Arrest Records in South Carolina

Table of Contents

Need more information? Check out our guides to South Carolina background checks and South Carolina public records.

 

South Carolina has a population of 5.15 million, about half the population of its neighbor to the north, which makes it the 23rd most populated and 19th most densely populated state in the U.S. 

Like many southern states, South Carolina has higher-than-average crime compared to the nation at large: the state posted a 4.88 per 1,000 violent crime rate in 2018. SOuth Carolina’s most dangerous city is Greenwood, which has a violent crime rate over three-times the statewide rate. Arrests are slightly above average in the state as South Carolina ranks 21st in arrests per capita. 

South Carolina Arrest and Crime Statistics

  • In 2018, 152,664 arrests were made in South Carolina, as reported by 373 law enforcement agencies across the state. 10.8 thousand of these arrests were made of minors under the age of 18.
  • The leading identified cause of arrest by a considerable margin was drug abuse violations, which accounted for 34,105 arrests.
  • South Carolina’s rate of 202 registered sex offenders per 1,000 residents ranks 39th among U.S. states.   

Sources: FBI: 2018 Crime in the United States, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

 

What is a public arrest record?

An arrest record is a report produced by a law enforcement entity after the arrest or apprehension of an individual which contains the details of the incident, the individual’s personal information, and occasionally includes additional information about the individual’s criminal record.

An arrest record is often a key document in a criminal case and may play a significant role in an ensuing trial. The arrest record may remain in the public record for a long time regardless of whether the suspect is ultimately convicted of the crime(s) for which they were initially arrested. This means that it can be accessed by the general public.  

What is included in a public arrest record?

  • Description of the incident: An arrest record will include a chronological account of the alleged crime produced by the arresting officer that may utilize information provided by first-hand witnesses and/or victims of the alleged crime. 
  • Date and location of the arrest
  • Physical description: The height, weight, hair color, sex, and race of the arrested person, along with other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks. 
  • Personal information: The name, age, date of birth, phone number, address, social security number, and other contact information of the arrested individual, as well as any other names the person may go by. 
  • Photographs
  • Fingerprints
  • Criminal charges filed
  • Classification of the crime: Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • Bail
  • Court date
  • Police interrogation details

What are the types of charges that may appear on an arrest record?

Generally, charges are classified into three main categories:

  • Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is typically a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering. 
  • Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, but less severe than a felony, and generally punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
  • Felony – A felony is the most serious type of crime and generally results in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Having a felony on one’s record may result in limitations of employment and the acquisition of specialty licenses. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and arson.  

Who can access arrest records?

As in most other states, arrest records (also known as arrest reports) are public records in South Carolina and can be accessed by anyone upon request to a law enforcement agency, and may come up during a routine background check. 

Other examples of South Carolina public records include:

  • vital records such as birth and death certificates
  • marriage licenses
  • mugshots
  • court records
  • voting records
  • property records 

Where are physical copies of arrest records kept in South Carolina?

Arrest records are typically held by the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest, usually a local police department or county sheriff’s office. They also may be kept in the archive of a state government agency, or circuit court. However, the central statewide crime information center is maintained by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Divisions, Criminal Justice Information Services.

Why can’t I access an arrest record in South Carolina?

There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to access an arrest record. Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to release arrest records and other public records, records that fall under certain exemptions can be withheld from the public.

The FOIA includes nine exemptions that allow agencies to withhold documents, such as arrest records, and not release them to the public. They are:

  1. The information is classified to protect natural security. 
  2. The information focuses on the internal rules and practices of the agency.
  3. Another federal law prohibits the release of the information.
  4. The information includes confidential trade secrets and/or commercial and financial information. 
  5. The information includes privileged, confidential communicative exchanges between two agencies. 
  6. The information could pose a danger to another person’s privacy if released.
  7. The information is reserved for law enforcement purposes in a court case or an investigation or could reveal a confidential source. 
  8. The information includes confidential information about financial institution supervision. 
  9. The information includes geographical information about wells.

Additionally, some state laws limit the availability of arrest records due to the fact that they are perceived as one-sided documents that do not include the arrested person’s account of the incident. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and a criminal record?

Compared to an arrest record, a criminal record is a more thorough document that details an individual’s entire criminal history, including arrest warrants, arrests, third party complaints, convictions, and even dropped cases. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that grants law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual suspected of a crime or to search and seize the individual’s property, whereas an arrest record is a document of an arrest that is only created after an arrest or apprehension has already occurred.  

In order for a judge or magistrate to issue an arrest warrant, they must conclude that there is probable cause for an arrest. Probable cause must be backed by sworn testimony or an affidavit that provides sufficient information supporting the need for an arrest. An arrest warrant must also specify one individual that should be arrested, rather than a group of individuals or a rough description of a suspect. 

How many Americans have been arrested?

While crime has steadily dropped in the United States over the past several decades, arrests have gone up, particularly for younger age groups. Typically, law enforcement makes around 10 million arrests each year. Here are some key statistics on arrests in the United States:

  • In 2018, around 10.3 million arrests were made nationwide.
  • 73% of arrested persons in 2018 were males.
  • The more recent an American was born, the greater the likelihood that the individual has been arrested at least once. The following is the percentage of Americans in various age groups that have been arrested: 
    • 6.4% of Americans born before 1949
    • 10.7% of Americans born between 1949 and 1958
    • 13.8% of Americans born between 1959 and 1968
    • 18.7% of Americans born between 1969 and 1978
    • 23% of Americans born between 1979-1988

Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, RAND Corporation

How to search online for Arrest Records in South Carolina

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division provides an online, fee-based criminal history search service available to the general public known as SLED Citizens Access to Criminal Histories, or SLED CATCH

SLED CATCH allows for name-based criminal history searches of any person within the SLED criminal history information database. 

The following is some key information about the service:

  • Each search costs a non-refundable $25, along with an additional $1 convenience fee, that can be paid using a credit or debit card. 
  • Eligible organizations may be able to use the service for a reduced fee of $8.
  • Required search fields include Last Name, First Name, Date of Birth, and Gender
  • Social Security Number and Maiden name are optional search fields that may yield better results.  
  • The database contains South Carolina criminal history information only.
  • The search is optimized for use with the Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers. 

Alternatively, individuals may request a record through the mail by mailing in a Criminal Records Check Form and payment to the address listed on the form. 

How can I search for a South Carolina arrest record on the internet using a background check service?

Since tracking down physical copies of arrest records can prove challenging, searching for them online is a viable option. There is a wealth of online services that allow you to search and access South Carolina arrest records and other public records via numerous government agency databases in exchange for a fee. 

However, despite the fact that users must pay to obtain an arrest record from an online service, it’s nevertheless a convenient means of getting these documents. The offices of government agencies are often marred by inconsistent service and take a long time to process requests to view documents. 

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a fee to use an online background check service, rather than endure the extended delays typical of government offices.  

What can I do if my arrest record has a mistake?

If your South Carolina arrest record or other criminal history record document contains a mistake or incomplete information, you can submit a challenge by following this process:

  1. Have your fingerprints taken on a blue applicant fingerprint card at a local law enforcement agency.
  2. Fill out the rest of the fingerprint card and select “Challenge of Criminal Record” under “Reason for Fingerprinted”
  3. Complete a Challenge of South Carolina Arrest Record form
  4. Mail the form and the fingerprint card to:

SLED Crime Information Center, Attention Debbie Monts

Post Office Box 21398

Columbia, South Carolina 29221

South Carolina Courthouse and Sheriff Information by County

CountyCourthouseAddressPhoneSheriffAddressPhone
Abbeville CountyAbbeville Magistrate Court21 Old Calhoun Falls Rd
Abbeville, SC 29620
864-446-6500Abbeville County Sheriff's Office21 Old Calhoun Falls Rd
Abbeville, SC 29620
864-446-6000
Aiken CountyAiken County Clerk of Court109 Park Ave SE
Aiken, SC 29801
803-642-1715Aiken County Sheriff Office420 Hampton Ave NE
Aiken, SC 29801
803-642-1761
Anderson CountyAnderson County Courthouse Annex401 E River St
Anderson, SC 29624
864-260-4000Anderson County Sheriff's Office305 Camson Rd
Anderson, SC 29625
864-260-4400
Anderson County
Bamberg CountyBamberg County Magistrate Office2873 Main Hwy
Bamberg, SC 29003
803-245-3016Bamberg County Sheriff456 2nd St
Bamberg, SC 29003
803-245-3011
Barnwell CountyBarnwell County Family Court57 Wall St
Barnwell, SC 29812
803-541-1114Barnwell County Sheriff599 Joey Zorn Blvd
Barnwell, SC 29812
803-541-1052
Beaufort CountyBeaufort County Family Court102 Ribaut Rd
Beaufort, SC 29902
843-255-5660Beaufort County Sheriff's Office2001 Duke St
Beaufort, SC 29902
843-255-3200
Berkeley CountyBerkeley County Courthouse300 California Dr # B
Moncks Corner, SC 29461
843-723-3800Berkeley County Sheriff's Office223 N Live Oak Dr
Moncks Corner, SC 29461
843-723-3800
Calhoun CountyCalhoun County Family Court902 F R Huff Dr
St Matthews, SC 29135
803-874-3524Calhoun County Sheriff's Office2811 Old Belleville Rd
St Matthews, SC 29135
803-874-2741
Charleston CountyCharleston County Clerk-Court100 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401
843-958-5000Charleston County Sheriff's Office3691 Leeds Ave
North Charleston, SC 29405
843-202-1700
Cherokee CountyCherokee County Family Court125 E Floyd Baker Blvd
Gaffney, SC 29340
864-487-2568Cherokee County Sheriff's Office312 E Frederick St
Gaffney, SC 29340
864-487-2503
Chester CountyChester County Clerk of Court140 Main St # A1
Chester, SC 29706
803-385-2605Chester County Sheriff's Office2740 Dawson Dr
Chester, SC 29706
803-581-5131
Chesterfield CountyChesterfield County Court House200 W Main St, Chesterfield, SC 29709843-623-2535Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office203 State Rd S-13-122
Chesterfield, SC 29709
843-623-2101
Clarendon CountyClarendon County Court House3 Keitt St # 101
Manning, SC 29102
803-435-4443Clarendon County Sheriff217 Commerce Street
Manning, SC 29102
803-435-4414
Colleton CountyColleton Clerk of Courthouse101 Hampton St
Walterboro, SC 29488
843-549-5791Colleton County Sheriff Administration394 Mable T Willis Blvd
Walterboro, SC 29488
843-549-2211
Darlington CountyDarlington County Courthouse1 Public Square #210
Darlington, SC 29532
843-398-4100Darlington County Sheriff's Office1621 Harry Byrd Hwy
Darlington, SC 29532
843-398-4501
Dillon CountyDillon County Family Court Jdg301 W Main St
Dillon, SC 29536
843-774-1410Dillon County Sheriff305 W Hampton St
Dillon, SC 29536
843-774-1432
Dorchester CountyDorchester County Courthouse5200 E Jim Bilton Blvd
St George, SC 29477
843-563-0160Dorchester County Sheriff's Office212 Deming Way
Summerville, SC 29483
843-832-0300
Edgefield CountyCounty Magistrate215 Jeter St
Edgefield, SC 29824
803-637-4052Edgefield County Sheriff200 Railroad St
Edgefield, SC 29824
803-637-5337
Fairfield CountyFairfield County Family Court115 S Congress St A
Winnsboro, SC 29180
803-712-6528Fairfield County Sheriff's Office350 Columbia Rd
Winnsboro, SC 29180
803-635-4141
Florence CountyFlorence County Family Court180 N Irby St
Florence, SC 29501
843-665-3096Florence County Sheriff's Office6719 Friendfield Rd
Effingham, SC 29541
843-665-2121
Georgetown CountyGeorgetown Clerk of Court401 Cleland St
Georgetown, SC 29440
843-545-3215Georgetown Sheriff's Office430 N Fraser St
Georgetown, SC 29440
843-546-5102
Greenville CountyGreenville County Court House305 E North St
Greenville, SC 29601
864-467-8551Greenville County Sheriff's Office4 McGee St
Greenville, SC 29601
864-271-5210
Greenwood CountyGreenwood County Courthouse528 Monument St
Greenwood, SC 29646
864-942-8500Greenwood County Sheriff's Department528 Edgefield St
Greenwood, SC 29646
864-942-8600
Hampton CountyHampton County Clerk of Court1 Elm St W
Hampton, SC 29924
803-914-2250Hampton County Sheriff's Office409 Cemetery Rd, Varnville, SC 29944803-914-2223
Horry CountyHorry County Court House1201 3rd Ave
Conway, SC 29526
843-915-5080Horry County Sheriff's Office1301 2nd Ave
Conway, SC 29526
843-915-5450
Jasper CountyJasper County Courthouse3rd Ave
Ridgeland, SC 29936
(843) 726-7710Jasper County Sheriff12008 N Jacob Smart Blvd
Ridgeland, SC 29936
843-726-7777
Kershaw CountyKershaw County Clerk of Court1121 Broad St
Camden, SC 29020
803-425-1500Kershaw County Sheriff's Office821 Ridgeway Rd
Lugoff, SC 29078
803-425-1512
Lancaster CountyLancaster County Courthouse104 N Main St
Lancaster, SC 29720
Lancaster County Sheriff's Office1520 Pageland Hwy
Lancaster, SC 29720
803-283-3388
Laurens CountyLaurens County CourthouseLaurens, SC 29360864-984-3538Laurens County Sheriff's Department216 W Main St
Laurens, SC 29360
864-984-4967
Lee CountyLee County Courthouse113 Gregg St
Bishopville, SC 29010
803-484-5341Lee Correctional Institution990 Wisacky Hwy
Bishopville, SC 29010
803-428-2800
Lexington CountyLexington County Courthouse205 E Main St # 146
Lexington, SC 29072
803-785-8212Lexington County Sheriff's Department521 Gibson Rd
Lexington, SC 29072
803-785-8230
Marion CountyMarion County Court Clerk2715 US-76
Mullins, SC 29574
843-423-8208Marion County Detention Center2715 US-76
Mullins, SC 29574
843-423-8216
Marlboro CountyMarlboro County Clerk of Court105 E Main St
Bennettsville, SC 29512
843-479-5613Marlboro County Sheriff239 Throop St
Bennettsville, SC 29512
843-479-5605
McCormick CountyMcCormick County Court House133 S Mine St #102
McCormick, SC 29835
864-852-2195McCormick County Sheriff Office211 Augusta St Ext
McCormick, SC 29835
864-465-2520
Newberry CountyNewberry County Courthouse1226 College St
Newberry, SC 29108
803-321-2110Newberry County Sheriff Office520 Wilson Rd
Newberry, SC 29108
803-321-2211
Oconee CountyOconee County Circuit Court205 W Main St
Walhalla, SC 29691
864-638-4280Oconee County Sheriff's Office300 S Church St
Walhalla, SC 29691
864-638-4111
Orangeburg CountyOrangeburg County Courthouse1406 Amelia St
Orangeburg, SC 29115
803-533-6260Orangeburg County Sheriff1530 Village Square Blvd
Santee, SC 29142
803-854-5106
Pickens CountyPickens County Family Court214 E Main St
Pickens, SC 29671
864-898-5598Pickens County Sheriff's Office216 C David Stone Rd
Pickens, SC 29671
864-898-5500
Richland CountyRichland County Circuit Court1701 Main St #205
Columbia, SC 29201
803-576-1999Richland County Sheriff's Department5623 Two Notch Rd
Columbia, SC 29223
803-576-3000
Saluda CountySaluda County Court House100 S Main St
Saluda, SC 29138
864-445-4500Saluda County Sheriff's Office100 Law Enforcement Dr
Saluda, SC 29138
864-445-2112
Spartanburg CountySpartanburg County Courthouse180 Magnolia St
Spartanburg, SC 29306
864-596-2500Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office8045 Howard St
Spartanburg, SC 29303
864-503-4500
Sumter CountySumter County Courthouse Info13 E Canal St
Sumter, SC 29150
803-436-2100Sumter County Sheriff’s Office1281 N Main St
Sumter, SC 29153
803-436-2000
Union CountyUnion County Clerk of Court210 W Main St
Union, SC 29379
864-429-1630Union County Sheriff210 W Main St
Union, SC 29379
864-429-1612
Williamsburg CountyWilliamsburg County Magistrate209 County Rd S-45-226
Kingstree, SC 29556
843-355-9565Williamsburg County Detention Center126 S Jackson St
Kingstree, SC 29556
843-355-9696
York CountyYork County Clerk of Court1 S Congress St
York, SC 29745
803-684-8505York County Sheriff1675 York Hwy # 2A
York, SC 29745
803-628-3059

 

If you’re worried that someone you know or love has a criminal record and may be hiding it from you, run a quick background check online with ArrestRecords.com. Thanks to public records laws, almost all South Carolina arrests, criminal and civil records are available online, as well as comprehensive background checks and secret data. You can even find South Carolina marriage records, secret divorce records as well as birth and death records.