Drivers in South Carolina generally incur a certain amount of SC penalty points upon conviction of specific traffic offenses. The South Carolina driver point system set by the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) protects innocent persons from reckless drivers by controlling and improving their driving behavior. In addition to the infraction points assessed for in-state violations of road rules and regulations, driving license penalty points in SC will also be placed against the offender's record for violations committed out of state and for military court-martial convictions. In order to clear their driving report and avoid further adverse effects on their licensure, motorists may graduate from traffic school. Also, by fighting a speeding ticket or other type of citation, drivers may prevent points from being assessed against their record. Find out more about the SC DMV point system in the following sections:
- Moving violations and points in South Carolina
- Penalties in South Carolina
- How to fix a South Carolina driving record
- Disputing a South Carolina moving violation charge
Moving Violations and Points in South Carolina
Under the state demerit point system, motorists will receive a different number of infraction points, depending on the seriousness of the offense. In general, South Carolina moving violation points range between two and six. A larger number of points will be added on your driving record for more severe infractions, such as hit and run. Minor violations usually lead to a lower amount of points. The resulting SC demerit points upon convictions of various traffic misdemeanors are listed below:
- Reckless driving - 6 reckless driving points.
- Speeding 25 mph or more over the posted limit - 6 speeding ticket points.
- Operating on the wrong side of the road - 4 points.
- Following too closely - 4 points.
- Improper backing - 2 points.
Specific traffic violations, such as driving under the influence, will not result in points on the offender's record. Instead of assessing DUI points in South Carolina, the state DMV and the presiding court may impose harsher penalties, including mandatory driver's license suspensions, due to the seriousness of this infraction.
Penalties in South Carolina
Both the state DMV and the court have the authorization to issue traffic violation penalties in South Carolina upon conviction of a certain moving offense. The traffic ticket penalty administered by the DMV usually includes a suspension of your credential, and it is issued upon excessive accumulation of driver violation points. Therefore, if you amass 12 or more SC penalty points, your driving license will be suspended. Note that the DMV will send you a courtesy notice reminding you to operate your vehicle more carefully once your point total reaches six or more points.
Severe reckless driving penalties in SC will be issued to drivers convicted of such infraction for a second time within five years. Per state laws, if you are found guilty of operating recklessly, you will lose your privilege to drive for a period of three months. Harsh South Carolina DUI penalties resulting in license suspensions of varying duration will also apply upon DUI convictions. Note that if you have been involved in an accident while driving under the influence, thus causing bodily injuries, you will not only incur a suspension of your credential, but also a jail sentence and large fines. The traffic violation penalties resulting from a DUI misdemeanor causing death of another person will be even harsher.
How to Fix a South Carolina Driving Record
If you are wondering how to get points removed from your driving report, note that you may do so by enrolling into a state-accepted traffic school course. Under the provisions of state laws, an SC defensive driving course may be taken only once in a three-year period. Upon successfully completing your classes, you become eligible for a four-DMV point reduction in South Carolina.
Motorists who are unable to reduce license points by participating in a safety course may still avoid any adverse effects on their report by operating carefully and practicing safe driving habits. Note that SCDMV automatically reduces South Carolina demerit points by half after one year. Though penalty points will no longer show on your driving history after two years, the offense in question will remain on your report for a period of three years following the date the SCDMV received your citation.
Disputing a South Carolina Moving Violation Charge
Fighting speeding tickets in SC or other types of citations is a rather demanding procedure, and the steps to finalize it may vary by county. Prior to initiating the process of contesting a traffic ticket, contact the court handling your case for detailed information. To fight a traffic ticket in South Carolina, you will generally need to plead "not guilty" to your charges and request a trial date. In order to win your case in court, you may need to hire an experienced attorney, contact any witnesses and gather any evidence in your favor.