Ouida Dest has been practicing law in South Carolina since 1991. She started her law career as an assistant solicitor in the Greenwood County Solicitor’s Office and moved to the same position in the York County Solicitor’s Office in 1993. In 2008 she was promoted to deputy solicitor and managed the Rock Hill Solicitor’s Office until January 2020. During this time she was involved in the prosecution of thousands of criminal cases ranging from misdemeanors to the most serious violent crimes including murder and criminal sexual conduct.
During her time at the Solicitor’s Office, she won many state and local awards including the Ernest F. Hollings Award for Excellence in Prosecution, and was given the Hero Award at the Governor’s Conference on Juvenile Crime. Locally, she was awarded the Champion for Our Children by the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Ouida has authored several articles for prosecution publications and has been a speaker for multiple state conferences on the prosecution of cases for the South Carolina Commission on Prosecution Coordination. Recently she has been called to speak in the South Carolina Senate before a Select Committee on issues surrounding juvenile justice reform.
As a prosecutor, in addition to handling cases in court, she was instrumental in developing programs that are still ongoing in the prosecutor’s office and had success in grant writing including multiple programs to add more prosecutors and other programs such as drug court.
Ouida was appointed to serve on many boards and commissions including a 2011 appointment by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Council where she currently serves as chair of the grants committee. She also serves as a member of ACES and Resilience Committee, the All on Board (Executive) Committee and serves as the chair of the St. Mary Catholic Church Social Concerns Outreach Ministry.
In January 2020, Ouida retired from government work and started Dest Law, LLC, a law practice with her husband Harry Dest. Her practice areas include Education Law and Guardian ad Litem work for Probate and Family Court. She is Of Counsel with Jason E. Taylor Law, LLC where her cases focus on employment law, specifically Sexual Harassment claims.
Ouida grew up in a small rural town in the low country of South Carolina. Her parents were educators in the town and she was taught at a young age the value of hard work and helping others. She has committed her career to this – from victims in criminal cases, children in need of services, and most recently, those who have been wronged in the workplace. She is married and has one daughter who attends Clemson University. She is active in St. Mary Catholic Church and serves as chair of the St. Mary Social Concerns Committee.
J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law, 1991
B.S. Business, Winthrop College, 1988
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
South Carolina Bar
South Carolina Women Lawyers Association