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Charleston County Arrest Records

Enforcing the law in Charleston County, South Carolina, often leads to the arrest of individuals believed to be involved in criminal activities. Upon apprehension, these individuals are detained at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center, a secure facility under the jurisdiction of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office is tasked with creating and maintaining records of arrests, which provide an official account of an individual's encounter with the law enforcement system.

The significance of arrest records extends beyond documenting arrests—they play a pivotal role in the judicial process. By aligning arrest records with Charleston County court records, one can effectively monitor the trajectory of a criminal case, observing its evolution from the initial arrest to the final stages of prosecution.

Are Arrest Records Public in Charleston County?

Yes. Arrest records are predominantly public documents accessible by the Charleston County community under the provisions of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA empowers citizens to inspect and review governmental records, promoting transparency and accountability within public agencies.

Despite the general rule of openness, not all arrest details are available for public scrutiny. The FOIA safeguards certain information from being disclosed to protect privacy and the integrity of law enforcement investigations. The following are typically withheld from public access:

  • Personal Identifiers: Information such as social security numbers and driver's license numbers are omitted to prevent identity theft.
  • Sensitive Details: Data that could compromise someone's safety or hinder the progress of an ongoing investigation is kept confidential.
  • Juvenile Records: Records about minors are usually sealed, reflecting the legal stance on juvenile privacy and rehabilitation.

What Do Public Arrest Records Contain?

Public arrest records in Charleston County encompass the following elements:

Personal Information: This generally includes the suspect's full name and date of birth and may also include visual identification, such as a photograph or mugshot.

Arrest Details: This entails the specifics of an arrest incident, noting the exact date and time when the individual was taken into custody. It also details the precise location of the arrest and identifies the law enforcement agency responsible for the apprehension.

Charges: The arrest record will also list the specific charges or alleged offenses that led to an individual's arrest. Charges could range from minor infractions to serious felonies.

Bond Information: If applicable, the record will include information regarding the bond set for the individual's release pending trial, such as the bond amount and any conditions that must be met for the individual's release.

Court Information: Information about the court where a case is scheduled to be heard, as well as important dates and times for hearings.

Charleston County Crime Rate

The 2022 Crime in South Carolina annual report highlights the following statistics for Charleston County: 48 murders, 1,571 aggravated assaults, 41 arson cases, 1,073 incidents of breaking and entering (B&E), 343 robberies, 1,775 motor vehicle thefts, 8,996 larcenies, and 177 sexual battery incidents.

Comparatively, the 2021 report showed 68 murders, 1,651 aggravated assaults, 42 arson cases, 1,141 incidents of B&E, 385 robberies, 1,646 motor vehicle thefts, 9,658 larcenies, and 198 sexual battery incidents.

This data reveals decreases in several crime types from 2021 to 2022. For example, murder dropped from 68 to 48 incidents, aggravated assaults from 1,651 to 1,571, and arson from 42 to 41. Furthermore, B&E reduced from 1,141 to 1,073 cases in 2022, robberies from 385 to 343, larcenies from 9,658 to 8,996, and sexual battery from 198 to 177. However, motor vehicle thefts increased from 1,646 to 1,775 in 2022.

Charleston County Arrest Statistics

According to the Crime in South Carolina annual report, Charleston County's total arrest rate in 2022 was 285.47 per 100,000 people. The number of arrests increased slightly from 11,622 in 2021 to 11,969 in 2022, indicating a subtle rise in local arrest activity.

Find Charleston County Arrest Records

Residents of Charleston County have several avenues to obtain arrest records.

Charleston County Sheriff's Office: The Charleston County Sheriff's Office is the primary resource for local arrest information. Its website is a hub for up-to-date arrest data and inmate details. The site features a user-friendly inmate search tool, enabling the public to locate current detainees easily. The Sheriff's office also welcomes direct requests via phone at (843) 202-1700 or in-person at:

3691 Leeds Avenue
North Charleston, SC 29405

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED): For a broader search scope, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division provides comprehensive criminal background checks, which include arrest records. SLED's online portal facilitates the submission of criminal records requests, subject to a non-refundable processing fee of $25. For those preferring traditional methods or requiring further assistance, SLED can be reached at (803) 737-9000, or one can send a mail-in request with the Criminal Records Check Form. The SLED's office is located at:

4400 Broad River Road
Columbia, SC 29210

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP): In cases where the individual is placed in federal custody, inquirers can search the Federal Bureau of Prisons online inmate locator tool. This digital service allows a nationwide search of federal inmates using identifiers such as a name or register number. For additional support or specific queries, the BOP's contact line at (202) 307-3198 is available, or the inquirer can visit their head office at:

320 First Street
Washington, DC 20534

Free Arrest Record Search in Charleston County

Individuals seeking arrest records for free in Charleston County can start by searching with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office inmate search tool. The tool can be searched with a last name or inmate number.

Additionally, some third-party websites offer free arrest record searches besides official government sources. However, exercising caution when accessing these sites is crucial, as they may not always provide accurate or up-to-date information. Also, some websites may offer limited free searches, often as a teaser, with the option to purchase more detailed reports.

Get Charleston County Criminal Records

Criminal records in Charleston County, commonly called criminal history records, serve as a comprehensive repository of an individual's legal encounters, including arrests, criminal charges, and court convictions. These records are curated and preserved by criminal justice agencies and can be accessed through the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

For those seeking to acquire criminal records in Charleston County, the following avenues are available:

Online Public Index Search: The Charleston County Judicial Department offers a digital search platform where individuals can retrieve information about criminal cases, including some arrest details. Users can access records of judicial proceedings by entering a name or case number.

Sheriff's Office: The Charleston County Sheriff's Office is equipped to provide a criminal history report spanning up to two decades. To request these records, individuals must complete the Criminal Records Check Form and remit a nominal fee of $5. This process facilitates the acquisition of a person's criminal history for personal use or other legal reasons.

Charleston County Arrest Records Vs. Criminal Records

There is a clear distinction between arrest records and criminal records in Charleston County.

Arrest records are official documents produced when an individual is apprehended by police. These records contain a formal account of an arrest incident, detailing the individual apprehended, the specific allegations brought against them, the arrest date, and the arresting law enforcement agency. It is important to note that an arrest record does not imply guilt; it merely indicates that the person was taken into custody and does not confirm any criminal conduct.

On the other hand, criminal records are far more detailed and encompass the entirety of the individual's criminal past. The records state the offenses for which the individual was charged, the final judgment, and the penalties imposed. The implications of having a criminal record are profound, potentially affecting numerous facets of one's life, from employment opportunities to social relationships and beyond.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record?

An arrest record typically remains on a person's criminal record indefinitely. However, under certain conditions, individuals can petition for an expungement, which removes the arrest from public records. A successful expungement means that the arrest record will no longer appear in background checks, offering the subject a chance to move forward without the lingering impact of a past arrest.

Expunge Charleston County Arrest Records

The South Carolina Code of Law § 17-22-910 governs the expungement of arrest records in Charleston County. Expungement means removing or destroying arrest records from public access, erasing the incident from an individual's criminal history.

To be eligible for expungement in Charleston County, a person must meet certain criteria:

  • Non-Conviction: Individuals arrested but not convicted are generally eligible for expungement. This includes cases where charges were dismissed or the individual was found not guilty.
  • First-Time Offenders: Certain first-time offenses, such as minor drug offenses and specific misdemeanors, can be expunged.
  • Completion of Intervention Programs: Individuals who complete pre-trial intervention (PTI) programs, the Alcohol Education Program (AEP), or the Traffic Education Program (TEP) can qualify for expungement.
  • Youthful Offenders: Those convicted under the Youthful Offender Act (YOA) can have their records expunged after a certain period, provided they have no other convictions.
  • Convictions for Certain Offenses: Some non-violent offenses, like first offense simple possession of marijuana, fraudulent check convictions, and certain misdemeanors, can be expunged after a set period, usually after several years if the individual has no other convictions.

The expungement process in Charleston County involves several steps:

  • Determine Eligibility: The first step is ascertaining if the arrest or conviction qualifies for expungement.
  • Obtain Certified Records: Secure a certified copy of the case disposition from the court where the case was heard. This document is crucial for the expungement application.
  • Complete Required Forms: Fill out the necessary expungement application forms, available through the Clerk of Court's office, the solicitor's office, or the South Carolina Judicial Department's Forms website.
  • Pay Fees: The process involves various fees, including those paid to the solicitor's office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Fees may be waived in certain circumstances, such as when charges were dismissed or the individual was acquitted.
  • Submit Application: Submit the completed application, certified records, and any required fees to the solicitor's office in the circuit where the arrest occurred. The solicitor will review the application and may request additional information or documentation.
  • Solicitor's Review and Approval: The solicitor's office will ensure the application complies with all statutory requirements. If it meets the criteria, the solicitor will forward it to a judge for final approval.
  • Court Order: Upon the judge's approval, a court order will be issued directing applicable criminal justice agencies to expunge the arrest record, ensuring it is removed from public access.
  • Notification: Relevant agencies, including the arresting agency, the detention center, and the SLED, will be notified to expunge the records from their files.

Charleston County Arrest Warrants

An arrest warrant is a critical legal instrument sanctioned by a judge or magistrate; it empowers police officers to capture and detain an individual suspected of criminal activity. In Charleston County, the initiation of an arrest warrant is predicated on the submission of compelling evidence by law enforcement to a judicial authority. This is typically executed through an affidavit, establishing probable cause to believe that a crime has been perpetrated by the suspect.

The issuance of such a warrant is particularly imperative when the accused is not readily accessible for immediate arrest after the levying of charges or in cases where the individual has neglected to make a mandated court appearance.

Contained within an arrest warrant issued in Charleston County are several vital pieces of information:

  • Identifying Information: The full name of the individual targeted for arrest, or in the absence of a name, a distinctive description that uniquely identifies them.
  • Charges: The alleged criminal offense(s) that prompted the warrant's issuance.
  • Issuance Date: The date the arrest warrant was issued.
  • Jurisdictional Scope: The geographical boundaries within which the warrant is enforceable, generally confined to the boundaries of South Carolina.
  • Judicial Endorsement: The signature of the authorizing judge or magistrate, which confers legitimacy upon the warrant.

The Charleston County Sheriff's Office is responsible for the filing and execution of arrest warrants. The office operates a specialized Warrants Unit tasked with investigating and apprehending defendants, ensuring adherence to state laws and judicial directives. The public is granted access to a database that disseminates warrant information maintained by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. However, it is strongly recommended that individuals refrain from taking personal measures based on this data.

It is important to note that wanted persons may use false identification, which could cause the warrant to contain incorrect information. Consequently, any measures pertaining to an active warrant ought to be undertaken in collaboration with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office or other pertinent law enforcement agencies.

Charleston County Arrest Warrant Search

Individuals seeking to ascertain the presence of active warrants in Charleston County may use any of the following avenues:

Access the Charleston County Sheriff's Office Website: The first step involves navigating to the official website of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. On this site, one should seek out the warrants search section. This tool enables users to search for active warrants by inputting an individual's last name and, if known, their first name.

Reach Out to the Warrants Unit: For those who require additional assistance or have specific inquiries, it is advisable to contact the Sheriff's Office's Warrants Unit. This unit is accessible during regular business hours and can offer support and detailed information regarding warrant searches.

Do Charleston County Arrest Warrants Expire?

No. Arrest warrants remain valid indefinitely in Charleston County. The records are only rendered inactive when the subject is arrested and brought before a judge or magistrate. Legal proceedings are the sole means of addressing an outstanding warrant, which involves either voluntary surrender or capture by the police.

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