South Carolina Public Records

South Carolina is one of the leading U.S. states that are known to promote freedom of information through provisions that grant the general public the right to access the state’s records.

All records as well as meeting notes of all public bodies and agencies in the state are made public by the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. The act dictates that all members of the press and citizens are allowed to gain access to these records and to request copies of the same. According to the act, “Public bodies” refer to any agency in South Carolina that expends public funds or that receives public funds. “Public records” are defined as any form of media that is retained by any public body including emails and any other form of electronic media.

Legal exemptions include trade secrets, Social Security Numbers, industrial development offers which have not been accepted yet, police records that may interfere with an ongoing investigation, information that would potentially abuse attorney-client privilege, and tax standards that the Department of Revenue uses. According to the law, only clearly exempt information may be withheld.

South Carolina Criminal Records

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Divisions handle all state background checks. Searching for any criminal record requires the subject’s first initial, lasts name, and date of birth, or a set of fingerprints. While Social Security Number is not required, using it helps in ensuring that there is no false positive. For each record you request, you will be required to pay a fee of $25 and $1 as a convenience fee in case you are requesting the records online. You can search the Sex Offender Registry free of charge.

The general public can only get access to arrest records, jail records and conviction information related to a conviction. Only the law enforcement agencies and the subject of the record can obtain complete criminal records.

Inmate records are accessible through the Ste Department of Corrections website. There is an online “Inmate Search” tool that the South Carolina Department of Correction provides for individuals who are currently incarcerated in any state prison. The search doesn’t include fugitives. This search provides the inmate’s full name, race, sex, SCDC ID, height, weight, and age.

You can only obtain county jail records from the Sheriff’s Office or County Detention Center of every individual county. Many counties either provide a daily list of releases and bookings or an online search tool. These searches give similar information that the state offers.

South Carolina Court Records

You can search case records for any county of South Carolina State online at the website of South Carolina Judicial Department.

South Carolina Vital Records

You can request death certificates, birth certificates, information about deportation, marriage certificates, and divorce reports at the DHEC State Vital Records Office in Columbia in person, or by phone, online, or by email through the VitalCheck service.

  • Birth records: The state of South Carolina began to issue birth certificates on January 1, 1915. However, the registers of the Protestant Episcopal Parish began recording births in 1706. The 1853 Registration Act was passed in 1853 and it required those tax collectors in the parishes and districts of the state of South Carolina to state the number of all whites who have been born during the year. The South Carolina Family History Library keeps these exciting records.
  • Death records: South Carolina did not require death certificates until January 1, 1915, but there are death records prior to this time. Death records prior to 1915 are available at the South Carolina Family History Library. For death records less than 50 years, you should direct your request to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
  • Marriage records: South Carolina made it a requirement for all marriages to be recorded beginning July 1, 1911. Any marriage records issued after October 2009 and before 1950 are available at the probate judge’s office in the respective courthouse where the event took place. Marriage records are maintained at the South Carolina Family History Library and at South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
  • Divorce records: Divorce records are accessible from 1962 to 2012. You should contact the county where the record was issued in case you are looking for records that do not fall within 1962-2012. Divorce records are available at the South Carolina Family History Library and at South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

We have highlighted the information you need to obtain any record in North Carolina. We do hope this information helps you.

South Carolina state court system

Understanding how the system of South Carolina state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

South Carolina Courts Overview

To make your work easier, start searching for court records in South Carolina by simply going to courts by county.

The trial court system of South Carolina State consists of Municipal Courts, Magistrate Courts, Probate Courts, Family Courts, and Circuit Courts.

Circuit Courts

South Carolina Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction to handle all types of cases, but usually handle only those cases that other courts have no jurisdiction over. These are divided into the Court of General Sessions division that handle criminal case and the Court of Common Pleas divisions that handle civil cases.

Typical criminal cases that the General Sessions division handles include some misdemeanors and felonies. They may also handle first offense charges connected to domestic violence.

Typical civil cases that Circuit Courts handle include many general civil claims with more than $7,500. Circuit Courts may have Business Court divisions for handling certain complex commercial or business cases. These courts also handle some cases related to domestic violence, including divorce, annulments, and related child support, child custody and alimony cases.

Family Courts

These courts have jurisdiction to handle some mental health cases, most juvenile cases, most protection orders of domestic violence, and most domestic relations. Cases generally handled by these courts include name damages, adoption, guardianship of a minor, termination of parental rights, foster care, domestic abuse protection orders, division of marital property, alimony, child support, child visitation, child custody, annulment, legal separation, and divorce.

Family Courts have limited jurisdiction over child abandonment, child neglect, most cases that involve juvenile suspected to have violated municipal, local or state law, and children beyond the control of their custodian or parent.

Probate Courts

These courts generally handle involuntary commitments, conservatorships, guardianships, and probate matters including trusts and estate. Probate Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over many types of cases, including cases requesting the approval of settlements of claim with less than $10,000 against or in favor of an incapacitated person or a minor, and cases involving the power of attorney.

Probate Courts also share jurisdiction with Family Courts over some types of cases, including some marital agreements, common-law marriage, and paternity.

Magistrates Courts

These courts have jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. General criminal cases that these courts handle include preliminary hearings for criminal cases punishable by short terms of incarceration or limited fines and most criminal cases. Typical cases heard by these courts include shoplifting, fraudulent checks, domestic violence, theft involving less than $1000, some cases involving battery, assault or breach of peace, false pretenses, traffic law violations and fish and game law violations.

Civil cases typically handled by these courts include many general civil claims with less than $75000, including damages to personal or real property, contract claims, and forfeitures of fines or penalties.

Municipal Courts

South Carolina Municipal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. In some towns and cities, Magistrate Courts handle municipal ordinances.

Criminal cases generally heard by these courts include certain criminal offenses, traffic violations and other municipal violations. The Municipal Court in the City of Orangeburg has limited jurisdiction to handle first-offense domestic violence cases.

Municipal Courts cannot handle civil cases. Family Courts share jurisdiction with Municipal Courts to handle watercraft ordinances, and traffic or juvenile violations.

The Official Website of South Carolina County

Columbia :: Welcome to the City of Columbia ::
Charleston Charleston, SC – Official Website The Official Website For The City of Charleston, South Carolina
North Charleston City of North Charleston, SC
Mount Pleasant Mount Pleasant, SC – Official Website
Rock Hill Rock Hill, SC
Greenville Greenville, SC – Official Website Official homepage for the city of Greenville, South Carolina
Summerville Summerville, SC | Official Website
Sumter City of Sumter, SC Official website for the City of Sumter, South Carolina.
Hilton Head Island Town of Hilton Head Island Municipal Government Website The Town of Hilton Head Island Municipal Government Website
Spartanburg City of Spartanburg, South Carolina
Florence City of Florence
Goose Creek Goose Creek
Aiken City of Aiken, SC Government | The official site for the City of Aiken, SC Government
Myrtle Beach Welcome to Myrtle Beach, SC
Anderson City of Anderson SC – Welcome to the City of Anderson!
Greenville County County of Greenville, SC
Richland County Richland County
Charleston County Charleston County Government Welcome to the official website for Charleston County Government. Our Mission is to promote and protect the quality of life in Charleston County by delivering services of value to the community.
Spartanburg County Spartanburg County, SC | Official Website
Horry County Horry County Government
Lexington County County of Lexington
York County York, SC | Official Website
Anderson County Anderson County, S.C.
Berkeley County Berkeley County Government
Aiken County Aiken County Government The Aiken County Government provides many essential and beneficial services to its citizens.
Florence County County of Florence Public website for the County of Florence, South Carolina.
Dorchester County Dorchester County, SC website
Pickens County Pickens County
Sumter County Welcome to Sumter County, SC
Orangeburg County Welcome to Orangeburg County, South Carolina Welcome to Orangeburg County, South Carolina: tax, magistrate, court, police, probate, treasurer, voter registration, public services
Lancaster County Lancaster County, South Carolina Official Website of Lancaster County, South Carolina
Oconee County Oconee County
Greenwood County Greenwood County, SC
Darlington County Welcome to Darlington County, South Carolina
Laurens County Laurens County, South Carolina
Kershaw County Kershaw County, SC Official Kershaw County, South Carolina Government site; includes county officials, government services, community links, and a guide to the community.
Georgetown County Georgetown County South Carolina Government
Chesterfield County Chesterfield County
Colleton County Colleton County, South Carolina
Newberry County Newberry County
Clarendon County Clarendon County Government
Williamsburg County Williamsburg County, SC
Chester County Chester County South Carolina Whether your dream is starting your own business, living in a beautiful rural setting or purchasing an historic home in a town where neighbors still stop and visit as they stroll past, Chester County is the place you have been looking for.
Marion County  Marion County, SC
Dillon County Dillon County
Marlboro County Marlboro County
Edgefield County Edgefield County
Abbeville County Abbeville County, South Carolina
Jasper County Jasper County, SC
Fairfield County Fairfield County, SC

South Carolina Arrests and Inmate Search

Detention Center Detainee Public Search Aiken County Detention Center Inmates
Inmate Search | Anderson County Sheriff’s Office | Anderson, SC Look up currently incarcerated individuals at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center – Sheriff Chad McBride – Located in South Carolina
Beaufort County Inmate Inquiry System Beaufort County Inmate Inquiry
Detention Center & Inmate Information Disclaimer | Berkeley County Government Berkeley County Inmate Lookup
Charleston County Inmate Search The Sheriff’s Office – law enforcement – Inmate Search.
Zuercher Portal Cherokee County Jail Inmates
Chester County Detention Center Chester County Jail Inmate Search
Booking Records Requests – Chesterfield County SC Sheriff’s Office Chesterfield County Booking Records
Colleton County Detention Center Colleton County Jail
Darlington County Inmate Search The Darlington County Detention Center Inmate List has information on people who have been arrested and are in jail, including current status, how much their bail is, and times the inmate can have visitors. You can also find information about anybody who has been arrested or discharged within the past 24 hours.
Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office | Dorchester County, SC website Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office
Florence County Sheriff’s Office Florence County Jail Inmate Lookup
Georgetown County South Carolina Sheriff’s Office Detention Bookings and Releases Georgetown County Inmate Search
Greenville County Jail Inmate Lookup Greenville County Sheriff’s Inmate Search
Daily Bookings and Releases Horry County Jail Bookings
Kershaw County Zuercher Portal Kershaw County Inmate List
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Inmate Search Lancaster County South Carolina Sheriff’s Office
Laurens County Jail Inmate Lookup Laurens County Jail Inmate Information
Inmate Search – Lee County Sheriff’s Office – South Carolina 803-484-5353 Lee County Jail Inmate Search
Lexington County Sheriff Office P2C Lexington County Sheriff’s Inmate Lookup
Marion County Detention Center Marion County Current Inmates
Inmate Search | Newberry County Newberry County Jail Inmate Locator
Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Orangeburg County Jail
Research Offender -Public Access Richland County Offender Search
Booking Search : Spartanburg Sheriff Spartanburg County Booking List
Sumter – Lee Regional Detention Center P2C Sumter County Arrest Records
Union County Sheriff’s Inmate Search Law Enforcement website designed to provide information about services offered by Union County Sheriff’s Office.
York County Jail Inmate Locator York County Inmate Roster
Incarcerated Inmate Search South Carolina Department of Corrections
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division SLED CATCH
SC Judicial Branch Court Case Lookup
South Carolina Public Sex Offender Registry South Carolina Public Sex Offender Registry