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South Carolina Criminal Records

In South Carolina, criminal records are the official collection of a person's criminal history. Criminal records, sometimes called rap sheets, comprise information obtained by trial courts, correctional institutions, and law enforcement institutions in municipal, county, or state jurisdictions.

These records can include information such as the individual's name, date of birth, mugshot, fingerprints, and details about their criminal offenses, including the type of offense, the date of the crime, and the sentence imposed.

Law enforcement agencies, courts, and other authorized parties use them to make informed decisions about individuals' suitability for specific jobs, licenses, and other opportunities.

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), law enforcement agencies, authorized government agencies, and individuals with a legitimate need for the information, such as employers conducting background checks, can access South Carolina Criminal Records.

Individuals can also request a copy of their criminal record to check for accuracy and completeness.

In South Carolina, criminal records are subject to certain restrictions on who can access them and for what purposes. For example, certain criminal records, such as those related to juvenile offenses, may be sealed or expunged in certain circumstances.

Additionally, employers and other parties must comply with federal and state laws regarding using criminal records in hiring and other employment decisions to prevent discrimination based on criminal history.

What Are the Types of Crimes in South Carolina?

Like every state in the U.S., South Carolina has a defined set of criminal offenses punishable by law. These offenses are categorized into different types based on their severity and nature.

Understanding the types of crimes in South Carolina is essential for individuals, law enforcement agencies, and the criminal justice system as a whole, as it helps in identifying and preventing illegal activities.

Below are the different kinds of crimes in South Carolina, along with instances of each and the corresponding punishments:


Felonies are the most serious crimes in South Carolina and carry severe penalties upon conviction. South Carolina categorizes felonies into six classes, ranging from Class A to Class F. Class A denotes the most severe form of a felony, while Class F signifies the least serious one.

Class A Felonies

In South Carolina, Class A felonies are the most severe type of felony offense, punishable by the highest penalties under the law.

Offenses under Class A felonies in South Carolina can result in significant penalties, including imprisonment for up to 30 years. Examples of such crimes include:

  • Murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Rape
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Kidnapping
  • Bank robbery
  • Robbery while carrying a lethal weapon

Class B Felonies

In South Carolina, Class B felonies are serious offenses that carry significant penalties under the law. These crimes are considered less severe than Class A felonies but are still associated with severe consequences.

This felony type carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years and encompasses a range of offenses, including:

  • Second-degree assault
  • Hit and run resulting in death
  • DWI (driving while intoxicated) resulting in a death
  • Battery by mob
  • Second-degree arson
  • Money laundering
  • Drug trafficking

Class C Felonies

Suppose an individual is guilty of Class C felonies in South Carolina. In that case, they may be subject to severe penalties, including imprisonment for up to 20 years. Some examples of crimes under this category are as follows:

  • Attempted armed robbery
  • Aggravated assault and battery
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Non-fatal carjacking
  • Robbing a person at an ATM

Class D Felonies

Individuals who commit a Class D felony in South Carolina can face up to 15 years of imprisonment. This crime category encompasses a variety of offenses, including:

  • Second-degree burglary
  • First-offense meth or cocaine production or sales
  • Third-degree arson
  • Abuse or neglect of a vulnerable elder causing severe harm
  • Robbery under common law (also known as "strong arm")

Class E Felonies

Committing a Class E felony in South Carolina could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. In South Carolina, the following offenses are Class E felonies:

  • Reckless homicide
  • First-degree sexual misconduct
  • First-degree assault and battery
  • Spousal sexual battery
  • Child maltreatment
  • Receiving stolen items with a value of at least $10,000
  • Bribery of a public official or the acceptance of bribery
  • Malicious damage to animals and personal property (worth at least $10,000)
  • Blackmail

Class F Felonies

Individuals with this type of felony on their South Carolina Criminal Records may be subject to a maximum prison sentence of five years. The offenses falling under Class F Felonies may include:

  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Felony-related restraining order violation
  • The second or subsequent offense of voyeurism
  • Stalking
  • Carrying weapons on school grounds
  • Perjury
  • Grand larceny (between $2,000 and $10,000 in value)


Similar to other states, South Carolina organizes its misdemeanors into classes determined by the severity of the purported offense and associated penalties.

Class A misdemeanors are the most severe in South Carolina, while Class C offenses are the least brutal. Misdemeanors not falling under these categories are exempt misdemeanors and carry maximum penalties of one year.

Class A Misdemeanors

The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is three years in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. The offenses included under this category are:

  • First-degree harassment
  • Third-offense graffiti vandalism
  • First-offense shoplifting
  • Receiving stolen items ($2,000–$10,000)
  • Second-degree assault and battery
  • Sending indecent texts without consent

Class B Misdemeanors

Individuals who commit misdemeanors under this type will receive a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 and a maximum of two years in jail. Some of the crimes that fall under Class B misdemeanors include:

  • Falsifying a claim for benefits
  • First-offense drug possession
  • Third and subsequent offenses of animal cruelty
  • Inciting or engaging in a riot
  • Use of a weapon while intoxicated
  • Use of forged tickets

Class C Misdemeanors

If a person commits a Class C misdemeanor, they will be sentenced to a year in jail and have to pay a $1,000 fine. The crimes that fall under this category are:

  • Impersonating a policeman
  • Thefts of cable television services
  • Fraudulent registration or voting
  • Possession or use of unlawful gaming equipment
  • Slander or libel
  • Third and subsequent offenses of prostitution
  • Assault while concealing a weapon

Exempt Misdemeanors

This misdemeanor category carries a jail sentence of less than one year. Some of the offenses that fall under exempt misdemeanors in South Carolina include:

  • Trespassing
  • Underage possession of alcoholic beverages
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Permitting a fire to spread onto another's property
  • Child endangerment
  • Third-degree domestic violence
  • Non-registration as a sexual offender

How Does Probation Work in South Carolina?

Probation is a typical sentence handed down by judges in South Carolina as an alternative to jail time. It is a form of community supervision that allows an offender to serve their sentence outside of prison walls while still under the watchful eye of a probation officer.

The Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (DPPPS) manages probation in South Carolina.

State law in South Carolina disqualifies certain serious offenses from being eligible for probation. Thus, an individual's conviction must meet specific criteria to be eligible.

Probation cannot be granted for the most severe felonies in General Sessions Court. These crimes include murder, armed robbery, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Furthermore, probation is not an option for misdemeanors heard in Municipal Courts in South Carolina, including offenses such as first-time driving under the influence (DUI), shoplifting, third-degree assault and battery, and first-time domestic violence charges.

In South Carolina, the court can sentence an individual to a maximum of five years on probation, even for a crime with a lengthy prison sentence.

Conditions of Probation in South Carolina

When an offender is placed on probation in South Carolina, they must follow certain conditions set by the court.

These conditions may include attending counseling or rehabilitation programs, submitting to drug and alcohol tests, performing community service, and maintaining employment. The offender must also meet their probation officer regularly, who monitors their progress and ensures they adhere to their probation conditions.

Suppose an offender fails to comply with the terms of their probation. In that case, their probation officer can report the violation to the court, which may result in the probation revocation and a jail sentence imposition.

South Carolina also has specialized probation programs for certain types of offenders. For example, the state's drug court program offers intensive treatment and supervision for drug offenders. These programs aim to address the underlying issues that led to the offender's criminal behavior and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

In addition, South Carolina has a program called "intermediate sanctions," which allows probation officers to impose electronic monitoring or house arrest for minor probation violations instead of revoking probation and sending the offender to jail.

How Does Parole Work in South Carolina?

Parole in South Carolina is a form of early release from prison that allows an offender to serve the remainder of their sentence in the community under supervision. In South Carolina, the DPPPS is responsible for overseeing the parole system.

On the other hand, the Parole Board is responsible for making parole decisions in South Carolina. It comprises seven members selected by the governor with the state Senate's advice and approval. The board meets monthly to review cases and determine whether an offender is eligible for parole.

In South Carolina, an offender must serve a particular portion of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. For instance, an individual sentenced to under 30 years is eligible for parole after serving at least one-third of their sentence.

For those sentenced to life imprisonment or a period exceeding 30 years, parole eligibility is granted after serving at least ten years.

If an offender is granted parole, they are required to comply with specific conditions set by the DPPPS. These conditions may include reporting to a parole officer, remaining employed, attending counseling sessions, and avoiding criminal activity.

Failure to comply with these conditions can result in parole revocation and a return to prison.

Parolees may request a pardon after completing five years under supervision. If the maximum parole length is shorter than five years, parolees who have fulfilled their parole must be considered for pardon upon request anytime after discharge.

In South Carolina, a pardon is an act of executive clemency by the governor that forgives an individual for their conviction and restores certain rights and privileges lost due to their criminal record. A pardon does not erase the individual's South Carolina Criminal Records but can make it easier for them to obtain employment and housing, among other benefits.

How Does Expungement Work in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, individuals can expunge certain criminal records, which means they can erase or seal them from public view and obtain a fresh start without the burden of a criminal record. However, the South Carolina expungement process can be complex and might require the assistance of an attorney in some cases.

South Carolina has strict eligibility requirements that must be met before granting an expungement, as not all criminal offenses are eligible.

Some of the eligibility requirements in South Carolina expungement include the following:

  • If a charge was dismissed, not prosecuted, or if a person was found not guilty
  • If a person completed a Pre-Trial Intervention Program, a Traffic Education Program, and an Alcohol Education Program
  • If a person has a first-offense misdemeanor conviction for writing a false check and no conviction of another crime within one year
  • If a person has a record of first-offense misdemeanor drug possession, received a conditional discharge, and completed the terms of the discharge
  • If a person has a conviction with a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail or a $1,000 fine and three years have passed without any new convictions
  • If the conviction of a person is first-degree domestic violence, and five years have passed without any new convictions
  • If a person has first offense conviction under the Youthful Offender Act (YOA) and hasn't been convicted of another crime in five years
  • If a person was a victim of human trafficking and convicted of trafficking in persons or prostitution, and their participation in the offense was a direct result of being a victim
  • If a person has a first offense failure to stop their vehicle for the police and three years have passed without any new convictions

Steps Involved in Seeking an Expungement in South Carolina

To begin the expungement process, an individual should take the following steps:

Step 1: Obtain a copy of their criminal record from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). This record will help the individual identify what can be expunged and where they need to go for the expungement. Using their criminal record, the individual should determine what expungement they are eligible for.

Step 2: Contact the Solicitor's Office in the county that filed the charge or conviction to obtain an application for expungement. The individual should fill out the necessary forms the Solicitor's Office provides.

Step 3: The individual should talk with the Solicitor's Office staff in charge of expungements and ask questions regarding the procedure. They should also inquire about other needed documents to complete their application and how to obtain them.

Step 4: After fulfilling the other documents or requirements, the individual should obtain the required money orders for the fees associated with their specific type of expungement. It is important to note that no cash or personal checks are accepted. The individual should verify the costs with the Solicitor's Office before obtaining and completing the money orders.

One may not need to attend a hearing if one's petition is not contested. However, a hearing will be scheduled if the Solicitor's Office objects to their petition. At the hearing, they will have an opportunity to present evidence and argue their case for expungement.

If the court grants their petition for expungement, they will receive an order. The order will direct all relevant agencies to seal or destroy their South Carolina Criminal Records.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in South Carolina?

South Carolina offers a simple process for obtaining a criminal record that can be done online or by mail.

To obtain South Carolina Criminal Records online, one must use the Citizens Access To Criminal Histories (CATCH) portal of the SLED. The CATCH portal allows individuals to perform a name-based search online by giving the subject's first initial, last name, date of birth, and social security number, if available, to retrieve a result.

One must pay the non-refundable and convenience fees online through credit or debit cards for obtaining a criminal record using the CATCH.

Interested parties must fill out the Criminal Record Check Form for mail-in requests. Like with the CATCH, providing accurate personal information, including full name, date of birth, and social security number, is essential when requesting a criminal record through the mail. The request may be delayed or denied if any of this information is incorrect or incomplete.

Unlike with the CATCH, the mail-in request does not incur a convenience fee, and the requester must only pay the non-refundable fee via a certified check or money order. After attaching the payment, send the application packet to the SLED mailing address provided in the form. The requester must enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive the results.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in South Carolina?

South Carolina employers must adhere to strict regulations when conducting criminal background checks on prospective employees. These laws are in place to protect both the employer and the applicant, ensuring that the hiring process is fair and equitable.

Here are the primary criminal background check laws in South Carolina:

Ban the Box Law

Senate Bill 416, often known as the "Ban the Box" bill, prevents employers from requesting an applicant's criminal history on the first employment application. Employers can only ask about criminal history after the initial application has been submitted and the employer has decided to move forward with the applicant.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA governs the acquisition, publication, and use of consumer information, such as credit reports and criminal histories. It imposes certain obligations on consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and those who use the information they provide, such as employers and landlords.

These obligations include providing consumers access to their information, requiring accuracy and fairness in reporting, and obtaining the consumer's consent before releasing the data to a third party. The FCRA also provides consumers the right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information and seek damages for violations of their rights.

South Carolina Code of Laws Section 37-20-170

According to this state code, if a CRA denies an applicant's request for employment based on their background check, the agency must provide the applicant with a written notice.

This notice must include the basis for the denial and evidence that supports the accuracy of the information used in the decision.

Limitations on Conviction Records

South Carolina law also limits the type of conviction records employers can consider during a background check. For instance, employers cannot consider records of arrests that did not result in a conviction, sealed records, or records expunged.

The South Carolina Code of Laws section 17-22-960 prohibits employers from using expunged criminal records in employment decisions. It means employers cannot consider expunged criminal records when hiring or firing.

The law also protects employers who hire individuals with expunged records from negligent hiring lawsuits. It means employers cannot be sued for hiring someone with an expunged record.


Counties in South Carolina

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in South Carolina

Greenville County Sheriff's Office4 McGee St, Greenville, SC
Richland County Sheriff's Office5623 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, SC
Charleston County Sheriff's Office3691 Leeds Ave, North Charleston, SC
Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office8045 Howard St, Spartanburg , SC
Horry County Sheriff's Office1301 2nd Ave, Conway, SC
Lexington County Sheriff's Office521 Gibson Rd, Lexington, SC
York County Sheriff's Office1675-2A York Highway, York , SC
Anderson County Sheriff's Office305 Camson Road, Anderson , SC
Berkeley County Sheriff's Office223 N Live Oak Dr, Moncks Corner, SC
Beaufort County Sheriff's Office2001 Duke St., Beaufort , SC