South Carolina Freedom of Information Act

South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Section 30-4-10

Recent changes to FOIA signed into law on May 19, 2017 may be found here.

The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is part of the South Carolina Code of Laws allowing any citizen to have access to public records and to meetings of public bodies with some exceptions as defined in the Act.

This policy is applicable to all departments under the supervision of the Beaufort County Administrator, and to any board or commission whose members are appointed by the County Council of Beaufort County, South Carolina, the governing body of Beaufort County Government.

In accordance with the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, Beaufort County has 10 working days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) to determine if the information requested is publicly available under the Freedom of Information Act.

Exemptions from the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act Section 30-4-40/30-4-50 and Section 3-2-50

According to the SC Code of Laws, Beaufort County may choose to deny a FOIA request based on exemptions noted in the law. Commonly denied requests include:

  • Obtaining or using any personal information acquired from a state agency for commercial solicitation.
  • Matters requesting the identity, or information tending to reveal the identity, of any individual who in good faith makes a complaint or otherwise discloses information, which alleges a violation or potential violation of law or regulation, to a state regulatory agency.
  • Documents or reports being requested in a special format or one that must be created by Beaufort County that is not already in existence.

Please take note:

You may access the following information: Deeds, Easements, Mortgages, Plats, Surveys and Liens (Tax, Federal, Mechanic) by visiting the Register of Deeds Website

Beaufort County Freedom of Information Request Form

Fill out and submit or copy and mail the online FOIA request form to:

Beaufort County FOIA Services
c/o Records Management Department
Post Office Drawer 1228
Beaufort, SC 29901-1228

Cost Associated with Freedom of Information Act Requests Section 30-4-30 (B)

Make checks or money orders payable to Beaufort County Treasurer, and include your FOIA case number on the payment.

Elevation Certificate: No Charge for certificate or research time
Research Time:

A minimum of $14 per hour* (no charge for elevation certificates)
*The fee for the search, retrieval or redaction of records shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid employee who has the necessary skills and training to perform the request.

USB 2.0 Flash drive: $7.00 (if the information requested is over 10mb)
Public Meeting DVD: $10.00
Paper Copy: $0.20 per page
Video Duplication: $15.00
GIS Maps: $10.00 (up to 11x17 in.) or $20.00 (larger than 11x17 in.)
Notary $5.00 per file
Certified Copies from Clerk of Court $3.00 per copy
Postage: Determined by weight

Beaufort County will provide a written response to include the cost for the request within 10 working days from the date the request was received. Any request received after 4:30pm Monday through Friday will be considered as having been received on the following work day. Upon payment for the cost of the request, all records will be made available to the requester. Records Management will hold the request for up to two weeks pending payment before closing the FOIA request. For further assistance, please contact the FOIA Specialist at 843-255-7200.

PURSUANT TO S.C. CODE §30-2-50

(A) A PERSON OR PRIVATE ENTITY SHALL NOT KNOWINGLY OBTAIN OR USE PERSONAL INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM A STATE AGENCY, A LOCAL GOVERNMENT, OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE FOR COMMERCIAL SOLICITATION DIRECTED TO ANY PERSON IN THIS STATE.

(D) A PERSON KNOWINGLY VIOLATING THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION (A) IS GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR AND, UPON CONVICTION, MUST BE FINED AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS OR IMPRISONED FOR A TERM NOT TO EXCEED ONE YEAR, OR BOTH."

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