Alcohol Education Program

The Alcohol Education Program (AEP) was established in South Carolina to specifically target the problems and risks of underage drinking by placing the responsibility on the defendants regarding the choices they make through education while giving him or her the opportunity to have their charge(s) dismissed.

Who is eligible for AEP?

  • The offender is at least 18 years of age at the time of the arrest
  • No prior alcohol related convictions
  • No significant prior criminal activity
  • No prior participation in AEP

What charges are eligible for the AEP?

  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • Open Container
  • Possession of Fake Identification
  • Public Intoxication/Public Disorderly Conduct

How does the participant enter the AEP?

  • A participant may be referred to the AEP by the Summary Court Judge or Municipal Court Judge.
  • Prior to the scheduled court date, Summary Court and Municipal Court cases may be eligible to enter the AEP as a self-referral.

If you are interested in applying to the Alcohol Education Program, please contact the office at (843) 915-8351 for more information. 

What is needed to apply?

  • Program fees in the amount of $250.00 (payable by money order or debit/credit card)
  • Driver’s license (or another photo ID)
  • Social Security Card

What is required while in the program?

  • Complete twenty (20) hours of community service work for a non-profit organization
  • Participate in an eight (8) hour alcohol education class provided by a licensed professional counselor
  • Attend a four (4) hour life skills education course

How long is the program?

Participants may be eligible to successfully complete the AEP within thirty (30) days from the time of application based on scheduling by the AEP office.


Successful Completion

  • Upon completion all applicable agencies are notified to dismiss the charge(s) (Magistrate Court, Municipal Court, Police Department, SLED)
  • Participants have the right to request expungement of the dismissed charge(s) at an additional cost of $250.00. Expungement is not a requirement.

Unsuccessful Completion

Should a participant unsuccessfully complete the program, the AEP file is closed and the court is notified.

Out of Area Participation

The AEP case manager will assist the participant in locating resources in their area. The participant must attend an alcohol education course, a life skills education class, and find a non-profit agency to complete the community service in their area by the deadline given. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my charge (s) be dismissed?
Yes. All tickets or warrants referred to AEP will be dismissed upon successful completion.
Am I expected to appear in court?
In most cases, you are not required to appear in court once referred to AEP. However, if you have any questions or concerns about a court date, contact the court or the AEP office directly to discuss your specific situation.
Do I need an attorney to apply to the Alcohol Education Program?
No. You have the right to seek advice from an attorney. However, legal assistance is not a requirement to be eligible to enter AEP.
Am I eligible for the program if I do not live in Horry County or in South Carolina?
Yes. Participation can be completed in another county or in another state. All correspondence will be made by phone, by mail, by fax, and by e-mail.
Why am I paying a fee to participate in the program?
All fees are required based on state statute. AEP is self-supporting, receiving no funding from federal, state, or local government.
What form of payment is accepted?
Payment may be made in the form of a money order, cashier's check or by debit/credit card. Cash and personal checks are not accepted.
Why would I be rejected from participation in the AEP?
Your acceptance into the program is based upon your prior criminal history, any pending charges that you may have, and/or any new charges or arrests. Applications will be rejected based on prior participation in the AEP. The Solicitor may reject an application at any time.
If I am rejected from the program, will I receive a refund?
Yes. If rejected, you will be refunded the $150.00 participation fee. Once accepted into the AEP program, all fees are non-refundable.
What is the difference between dismissal and expungement?
Dismissed means that the case is dropped and has been ended by the court. You will no longer be prosecuted. The dismissed charge will remain on your criminal history as a dismissal unless you opt for expungement, which is a destruction of the record. Expungement is a right, not a requirement.
What is the process for expungement?
Upon successful completion, you will be provided with an application for expungement by the AEP office. The application must be sent to the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office along with a money order in the amount of $250.00. Expect eight to twelve weeks for the expungement process to be completed at which time the expungement order will be sent to the arresting agency, the summary or municipal court judge, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the South Carolina Highway Department and the detention center, if applicable.
Will my bond money be returned?
If you were incarcerated and a cash bond was posted, this money will be refunded by the court once you have successfully completed AEP.
Will my mug shot remain on the Internet?
The fact that you were charged is a matter of public record. Therefore, your mug shot may still appear on the Internet. If you have your arrest record expunged, all information involving your charge will be destroyed by the criminal justice agencies notified. However, the Solicitor’s Office is not responsible for any third party companies that may have obtained a record of your arrest.