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Your Comprehensive Guide to South Carolina Public Records

South Carolina Public Records

Public records in South Carolina include a wide range of documents, information, and data maintained by state and local government agencies, accessible to the public under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This Act, codified in the South Carolina Code of Laws Title 30, Chapter 4, ensures the public's right to access government records, with specific exemptions for privacy and security. Individuals can visit the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act to learn more about the South Carolina FOIA.

Are South Carolina Records Public?

Yes, records in South Carolina are public. The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act mandates that most records held by state and local government entities are available for public inspection and copying. However, exceptions exist to protect sensitive information. More information about this Act and accessing public records can be found at the South Carolina Press Association.

What do South Carolina Public Records Include?

South Carolina public records include various types of documents and information:

  • Vital Records: Such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce records maintained by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. More details can be found at South Carolina DHEC Vital Records.
  • Property Records: Information on property ownership, assessments, and taxes available through local county assessors' offices, like the Charleston County Assessor.
  • Criminal Records: Managed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), offering criminal history and background checks. Visit SLED Criminal Records Check.
  • Court Records: These include records from civil and criminal cases, accessible through the South Carolina Judicial Branch. Information can be found at the South Carolina Judicial Department.
  • Business Records: The South Carolina Secretary of State oversees business filings and registrations. Detailed information is available at the South Carolina Secretary of State.

How to Find Public Records in South Carolina

To find public records in South Carolina, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the Record Type: Determine the specific type of record you need, such as a birth certificate or a property record.
  2. Locate the Responsible Agency: Different records are maintained by various agencies. For instance, the Department of Health and Environmental Control makes vital records available.
  3. Submit a Records Request: Each agency has a process for requesting records, usually available online, in person, or by mail.
  4. Adhere to Agency Guidelines: Comply with the agency's specific requirements, including completing forms and providing necessary identification.
  5. Pay Any Required Fees: Some records may involve fees for processing or copying.
  6. Wait for Processing: There may be a waiting period before the records are available.

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History offers resources and information for additional guidance.

Lookup Public Records in South Carolina

Key departments in South Carolina related to Public Records include:

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