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South Carolina Traffic Tickets

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How Traffic Tickets Could Suspend Driving Privileges

If you are one of the 3.5 million licensed drivers in South Carolina, how you operate your vehicle and respond to moving violations can make a big difference in whether you maintain your driving privileges or get them suspended – or worse.

South Carolina uses a point system that works like a demerits system and could cost you to lose your license. Anyone who accumulates at least 12 points for various driving infractions will lose their driving privileges for at least three months. A driver with a beginner’s permit or conditional or restricted driver’s license will have their privileges suspended after six points. Those points do not last forever on your record but diminish over time.

Some offenses such as driving while intoxicated, vehicular manslaughter, or gasoline theft will cause your license to be suspended even if your record is otherwise clean.

How Drivers Get Points Against Them

A variety of minor South Carolina violations will net you 2 points; for example, speeding less than 10 miles over the speed limit or an unlawful turn. Four-point offenses include speeding between 10 and 25 miles over the speed limit, driving on the wrong side of the road, failing to give a turn signal, or disobeying a traffic control device. More serious offenses net six points. These include hit-and-run with only property damage, reckless driving, speeding more than 25 mph over the speed limit, and passing a stopped school bus.

How Long Do Points Remain on Your Record

Just about every driver winds up committing a moving violation and receiving a traffic ticket at least once over a lifetime of driving and often several times. Humans make mistakes, and drivers are human. The good news is that points diminish by one-half for each year since you received them. For example, if you receive two points for a minor speeding violation in March, your record will show only one point by the next March. By March, two years from the time of the offense, the one point will disappear, as well.

If you are accumulating several points and want to be sure to avoid suspension, you can complete an eight-hour driver safety course from the National Safety Council. This course will reduce the number of points by four.

What Happens When You Get Too Many Points

Drivers who continually violate traffic laws and accrue points regularly will lose driving privileges for a time. Reinstatement requires paying your fines and possibly attending traffic school.

Drivers who accumulate 12 to 15 points will lose their license for three months; 16 or 17 points, for four months; 18 or 19 points for five months; 20 or more points for six months.


Where to Pay Your Traffic Fines

When you are ticketed you can either plead guilty and pay the fine or contest it by requesting a hearing in municipal court. Most localities offer the option to pay your ticket online through the South Carolina Courts website. Check the back of your ticket for mail payment options, as well. If you do not pay the fine for your moving violation, you may lose your driving privileges. You will not get them back until you pay your fine plus a reinstatement fee.


DMV.org: Pay Traffic Ticket South Carolina
Dunaway Law Firm: System for Driving Offenses
Futeral and Nelson: The South Carolina Driving Points System Explained
SCDMV: Points System

Last Verified:
Jul 5, 2023