2013 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 40 - Professions and Occupations
SECTION 40-18-70. Private Investigation License; applications; bond; renewal; display of license; qualifications of licensee; contract; reports to clients; arrest of licensee; inspections of business records; prior licensees.

SC Code § 40-18-70 (2013) What's This?

(A) A person who desires to operate a private investigation business in this State must apply for a Private Investigation License from SLED and pay an annual license fee which must be set by SLED regulation.

(1) If the applicant is an association or corporation, the chief executive officer of the association or corporation must be the applicant or must designate in writing the corporate officer or principal who is the applicant.

(2) If the applicant is a partnership, all partners must complete an application form.

(3) The application for license must be made, under oath, on a form approved by SLED. The application must state the applicant's full name, age, date and place of birth, current residence address, residence addresses for the past ten years, employment for the past ten years, including names and addresses of employers, the applicant's current occupation with the name and address of the current employer, the date and place of any arrests, any convictions for violations of federal or state laws, excluding traffic violations, and any additional information as SLED requires. Each applicant must submit with the application one complete set of the applicant's fingerprints on forms specified and furnished by SLED and one color photograph of the applicant's full face, without head covering, taken within six months of the application.

(B) The applicant must post a ten thousand dollar bond with SLED in a form approved by the Attorney General in favor of the State. The bond must be issued by a surety insurer licensed to transact surety insurance in this State. The surety on the bond may cancel the bond upon giving thirty days' notice to SLED and is relieved of liability for a breach of condition after the effective date of cancellation.

(C) Upon receiving the application, bond, and license fee and upon satisfaction after investigation of the competency and integrity and qualifications of the applicant, SLED must grant a license to the applicant to conduct the private investigation business stated in the application. Licensure is for one year and application for renewal must be on a form approved by SLED. The initial and annual renewal license fee for conducting a private investigation business must be set by regulation.

(D) Issuance of a license authorizes the licensee to engage in the private investigation business and to operate branch offices. Immediately upon receipt of the license certificate issued by SLED pursuant to this chapter, the licensee must post and at all times display the license in a conspicuous place at his primary place of business. A copy or duplicate of the license certificate must be conspicuously posted at each branch office. The licensee must immediately notify SLED of the address of each branch office opened or closed.

(E) SLED may issue a license to a person who:

(1) is at least twenty-one years of age;

(2) has a high school diploma or equivalent;

(3) is a citizen of the United States;

(4) has not been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude;

(5) is of good moral character;

(6) does not unlawfully use drugs;

(7) does not use alcohol to such a degree as to affect adversely his ability to perform competently the duties of a private investigator, has not been adjudicated an incapacitated person without being restored to legal competency, and who has no physical or mental impairment which would prevent him from competently performing the duties of a private investigator;

(8) has not been discharged from the military service with other than an honorable discharge;

(9) has at least three years' experience:

(a) as a private investigator employed by a licensed private investigation agency;

(b) as an investigator for a law firm, a government agency, a private corporation, a nonprofit organization, or in a capacity that SLED determines has provided the requisite investigative experience; or

(c) as a sworn officer with a federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency.

(F) A private investigator licensed under this chapter must, prior to commencement of services or investigation ordered by a client, secure a contract signed by the client and the private investigator, on a form approved by SLED, describing in detail the services to be provided, fees to be charged, and an understanding by both parties concerning delivery of the written report. A client may waive the right to a written contract by signing a form approved by SLED.

(G) A private investigator licensed under the provisions of this chapter must provide to each client, in compliance with the contract describing the investigation or other services, and within a reasonable time of the conclusion of contracted work, a written report accurately detailing hours worked, activities accounting for time charged, and results of an investigation. This requirement is satisfied if the private investigator maintains in his files a waiver of written report signed by a client.

(H) A private investigator licensed under the provisions of this chapter must maintain for a period of three years copies of all written service contracts and investigation reports.

(I) Evidence of criminal activity discovered by a licensed or registered private investigator must be immediately reported to the Chief of SLED.

(J) A licensee who is arrested must report the custodial arrest to SLED within seventy-two hours of the arrest.

(K) Licensees must make business records available during normal business hours for inspection by the Chief of SLED or his designee.

(L) A person initially licensed as a private investigator before the effective date of this section, and who has maintained his license, is not required to meet the requirements contained in subsections (E)(1), (4), and (8).

HISTORY: 2000 Act No. 372, Section 1; 2002 Act No. 339, Sections 33, 34, 35.

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