What Is The Alcohol Education Program (AEP)?
The Alcohol Education Program (AEP) is a diversion program overseen by the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office. This program is designed for defendants with first-time Magistrate/Municipal Court alcohol offenses. AEP allows the defendant to be diverted from court and enter into a program consisting of education, counseling, community service, and guidance. Much like Pretrial Intervention, successful completion of AEP will allow the defendant to have the charge destroyed.
Who Is Eligible For The AEP Program?
Any defendant, between seventeen (17) and twenty (20) years of age at the time of arrest/charge for an alcohol-related offense (excluding DUI and DUAC charges), and with no prior criminal history, may apply to the Alcohol Education Program (AEP). No one who has previously participated in any Alcohol Education Program (AEP) will be accepted. AEP is a one-time opportunity.
What Happens In The AEP Program?
The Alcohol Education Program (AEP) is broken into three phases. These phases include: enrollment, educational requirements, and completion.
Phase 1 – Enrollment
- The defendant must be referred by the Magistrate/Municipal Court. All AEP referrals are completed at the time of your court appearance.
- Upon receipt of the referral, the defendant will be sent a letter with the date, time, and location of his/her enrollment appointment.
- The defendant must provide a picture ID and Social Security card.
- The defendant must provide a $250 enrollment fee at the time of his/her enrollment appointment. The enrollment fee must be paid in the form of a Money Order or Certified Bank Check only and is non-refundable.
- A criminal history check will be conducted to determine whether or not the defendant has a prior history.
Phase 2 – Educational Requirements
Once you have enrolled and are accepted into AEP, the Magistrate/Municipal Court will agree to hold the charges against you from going to trial. As long as you are in compliance and meet all of the educational requirements, your case will not be returned to court. Before the charge(s) can be dismissed, you must have completed the following:
- Eight (8) hours of educational counseling (additional cost).
- Alive at 25 program (additional cost).
- Twenty (20) hours of community service at a non-profit/helping agency.
Phase 3 – Completion
Upon completion of all AEP requirements, the associated charge is eligible to be destroyed. An expungement packet will be mailed to the defendant. The defendant is then entitled to submit an Expungement Order to the court to destroy the associated charge on his/her criminal history. The South Carolina Supreme Court requires that a $35.00 filing fee be paid to the Clerk of Court as well as a $250 administrative fee to the Solicitor’s Office (Money Order or Certified Bank Check only).
Alcohol Education Program (AEP) Office Locations