South Carolina

South Carolina

Final grade: D-

Exclusion Grade


Relevance Grade


Due Process Grade


Areas of Improvement

  • Ban boards from using vague standards like “moral turpitude” or “fitness” to disqualify applicants.
  • Require evidence of rehabilitation when considering applicants.
  • Strengthen safeguards for due process by requiring a petition process and placing the burden of proof on the state.

South Carolina receives a D for its middling protections for ex-offenders seeking licenses. The state at first appears to have a strong relevancy test, barring boards from denying licenses unless the criminal record “directly relates” to the license sought. Unfortunately, this test is immediately swallowed by a loophole that lets boards disqualify applicants if they are “unfit or unsuited to engage in the profession or occupation,” a far lower standard.

Statute: S.C. Code Ann. §§ 40-1-110 to 140 (1996)

Overarching ban on blanket bans Yes
Ban on considering arrest records No
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records No
Time limit No limit
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards No
Relationship between the crime and the license sought "Unfit or unsuited"
Required factors for consideration
Rehabilitation No
Time elapsed since crime was committed No
Age when crime was committed No
Employment History No
Testimonials No
Due Process
Petition Process No
Burden of Proof Both unspecified
Right to appeal Yes
Written notice requirement Yes