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Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, any person has the right to request access to public records: criminal records, arrests & warrants, inmate records, vital records & more.

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How to Access South Carolina Criminal Records

South Carolina criminal records chronicle criminal activities occurring all over the state. Criminal cases include cases like felonies, misdemeanors, traffic infractions, sex offenses, burglary, theft and so on. A systematic and explicit record of all the cases and about the persons involved in them has manifold utility. These records are maintained by the government law enforcement agencies and are accessible by the public. These are full of information on federal criminal courts, state criminal courts, police arrests, jail records and prison records.

Types of Criminal Record Searches


The procedure to conduct a name-based record search has been modified since July of 2009. As it is known, a name-based search is not always accurate. Fingerprint-based searches are the most reliable way to conduct criminal record checks. They have a close to zero probability of resulting in a false negative or a false positive result. Because of this, many people who go through the South Carolina criminal records often use the fingerprint-based search instead of the name-based search.

Where to Search for Records


If someone needs not only to view but also to procure the data on paper, a SLED CATCH allows that. It is used to view and print criminal records information only from the state of South Carolina. Not every time can the general public access a South Carolina criminal record. National criminal record information required for non-criminal purposes is not made public for the general citizen. These can be accessed only by authorized personnel.  A limited request for criminal records,made by mail is also accepted by SLED.

While conducting a search, using a government-issued identifying document to confirm the name minimizes getting a false result. All these checks for a South Carolina criminal record require a non-refundable charge.

The state of South Carolina also allows access to the private criminal conviction records from the state criminal records repositories. The number to call for assistance for this is 803-737-9000. The mailing address of SLED is:
Post Office Box 21398
Columbia, SC 29221

The headquarters of SLED is located at 4400 Broad River Road, Columbia, SC 292210. To get answers to questions regarding record checks, one should call 803-896-1443.

For an inmate search, the South Carolina Department of Corrections can be of immense help. They not only have data about current inmates but also on escapees and those on the death row. For free inmate information call 877-846-3472. To search for inmates online go to

The criminal records also contain information about sex offenders. Information on these can be accessed free of any charge. They contain details about any person who is working in South Carolina or residing in the state, who has been convicted of sex offenses in the past. They provide details regarding the person's physical appearance, the charges he was convicted of and also if he was sentenced. To call the SLED sex offender registry dial (803) 896-2601. The following link may provide useful information in this context:

Access to criminal records enables people to perform background checks on any suspicious individual. These checks can be carried out by anyone, but are of particular importance to employers who carry out pre-employment checks on prospective employees. These are also used by citizens to check on suspicious neighbors or a new nanny or babysitter they may be considering.


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