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South Carolina Public Records: How to Perform a South Carolina Public Records Search

South Carolina Public Records: How to Perform a South Carolina Public Records Search
October 3, 2022

Per the South Carolina Public Records Law, residents and non-residents are permitted to access and obtain South Carolina Public Records. 


Government agencies in the state must respond to public records in South Carolina requests within 15 days. 


And when they neglect to, requesters may take that as an approval of their requests.


That being said, certain records have special legal exemption status, and requests for these records will typically be denied, although requesters may take the matter to court. 


The procedures for requesting public records vary among record custodians in the state, which can be confusing for some. 


We’ve explained all the steps in this guide.

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How to Find Public Records in South Carolina?

If you want to perform a South Carolina free public records search, you can use websites that are dedicated to such queries, like 


The service is name-based, so you can perform a background check on people and get a report with all their South Carolina public records information. 


If you only need one public record, you can use the services we have written about here:

Public Records in South Carolina: Vital Records

Birth records, death records, marriage records, and divorce records are all included in the South Carolina public records category known as vital records. 


However, despite their categorization as public records, South Carolina vital records can only be accessed by people who have a demonstrable relationship with the record subject. 


Requesters of vital records must present a valid ID, or other identifying documents that may be requested by the record custodian.


Beyond this, requesters of South Carolina vital records must know enough about the record subject to help the record custodian locate the records more efficiently. 


Also, as vital records requests in South Carolina typically attract charges, requesters must be prepared to cover these charges.


certificate of live birth

How to Find South Carolina Vital Records

South Carolina public records that are vital records are maintained and disseminated by the Vital Records Office of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). 


Individuals interested in accessing or obtaining any of these records must submit a request to this agency, in person, by mail, or by telephone.


To make a vital records request to the official record custodian of vital records in the state of South Carolina, interested and eligible members of the public are required to download and fill out the appropriate application form from the official website of the DHEC, then submit the form in person or by mail to:


Office of Vital Records
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201


Note that obtaining certified copies of South Carolina vital records attracts a charge of $12 per record, plus an extra $3 for copies of the same document. 


That being said, these fees are not standard; they may vary depending on the method of obtaining the records and the location of the requested certificate. 


The DHEC takes between 2-4 weeks to process mail-in requests. 

South Carolina Public Records: Criminal Records

Criminal records in South Carolina are official documents that provide an overview of an individual's criminal history in the state. 


These South Carolina public records document instances of their subject's run-ins with law enforcement and all their other brushes with the law.


a fingerprint on a paper sheet


The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is the official repository of criminal records in the state. 


The Division maintains a publicly accessible database, and interested members of the public may access this database anytime they require access to criminal records in the state. 

How to Access South Carolina Criminal Records

Individuals who want to access or obtain South Carolina criminal records have a number of options open to them. 


Individuals who prefer a fairly straightforward process will want to go through the Citizens Access To Criminal Histories (CATCH) online portal. 


On this portal, requesters can perform name-based searches at a flat rate of $25 per search. 


Another interesting thing about this portal is that fees can be paid from credit cards.


Alternatively, requesters may access and obtain criminal records in South Carolina by using the criminal records check form. 


The first thing to do is to fill out the form with the subject's details (name, social security number, date of birth). 


Following that, the requester must package the application into a stamped, self-addressed envelope, not neglecting to include payment for the record. The entire package should be delivered in person or mailed to:


SLED Records Department
PO Box 21398
Columbia, SC 29221-1398


handcuffs on a sheet of fingerprints

Public Records South Carolina: Inmate Records

Inmate records are documents that provide physical and administrative information about the offender who is the subject of the record. 


Inmate records are created for offenders incarcerated in any correctional facility in the state of South Carolina, and they often include such information as the inmate's name, offense, and expected release date. 

How to Find South Carolina Inmate Records

The South Carolina Department of Corrections provides an inmate lookup tool with which interested members of the public may access inmate information by searching with the tool. 


Interested parties must provide a few details about the inmate, such as their name or SCDC number. 

Public Records South Carolina: Court Records

South Carolina court records provide detailed accounts of an offender's criminal history along with information relating to their charge and subsequent trial. 

a man's handcuffed hands behind his back

How to Find South Carolina Court Records

Interested parties looking to access court records in South Carolina must first determine the court that has ownership of the record they want. 


As soon as this is done, they must get in touch with the appropriate South Carolina public records custodian. 


On provision of certain information relating to the case by the requester, the records custodian will produce the requested record. 


Note that the record custodian may ask the requester for a valid, government-issued ID before pulling up the records. Requesters may also need to settle applicable fees before obtaining the record.

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