungement.
CANNOT EXPUNGE IF…
Convictions concerning a minorAny offense concerning a minor cannot be expungedFelony sexual assault. A felony sexual assault cannot be expunged. Moral turpitude. You cannot have been charged with a crime of moral turpitude. Class A, B, or Class 1 or 2 felonyYou cannot get an expungement for any conviction for a Class A, B, or Class 1 or 2 felony.
• You can see a definition of the classes here.
How to Expunge a Felony in South Dakota
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to expunge your record.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible for expungement based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• The expungement process begins by filing a motion for expungement in the court that had jurisdiction over your criminal matter and by paying the requisite filing fee.Steps to expunge your felony record in South Dakota:
Step 1. Your motion must be served on the prosecuting attorney or office that prosecuted you at least 14 days prior to the scheduled date to hear the motion.
• Your motion should identify the particular records that you want expunged.
• You must check with the court in which the conviction or other records are maintained.
• They will give you the proper forms you need to send to the courts and other agencies that might be affected by having your record expunged.
• After filing, you will be set a court date.
Step 2. A civil case filing statement is also required.
Step 3. If the prosecuting attorney consents to waive the hearing, none is held and the court may issue an order of expungement to be sent to the Division of Criminal Investigation.
• The order effectively restores you to the status you occupied before your arrest or indictment, including your right to gun ownership.
Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in South Dakota?
In South Dakota, record sealing primarily refers to juvenile records.
You may petition the court for sealing your juvenile records if a court has not found you to be a delinquent since the original case was terminated; no proceedings are pending against you regarding a felony or crime of moral turpitude; and the court is satisfied with your rehabilitation.
Can You Apply for a Pardon in South Dakota?
The Governor, through the Board of Pardons and Paroles, can grant pardons in the state of South Dakota. If you are a first-time felony offender (meaning this was your first felony conviction, and the offense was not one punishable by life imprisonment), you must apply for what is called an “exceptional” pardon.
CANNOT PARDON IF…
Five years have not passedIn order to apply for an exceptional pardon, you must have been released from prison for at least five years before you can apply.
• If you were never sent to prison for the offense (for example, you received probation instead), then five years must have passed since the date you committed the crime before you can apply for an exceptional pardon. Two or more sex offensesIf you have been convicted of two or more felony sex offenses, you will not be considered for a pardon. Restitution You must have paid all fines, court costs, and restitution before you will be considered for a pardon. Out-of-state conviction. You may only be granted a pardon for a South Dakota conviction.
How to Apply for a Pardon in South Dakota
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record. In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• There are no application fees to apply for a pardon in South Dakota. The Board has conveniently provided an Executive Clemency Pardon Application form for you to access on the Internet at. If you cannot access the Board’s website or the application form itself, you can call the Board directly at 605-773-3478. You can also write to the Board at: South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles1600 N. DriveP.O. Box 5911Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5911Steps to apply for a pardon in South Dakota:
Step 1. Before you submit your application to the Board, you must publish a notice of your application in an official newspaper in the county where you committed the crime.
• The notice must be published once a week for three consecutive weeks, and must contain your name, the crime you were convicted of, the date you were convicted, and the sentence you received.
• The last publication of the notice must occur at least twenty days before the hearing.
• The Board has provided a standard notice (form SDPA-2) you can use, which is attached at the end of the application.
• Fill the notice out, send it to an official newspaper in the county where you committed the crime, and then wait for the newspaper to send back a notarized affidavit of the publication.
• Once you receive the notarized affidavit back, you can send it to the Board along with the rest of the application materials.
Step 2. Before you submit your application, you must also send a notice to the state’s attorney in the county or counties where you were convicted.
• The Board has provided a standard form (form SDPA-3) for you to use for this purpose as well.
• Fill it out, send it to the attorney, and then wait for the attorney to send the form back to you.
• Once you receive it back, you can send it along with the rest of your application materials.
Step 3. You must submit a “letter of personal plea” along with your application, stating why you would like a pardon. This may be the most important part of your application.
• In your letter of personal plea, don’t simply state that you want to have a clean criminal record again.
• Tell the Board/Governor how your conviction has negatively affected you and/or your family.
• For example, explain how you have been denied housing or employment opportunities because of your conviction, and how this has prevented you from providing you and your family an adequate standard of living.
• Submit any proof you may have (such as denial letters) to support your claims.
• If you are facing deportation because of a conviction, explain how being separated from your family will negatively affect you as well as them.
• If you are pursuing a career in a field that requires you to obtain a pardon, submit documents, letters, or other proof from a prospective employer, licensing agency, or attorney verifying this necessity.
• If you need to regain your gun rights, explain why you need this—for example, you are pursuing a career that requires the use of firearms, or you want to take part in your family hunting traditions, or you simply want to feel more secure and able to defend yourself and/or your family after a recent traumatic event.
• Also indicate on your personal statement all the positive things that have occurred in your life—for example, educational achievements, new or stable employment, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, law-abiding behavior, etc.
• Submit copies of your college transcript, high school diploma or GED, military certificates, marriage certificate, honors and awards, and other proof of your rehabilitation and good character.
• Explain what your future plans are and how a pardon would help you.
• In writing your letter of personal plea, keep in mind that the Board/Governor will not be retrying you for the offense.
• Although you may feel the need to explain the facts of the crime from your perspective, avoid trying to make excessive excuses for your crime and arguing away your guilt.
• However you feel about the crime, you have already been found guilty.
• The Board/Governor is probably more interested in seeing your remorse for the crime, and your understanding of its effects on the victim and society, than anything else.
Step 4. Although not required, you should submit letters of recommendation from credible people (such as your boss) who know you well and can say good things about you.
• These letters should indicate to what extent the writer knows you and why he or she thinks you should be granted a pardon.
• The letters should also indicate the writer’s contact information for verification purposes.
• If possible, you should choose individuals who are not related to you, in order to avoid the appearance of bias.
• If you choose to submit letters of recommendation, the letters must be notarized—signed in front of a notary public—and must indicate that the writer knows you are seeking a pardon.
• The writer’s daytime and evening telephone numbers must be indicated on the letters because the Board will contact them for verification.
• There is no limit on how many letters you can submit (in fact, the Board encourages you to submit as many as possible).
Step 5. Your completed application, along with your letter of personal plea, all supporting documents (including the publication notice and notices to the prosecutor) and letters of recommendation, should be mailed to:South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles1600 N. DriveP.O. Box 5911Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5911
Step 6. Once the Board receives your application, two hearings will be scheduled.
• The first hearing—called the “Initial Hearing”—is used by the Board to determine whether your application should even move forward.
• If the Board decides to move forward with your application, it will schedule the second hearing—called the “Final Hearing.”
• If the Board decides not to recommend you, your application is over, and you cannot reapply until at least a year after the denial.
So, there you have it. Three separate ways to get rid of your record in South Dakota. As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you take this eligibility test prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.
Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational. If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.