Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records
What Defines a Criminal Record in South Carolina?
Criminal records provide an official compilation of a person’s criminal history. Also known as a rap sheet, they contain information compiled from trial courts, correctional facilities, and law enforcement agencies operating in local, county or state jurisdictions. While the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, the majority of South Carolina criminal records are organized in online record depositories maintained by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
What’s in a Criminal Record?
The information provided in a criminal record varies. Depending on the subject, some of the information provided in a criminal record may include:
- The subject’s full name and any known aliases
- Date of birth
- Mugshot or photographs
- Records of any past arrests
- Records of any past or current warrant
- Records of charges (pending and acquitted)
What is an Arrest Record?
An arrest record provides the official summary of an individual’s criminal history. It provides information on whether a person has been detained, apprehended, questioned or taken into custody. Arrest records in South Carolina may also provide details on whether a subject has been indicted or tried for any misdemeanor, felony or any other offense. In compliance with the South Carolina Code of Laws, a person can be arrested once they commit a misdemeanor, or if they commit a felony where there are reasonable grounds to believe they committed the crime. If an arrest is issued the crime committed is to be presented in the court.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant in South Carolina is an official document that is signed and issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state jurisdictions. It authorizes law enforcement officers to arrest or detain the person(s) named in the warrant. Warrants may also be issued by a grand jury. Information provided in warrants may include:
- A description of the individual to be arrested
- The reason for the warrant (a description of the charges)
- A signature of a neutral judge or grand jury
- The date the warrant was issued
- The name of the judge
Can Arrests be made Without an Arrest Warrant in South Carolina?
Yes, they can. In certain scenarios, South Carolina laws permit arrests, even without a warrant. In most cases, this occurs when a person commits the crime in an officer’s presence.
What is a Misdemeanor in South Carolina?
A misdemeanor in South Carolina is a non-indictable offense that is categorized as generally less severe than felonies. Like some states, misdemeanor charges in South Carolina are categorized by a class-based system designed to describe the severity of the alleged crime and penalties. These include Class A, B, and C.
- Class A misdemeanors Maximum incarceration of 3 years/$2500 maximum fine
- Class B misdemeanors: Maximum incarceration of 2 years, a fine range of $1,000 to $2,000
- Class C misdemeanors: Maximum incarceration of 1 year, a maximum fine of $1,000
Courts can impose a maximum incarceration penalty for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor based on the class of misdemeanor involved, a jail sentence, a fine and/ or both. Examples of misdemeanors include:
- Possession of marijuana
- Child endangerment
- Destruction of Venus flytrap plant
- Assault or intimidation
- Falsifying a transcript, diploma or record
What is a Felony in South Carolina?
A felony offense is a criminal conviction with a minimum sentence of more than 1 year, which is to be served in a county jail or state prison. In some cases, a felony conviction can even be punished by death. The state of South Carolina organizes felony crimes into six different categories: Class A through Class F. Class A felonies represent the most significant offenses, while Class F crimes are the least serious felonies.
- Class A felonies: Minimum incarceration of 30 years
- Class B felonies: Minimum incarceration of 25 years
- Class C felonies: Minimum incarceration of 20 years
- Class D felonies: Minimum incarceration of 15 years
- Class E felonies: Minimum incarceration of 10 years
- Class F felonies: Minimum incarceration of 5 years
Anyone convicted of a felony offense in South Carolina faces a potential prison sentence that depends on the class of the felony committed. Examples of felonies in South Carolina include:
- Attempted murder or voluntary manslaughter
- Reckless homicide
What is a Sex Offender Listing?
A sex offender listing is a registry of persons who were convicted of committing a sex crime. The registry is often accessible by the public. In most cases, jurisdictions compile their laws into sections, such as traffic, assault and sexual. Judges are given discretion as to whether they require registration for crimes besides the charges listed under the sex offender registration law. A judge may order an adult to register as a sex offender if the crime they were convicted of involves sexual motivation.
What is Megan's Law?
Megan's Law is the term for state laws that create and maintain a sex offender registry, which provides information on registered sex offenders to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government implemented a requirement that all states establish sex offender registries and provide the public with information about those registered. South Carolina mandates the registration of any person, regardless of age, residing in the state, who has been convicted of, adjudicated delinquent for, pled guilty or nolo contendere to a sex offense.
South Carolina Serious Traffic Violation
Serious traffic violations in South Carolina are categorized as traffic offenses and infractions involving the willful disregard for public safety. Serious traffic violations may lead to death, serious bodily injury, damage to property. Serious traffic violations may also arise from multiple minor traffic violations. Drivers who are convicted of a traffic violation have points added to their South Carolina driving record. Once there are 12 points or more on the offender’s driving license, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may suspend the driver's license based on the number of accumulated points:
- 3 months suspension for 12 to 15 points
- 4 months suspension for 16 to 17 points
- 5 months suspension for 18 or 19 points
- 6 months suspension for 20 points or more
South Carolina Conviction Records
A conviction record is an official document providing information that a person was found guilty, pleaded guilty or pleaded nolo contendere against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges can be classified as a felony, misdemeanor or other offense. Conviction records may also contain information on whether a person has been judged delinquent, has been less than honorably discharged or has been placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment that was deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.
South Carolina Jail and Inmate Records
South Carolina public inmate records contain information regarding an offender’s current and past inmate status. The South Carolina Department of Corrections accumulates records on inmates. It may include names, incarceration dates, expected release dates, convicted offenses and photos.
How do I Find Out if Someone is in Jail in State?
The South Carolina Department of Corrections maintains a searchable online search system that members of the public can use to conduct searches for inmate records. It allows for searches by name or inmate number. Members of the public may also be able to obtain records by submitting a written request to:
P.O. Box 21787
4444 Broad River Road
Columbia, SC 29210
What are Parole Records?
Parole records in South Carolina consist of official data regarding the release of inmates who have agreed to certain conditions prior to the completion of their maximum sentence. While the prisoner is on supervised parole, the board shall require as a condition of parole that they pay a monthly supervision fee. The board may also impose any conditions of parole it deems appropriate in order to ensure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of South Carolina are served.
What are Probation Records?
Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in South Carolina to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they comply with probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case. Probation typically falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised and intensive. Intensive probation is a form of very strict probation that emphasizes punishment and control of the offender within the community.
South Carolina Juvenile Criminal Records
A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information regarding criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered to be convicted of a crime like an adult but instead are found to be “adjudicated delinquent. These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.
South Carolina History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. South Carolina criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s when criminal and arrest data started to be centralized and compiled into an organized database much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past, but in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer. As a result of this, the information provided on StateRecords.org will vary from person to person.
The amount of criminal records information presented on StateRecords.org may vary from individual to individual. This is because different sources often have non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes.