South Carolina drivers license suspensions or revocations may occur in situations when motorists commit driving or non-driving related offenses and misdemeanors. The SC Department of Motor Vehicles will issue suspended driving licenses to motorists who have failed to obey state road rules and regulations. Drivers who are faced with suspended or revoked credentials will have to reinstate driving licenses in SC by satisfying certain requirements and paying applicable fees. For more information about the suspended drivers license reinstatement process, continue reading the sections below.
Reinstating a South Carolina Suspended License
To reinstate suspended drivers licenses in South Carolina, motorists need to fulfill a list of requirements set by the state DMV. Since driving with a suspended license is illegal, motorists are required to begin a drivers license restoration process. The reinstatement requirements may vary depending on the type of offense and the number of times you have committed the same offense. A South Carolina drivers license suspension may occur as a result of driving under the influence (DUI), driving with a suspended drivers license, driving without car insurance, failing to pay traffic tickets or accumulating too many demerit points on a driving record. The required steps for an SC drivers license reinstatement process are explained into further details in the following sections.
How to Reinstate a South Carolina Suspended Drivers License
A South Carolina suspended drivers license reinstatement process dictates that drivers satisfy a set of requirements that may vary depending on the type of offense committed. Motorists may reinstate drivers licenses by fulfilling the court requirements and paying the applicable reinstatement fees and court fines. In certain situations, drivers may have to provide proof of financial responsibility and maintain car insurance coverage for three years. Motorists facing a suspended driving license due to a DUI offense will probably be required to enroll and complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). Having committed multiple DUI offenses and drug-related violations will demand drivers to install ignition interlock devices (IID) in their motor vehicles. Specific driving license suspensions may also require motorists to retake the DMV examinations as part of the SC drivers license reinstatement process.
Fees to Reinstate a South Carolina Drivers License
The final step in the South Carolina drivers license reinstatement process is paying the applicable fees. The SC Department of Motor Vehicles requires drivers to pay $100 reinstatement fee, regardless of the type of offense they have committed. Depending on your specific drivers license suspension, the state DMV may also demand you to pay additional fees. For an exact amount of money you need to pay, contact a local DMV office before starting the restoration of your driving privileges.
Suspension Periods in South Carolina
To reinstate suspended drivers licenses in South Carolina, motorists must first complete certain requirements. Depending on the driving license suspension, they have to wait for their specific suspension or revocation period of time, before restoring their driving privileges. The length of suspension periods varies depending on the type of offense and the number of times the offense has been committed. For instance, a drivers license suspension will be issued to drivers who accumulate many demerit points on their driving records for a period from three to six months. If drivers commit an alcohol-related or DUI-related offense, they will receive a suspension period from six months to three years. An indefinite suspended drivers license may occur when motorists violate car insurance laws, fail to provide proof of financial responsibility or fail to pay a traffic ticket.
South Carolina Point System
Suspended drivers licenses in South Carolina may be issued as a result of accumulation of demerit points on a motorist's driving record. The SC Department of Motor Vehicles has established a point system which contains different point values for different traffic violations or offenses. A drivers license suspension will be issued to drivers who incur 12 demerit points on their records. Below is an outline of several violations and their number of demerit points, respectively:
- Leaving the scene of an accident with property damage - 6 points.
- Driving recklessly - 6 points.
- Failing to obey traffic signs, signals or officials - 4 points.
- Failing to yield right of way or failing to signal - 4 points.
- Backing or parking a vehicle improperly - 2 points.
- Driving a vehicle with improper lights or in unsafe conditions - 2 points.
Attending a traffic school will help you reduce the number of demerit points on your driving record. Even though the points may be cleared after two years, the violations will stay written on your record for three years since the date of receiving the ticket.
Traffic School in South Carolina
Defensive driving courses in South Carolina are created for drivers who want to improve their driving techniques and to maintain their driving privileges. Traffic school classes are approved by the SC Department of Motor Vehicles for drivers who have accumulated a high number of demerit points on their driving records and who as a result may get drivers license suspensions. Motorists facing a suspended driving license may attend defensive driving classes in South Carolina in order to reduce the number of demerit points accumulated on their SC driving record, to earn an auto insurance discount, or to become a safer and more responsible driver.
South Carolina motorists who face a suspended drivers license as a result of a DUI conviction are required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP), certified by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. To qualify for an SC drivers license reinstatement drivers must enroll in a state-approved ADSAP course.
Types of South Carolina Drivers License Suspensions
Drivers may receive South Carolina drivers license suspensions or revocations due to a variety of reasons. The following are the most common traffic offenses that may lead to a suspended driving license:
- Driving under the influence (DUI).
- Driving with a suspended drivers license.
- Driving without a car insurance.
- Failing to pay traffic tickets.
- Accumulating too many demerit points on a driving record.
Drivers who are unsure of the status of their drivers licenses can request copies of SC driving records to check the number of demerit points and offenses.
South Carolina DUI Suspensions
One of the reasons for getting a suspended drivers license in South Carolina comes out of committing DUI-related offenses. The length of your drivers license suspension or revocation will depend on your conviction, number of previous DUI offenses and your age at the time of the offense. The DUI suspension periods are the following:
- First DUI offense - 6 month suspension.
- Second DUI offense - 1 year suspension.
- Third DUI offense - 2 year suspension.
- Fourth DUI offense - permanent suspension.
Drivers who commit a DUI offense and provoke bodily injuries in an accident will be charged with a felony DUI, will be imprisoned, will have to pay a fine and will get a suspension for three years. A drivers license suspension may last for five years if you have been involved in an accident that resulted in death of a person. A second or subsequent DUI offense will require drivers to install ignition interlock devices (IID) on their motor vehicles.
The South Carolina implied consent law requires every resident who agreed to operate a motor vehicle to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test if asked by a law enforcement official. The BAC test determines the alcohol level in the driver's blood stream. Drivers license suspensions may incur as a result of submitting to a BAC test and showing a higher level of alcohol concentration or for refusing to submit to a test. The penalties are determined according to the age of the traffic participant.
Older Than 21
Drivers who are older than 21 years of age may receive suspended drivers licenses in South Carolina, if they are found to be driving with a BAC level over 0.15 percent. The driving license suspension periods may vary from one month for a first offense, two months for a second, three months for a third one or four months for a fourth or subsequent offense. Moreover, suspended driving licenses may be issued to motorists who refuse to submit to a BAC test when suspected to have been driving under the influence. The suspension periods may vary from six to 15 months.
Younger Than 21
Drivers under the age of 21 may get suspended driving licenses in SC if they submit to a BAC test and show results of 0.02 percent alcohol or more in their blood. As a penalty, they will receive an immediate drivers license suspension for three months. Having committed prior DUI-related offenses will suspend your driving privileges for six months. Refusing to submit to a BAC test will also suspend your credential for six months.
Car Insurance Suspensions
A South Carolina drivers license suspension may occur as a result of driving a motor vehicle without car insurance. Therefore, drivers are required to purchase and maintain minimum liability auto insurance coverage before driving their motor vehicles. The state car insurance law demands drivers have the coverage for $25,000 for bodily injury to one person in an accident, $50,000 for bodily injury to more people in an accident and $25,000 for property damage in one accident. Motorists who are caught driving without car insurance will face suspended driving licenses for 30 days and in certain situations may be required to file a proof of future financial responsibility (SR22) for the following three years.
Traffic Summons or Failure to Pay
A SC drivers license suspension may occur as a result of failure to pay traffic tickets before the due date. The state of South Carolina offers drivers an online system that will help them pay their traffic tickets. This service consists of choosing their county, entering their ticket number and paying the required amount of money. Motorists facing a suspended driving license may also pay their traffic tickets by mail or in person.
South Carolina Hardship Drivers License
Holding a suspended driving license in South Carolina does not necessarily mean that drivers are not allowed to operate motor vehicles. Before reinstating drivers licenses, motorists may be eligible to obtain a route restricted (hardship) credential, depending on the type of offense they have committed. When facing driving license suspensions, motorists may apply for a route restricted license for the purpose of driving to and from work or education and to and from a court ordered drug program or an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP).
Applying for a South Carolina Hardship License
Before beginning a process of drivers license restoration in South Carolina, motorists may be able to apply for a route restricted license. Drivers can apply for a hardship credential by completing a Route Restricted Driver's License Application form and mailing it to the Driver Records office in South Carolina. Motorists holding suspended driving licenses will be required to pay $100 fee for a route restricted credential after approval of the application.
Note: Drivers who are not U.S. citizens will not be eligible to apply for a hardship credential. However, drivers who have a permanent resident alien status will be exempt from this rule.