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Dorchester County Court Records

The provisions of the Freedom of Information Act govern the maintenance and dissemination of court records in South Carolina. These documents include case information, judgments, dockets, and other documents generated in judicial proceedings.

According to Rule 78 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, court administrators are expected to develop protocols for the creation, upkeep, disposal, and destruction of court records. In Dorchester County, South Carolina, court records offer comprehensive information on every court proceeding and decision. They are important for maintaining an official account of legal matters and serve as references for legal practitioners as well as members of the public.

Are Court Records Public in Dorchester County?

Yes, Dorchester County court records are accessible to the public under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act section 30-4-30. Nonetheless, the Circuit Court Clerk retains the authority to limit access to confidential sections of court documents under certain circumstances. Typically, the Clerk will redact such sensitive information to adhere to federal and state regulations concerning privacy and public safety.

In Dorchester County, certain records remain inaccessible to the public due to their potential to breach privacy, interfere with ongoing investigations, or compromise an individual's right to a fair trial. Some examples of these records include:

  • Medical files
  • Sealed family court documents
  • Income tax records
  • Adoption records.
  • Trade secrets
  • Records, video or audio recordings, or other information compiled for law enforcement purposes,
  • Correspondence or work products of legal counsel for a public body and any other material that would violate attorney-client relationships
  • Amongst others

Dorchester County Court Records Search

In Dorchester County, individuals can access court records through several avenues, including:

  • The Dorchester County Clerk of Court's office
  • The courthouse where the case was initially filed
  • An online portal provided by the Dorchester County court system
  • Third-party public records websites authorized to provide access to court records.

Dorchester County Court Records Search by Name

Persons interested in searching and obtaining court records in Dorchester County are typically required to provide the name (first name and last name) of the subject of the desired record. A Dorchester County court records search by name involves providing this information to the appropriate court clerk in Dorchester County. The custodian to which this query is directed depends on the case in question:

  • The Dorchester County Clerk is responsible for managing and releasing court records from both the Circuit Court and the Family Court.
  • Those who seek certified records can reach out to the Clerk of Court at the Dorchester County Courthouse or directly visit the appropriate courthouse (Typically where the case was adjudicated)

While interested users are expected to provide basic credentials such as name and case number to facilitate the search of records, some court clerks may demand that inquirers fill out a record request form before obtaining court records.

Alternatively, inquirers may perform a court records search by name using the Maryland Judiciary Case Search portal.

To use the portal, inquirers should provide the case number, party name, or other advanced means of initiating the case search.

Dorchester County Courts

Dorchester County's judicial system operates within the First Judicial Circuit of South Carolina. The Circuit Court serves as the county's principal court, encompassing the Court of Common Pleas for civil matters and General Sessions for criminal cases.

Additionally, the county hosts various other courts, such as a family court, probate court, Magistrate Court, and four Municipal Courts.

Dorchester County Courthouse
5200 East Jim Bilton Blvd
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: (843) 563-0160

Dorchester County Family Court
Troy Knight Judicial Complex
212 Deming Way, P.O. Box 1885
Summerville, SC 29484
Phone: (843) 563-0360

Dorchester County Probate Court
Dorchester County Courthouse
5200 East Jim Bilton Blvd
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: (843) 563-5785

Dorchester County Magistrate Court - St. George
Dorchester County Courthouse
5200 East Jim Bilton Blvd,
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: (843) 563-0130

Dorchester County Magistrate Court - Summerville
Troy Knight Judicial Complex
212 Deming Way,
Box 10
Summerville, SC 29483
Phone: (843) 832-0370

Harleyville Municipal Court
119 South Railroad Avenue,
P.O. Box 35,
Harleyville, SC 29448
Phone: (843) 462-7676

Ridgeville Municipal Court
105 School Street,
Ridgeville, SC 29472
Phone: (843) 871-7960

St. George Municipal Court
601 South Parler Avenue,
St. George, SC 29477

305 Ridge Street,
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: (843) 563-3240

Summerville Municipal Court
200 South Main Street,
Summerville, SC 29483
Phone: (843) 875-2010

Dorchester County Superior Court Case Search

The Circuit Court in Dorchester County functions as the state's primary court with broad jurisdiction. It comprises a civil division, known as the Court of Common Pleas, and a criminal division, referred to as the Court of General Sessions. Apart from its role as a trial court, the Circuit Court also holds limited appellate authority over cases appealed from lower courts, encompassing the Probate Court, Magistrate's Court, and Municipal Court.

The Dorchester County Clerk of Court is responsible for managing and furnishing copies of records from both the Circuit Court and Family Court. Additionally, records from other courts under the Clerk's jurisdiction within the courthouse where the case was handled are also maintained. Accessibility to Dorchester County court records, spanning Circuit, Family, and Magistrate Courts, is facilitated online through the Dorchester County First Judicial Circuit Public Index. Those seeking certified records can contact the Clerk of Court at the Dorchester County Courthouse or visit the appropriate courthouse directly.

To obtain records available within the Dorchester Circuit Court, individuals can access the court's searchable online database made available by the County Clerk. This platform enables remote access to case information, filings, and related documents.

Alternatively, interested individuals can physically access court records at the county clerk's office. Inquirers are required to furnish the attendant at the office with pertinent details that would assist in locating the desired court record. These details could either be the case name, number or any other detail that would assist in locating the desired records. Interested persons can visit the Clerk at the address below:

Dorchester County Courthouse
5200 E Jim Bilton Boulevard
St George, SC 29477

Dorchester County District Court Records

The Dorchester County District Court handles landlord/tenant disputes, replevin actions (which involve the recovery of personal property), and traffic violations, ensuring fair adjudication of these civil and traffic-related issues. The court also hears criminal cases categorized as misdemeanors and certain felonies. This jurisdictional scope extends to civil cases involving monetary claims amounting to $30,000 or less.

Dorchester County Criminal Records

In Dorchester County, most criminal records are generally accessible to the public. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is authorized by the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act to disclose conviction and arrest details to interested members of the public. However, access to a complete criminal record is typically restricted to the individual named on the record and law enforcement officials, as outlined in S.C. Code Ann. § 63-19-2030(8). Additionally, juvenile criminal records are considered confidential and are not open to public scrutiny, as South Carolina law does not categorize juvenile adjudications as criminal convictions. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Department of Juvenile Justice maintain records of juvenile criminal history.

SLED offers name-based criminal history checks to the public and fingerprint-based searches upon court order or in compliance with state/federal statutes. Interested parties can request a criminal history check through the SLED CATCH online portal, with each request incurring a $25 fee, payable by credit/debit card, along with an additional $1 service charge. Alternatively, individuals can complete a Criminal Records Check Form, specifying if they require a notarized or certified check. The requester must include a check or money order for the $25 processing fee, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and send the request by mail to:

SLED Records Department
P.O. Box 21398
Columbia, SC 29221-1398

Dorchester County Criminal Court Case Lookup

The Dorchester County Clerk of Courts oversees criminal court records. The First Judicial Circuit Court Public Index hosts a variety of public criminal court documents. Individuals interested in accessing these records can enter the party's name and case number.

Alternatively, criminal court records are also available from the Dorchester County Clerk of Court's office or any Courthouse clerks involved in the proceedings. Persons seeking to obtain the documents in person may contact the Dorchester County Clerk of Court's office at:

Dorchester County Circuit Court
Dorchester County Courthouse
5200 East Jim Bilton Boulevard
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: (843) 563-0160

Get Dorchester County Civil Court Records

The Dorchester County Clerk of Courts is the primary custodian of civil court case records. Individuals seeking these records can utilize the online search feature provided by the First Judicial Circuit Court Public Index. To access civil court case files, users must input specific search criteria such as the party's name and case number, and they can refine their search preferences using the drop-down menu for more accurate results.

Additionally, civil court case records are accessible at the Clerk's office situated at:

Dorchester County Circuit Court
Dorchester County Courthouse
5200 East Jim Bilton Boulevard
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: (843) 563-0160

It is worth noting that civil court cases within other county courthouses fall under their respective jurisdictions.

Dorchester County Family Court Records

Per the South Carolina Code of Laws, Family Court Records in Dorchester County are considered public unless otherwise specified by law or court order. To obtain copies of court documents, interested individuals may visit the office at the address below during regular business hours or submit a written request.

Family Court office
212 Deming Way,
Summerville, SC 29483

Files older than 20 years may be archived, necessitating additional retrieval time. A charge of 50 cents per page will be incurred for making copies of court documents.

According to 63-7-1990 and 63-19-2020 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, access to these records is not absolute.

Dorchester Dissolution of Marriage Records

Dorchester County Dissolution of marriage records are documents pertaining to the legal finalization of a marriage.

Dissolution of marriage records in Dorchester County provides crucial insight into marital dissolutions, and they can be accessed through:

  • Office of the Court Clerk where the dissolution was finalized
  • Office of the County Court Clerk

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) may also maintain some records of marriage dissolution.

Dorchester County Marriage and Divorce Records

Dorchester County divorce certificates spanning July 1962 to December 2014 are accessible through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).

According to South Carolina law, copies of divorce records can be obtained solely by the divorcees, their adult children, current or former spouses, or legal representatives. However, third parties may request indexes to confirm the finalization of a divorce, which provides limited details such as the date and county of the divorce. SCDHEC issues copies of divorce certificates at a rate of $12 for the initial copy and $3 for each additional copy requested during the same timeframe. As divorce records are not considered public, requesters must furnish a valid government-issued photo I.D. along with a completed Application form, submitted to:

2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 898-3630

Alternatively, copies of divorce records can be obtained from various county offices, including:

Beaufort County
1407 King Street
Beaufort, SC 29902
Phone: (843) 525-7637

Charleston County
4050 Bridge View Drive
N. Charleston, SC 29405
Phone: (843) 953-0032

Hampton County
531 West Carolina Avenue
Varnville, SC 29944
Phone: (803) 943-3878

Orangeburg County
1550 Carolina Avenue
Orangeburg, SC 29116
Phone: (803) 533-7236

The Dorchester County Clerk of Court's office is responsible for issuing copies of divorce decrees about events within the county. This office also maintains records of events occurring before July 1962 and after December 2014.

On the other hand, marriage licenses became necessary as far back as the 1st of July 1911 in South Carolina; these indexes are available and can be obtained from the Probate Judge's office where the marriage occurred. Copies of marriage records and licenses can be obtained in the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). In Dorchester County, marriage certificates are considered confidential documents and, therefore, out of the reach of the public. However, interested individuals can request marriage index certificates from the SC DHEC. An index copy typically contains the affirmation that a marriage took place; this would also include the date and the county where it occurred.

Dorchester County Birth and Death Records

Dorchester County birth certificates are available through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. These birth records are not publicly accessible as South Carolina law stipulates that only the registrant, parent, legal guardian, or representative may request them. Immediate family members can request records only if the registrant is deceased, in which case they must provide a photocopy of the death certificate. Birth certificates in Dorchester County become public records after 100 years. Eligible parties must complete an Application Form, provide valid identification, and pay a $12 fee for each copy, with an additional $3 for extra copies ordered simultaneously. Applications can be made online or by contacting the office at the SC DHEC.

Similarly, Death certificates in Dorchester County can be obtained from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Access to these records is restricted to immediate family members and legal representatives of the deceased. After 50 years, Dorchester County's death records become public information. Two types of death certificates are available to eligible parties: a Death Short Certificate providing summary information and a Death Long Certificate offering comprehensive details about the record. A copy of a death record costs $12, with an additional $3 fee for extra copies. This fee is non-refundable. Eligible persons can request copies online, by phone, or by submitting a completed Application Form and valid identification via mail or in-person to the SC DHEC address provided above.

Dorchester County Probate Court Records

Unless expressly stated otherwise, Probate Court documents may be considered public records. Individuals can verify whether an estate is undergoing probate and obtain copies of the filings by searching on the South Carolina Probate Website. However, if the desired estate file cannot be found and the decedent passed away before 2004, inquiries can be made via email to Requests for copies of Probate Court documents can also be submitted by mail to the Probate Court office. However, records pertaining to mental health, guardianship, and/or conservatorship contain protected and confidential information and are not accessible to the public.

Dorchester County Property Records

The Dorchester County Register of Deeds is responsible for preserving copies of land and property records within the county. These records encompass deeds, mortgages, plats, Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings, State Tax Liens, and other pertinent documents. Both physical and electronic copies of these records are maintained by the Register of Deeds, with public access available for electronic searches. Users can conduct searches by providing the necessary information to facilitate record retrieval by utilizing the Property Deed Search portal online. Requests for property records can also be made in person or via mail to the Register of Deeds Office located at:

Dorchester County Register of Deeds
201 Johnston Street
P.O. Box 38
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: (843) 832-0181
Phone: (843) 563-0181

The Dorchester County Assessor's Office also maintains records of properties within the county, offering information through the Real Estate & Mobile Home Search portal. This portal serves as a resource for accessing documents and details about real properties in the county, with access available to Dorchester County residents. Additionally, residents can inquire about property records in person at the Assessor's Office, located at:

Dorchester County Assessor
201 Johnston Street
St. George, SC 29477
Summerville Office
500 North Main Street
Summerville, SC 29483

Information regarding properties in Dorchester County is also accessible through the Dorchester County Treasurer's Office, located at:

Dorchester County Treasurer
St. George Office
201 Johnston Street
St. George, SC 29477

Summerville Office
500 North Main Street
Human Services Building
Summerville, SC 29483
Phone: (843) 563-0165

Dorchester County Court Records Online

Interested members of the public may also obtain Dorchester County Court Records online through third-party aggregator sites like These platforms offer users the flexibility to retrieve case information remotely. However, these platforms may not consistently provide up-to-date or precise records. Additionally, while third-party sites offer access to records across multiple jurisdictions, they cannot manage or disclose confidential information even to eligible requesters. Restricted records are only accessible through official custodians.

  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!