The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) retains all criminal history records for the state. On its CATCH (Citizens Access to Criminal Histories) website, it’s possible to search and seek records of various crimes that took place in South Carolina using the person’s name and date of birth.
What Are Criminal Records?
Criminal records are those records that describe all of a person’s criminal history. This can include the local, state, and federal criminal information. The record may also include other information about the person, such as their address, date of birth, name, any aliases they have, fingerprints, and a photograph.Your criminal records may include:
- Past arrest information
- Current and pending charges
- Acquitted charges
- Dismissed charges
Any misdemeanors or felonies will also be listed on this report.
How Are Criminal Records Used?
Criminal records can be used in many ways. Usually, they are searched during a background check.
Background checks may happen for several reasons, such as:
- Employment, where a company wants to know about someone they are considering hiring
- School admittance, such as when you apply to a college or university
- Property rental
- Security clearance
- When buying weapons or firearms, since felons cannot purchase or own weapons in most cases.
- Military service
- Fostering or adopting a child
- Voter registration
- When you want to travel internationally and obtain a visa or for naturalization or immigration purposes
- For law enforcement purposes, such as a part of a criminal investigation
How Can Someone Access Your Criminal Records?
Most of the time, you will need to give consent for another person or organization to access your full criminal record. However, law enforcement and government officials may have open access. You may also have to permit certain kinds of purchases, such as buying a firearm.
Some criminal records, such as court hearings, are public records and so open to anyone. For example, you can perform a background check and find out more about a person’s public records, such as their divorce or marital history, DUI records, and past addresses. A criminal record check is often part of an overall background check and is more specific. It includes information such as a person’s arrests, penalties, and convictions.
Sex crimes are relevant to the public and open because of the sex offender registry. Those who commit certain sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders and, in South Carolina, they remain on the registry for life regardless of how severe the crime was. The SC Sex Offender registry is found using SORT. SORT also notifies communities when a sex offender moves into that community.
How Can You Request a Criminal Record?
If you want to request your criminal record or another person’s, then you can do so by going to the CATCH page on the SLED website. There, you will find specific instructions on obtaining a criminal record for yourself or someone else based on the reasoning for obtaining it. You can also request records by mail by sending the records request form, the payment specified on the Website, and a self-addressed stamped envelope to SLED Records Department, PO Box 21398 Columbia SC 29221-1398. If you require a certified copy, you should mention that in your request.
Snow Legal: Getting Off the Sex Offender Registry in South Carolina
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division: Background Checks
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