South Carolina

Select another state

South Carolina

Definition of Public Record

South Carolina’s definition of records includes all records, no matter their physical characteristics, that were “prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body.” 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Exempt: Pending investigation documents; confidential attorney communications; identification of informants; certain bank and business transactions; and income tax returns. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

15 days 3

Information on Fees

Agencies can charge fees, but they must not exceed the actual costs to provide the record. 4

Enforcement Mechanisms

There are no administrative appeals options. However, you can take the matter court. Those with prevailing challenges may be awarded attorney fees. In addition, willful violators are subject to escalating fines and potential jail time as a result of its misdemeanor status. However, there is no historical precedent for this, and to date there have only been not guilty verdicts rendered for those who claimed they had no knowledge of how they were breaking the law. 5

Attorney Fees

Yes, you can win attorney’s fees. 6

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

Arrow Icon
Download our Citizen’s Guide to Public Records Requests
File Icon Download Our Public Records Request Template
request document

Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

Goldwater Institute