If you have an urgent need or must meet a deadline, contact a lawyer, your local public defender of the SC Bar Association.
DO NOT WAIT for a response from the ACLU.
The ACLU can assist only a small number of clients. We only accept cases with the geatest potential to set legal precedents for the preservation or advancement of civil liberties.
We look for complaints that relate to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, government-sponsored religious activities, privacy, discrimination (gender, age, racial), reproductive rights, systematic police misconduct, censorship in schools or libraries, student rights, workplace privacy, and inhumane jail and prison conditions. The ACLU does not assist in:
- Family law including divorces, child custody or visitation
- Denial of government benefits including worker's compensation, unemployment, social security, or food stamps
- Landlord/tenant disputes
- Criminal defense
- Consumer complaints
- Challenges to convictions or prison sentences
- Complaints about court-appointed attorneys.
- Complaints about lawyers or judges
- Employment issues
- Property disputes
- Cases that are too old
- Cases that originate outside of South Carolina. To find ACLU affiliates in other states, go to www.aclu.org
Guidelines on requesting legAL ASSISTANCE
- What is the best way to request assistance? Use the online form, send a letter or an e-mail. All requests must be in writing.
- May I schedule an in-person interview? No.
- May I leave a phone message about my problem? Phone messages will not be returned.
- What documents should I send? Do not send documentation with your letter or e-mail. We do not open e-mail attachments. If we need more information, we will contact you.
- When will I hear back? Do not expect a reply for 6+ weeks.
- If the ACLU can't help me, will I receive a referral to another attorney? No. The ACLU of South Carolina does not make referrals to individual attorneys. If you are looking for an attorney referral, contact:
South Carolina Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
PO Box 608
Columbia, SC 29202
To EVALUATE youR REQUEST, wE need The FOLLOWING:
- What happened.
- Dates, places, and the names of the people directly involved.
- How were your constitutional rights violated?
- What explanation, if any, was given for what happened?
- Why do you think this happened to you?
- What steps have you taken to solve the problem (filed an appeal or complaint with the parties involved or with any public agency or official, or any other organization)?
- To whom did you complain and where does the matter currently stand?
- What documentation do you have on the matter?
- Do you have an attorney assisting you with this matter? If so, he/she must contact us directly.
How to Send Your REQUEST to the ACLU of South CArolina
- Include your name, street address, city, state, ZIP code and telephone number on the top of the first page of your letter.
- You must include a complete return address on your envelope, or your letter will not be opened and will be discarded.
ACLU of South Carolina
Post Office Box 20998
Charleston, SC 29413
Using our Online Complaint Form will get your complaint to us quickly, but a response from us could still take as long as six weeks.
Important Information about Deadlines
- All legal claims have deadlines. For some civil rights violations, you may be required to file a notice or pursue options with a government agency before you can file a suit in court.
- If you do not comply with time deadlines or notice requirements, you could be legally prevented from pursuing your claim in court.
- Contacting the ACLU for legal assistance does not mean that the ACLU represents you, does not stop these time deadlines or eliminate the need to file notices.
- To ensure that your rights are protected, you may need to consult a private attorney to find out what time deadlines may apply in your case. If you do not have an attorney, you can contact the SC Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service mentioned above.