Getting a traffic ticket may not seem like a big deal… until it happens to you. Now you have a court date and the prospect of hefty fines, a traffic record, and increased insurance premiums.
Even worse, you may be from another state and unsure how the local procedures and laws will affect your case. Although most traffic offenses are similar from state to state, there may be differences in the traffic laws, the court procedures for traffic violations, and the options that may be available to keep the ticket off your record.
Examples of Traffic Tickets/Violations in South Carolina
For the most part, South Carolina’s laws are similar to those of most other states. Some of the more common traffic violations include:
- Driving without insurance
- Failing to obey a traffic device such as a stop sign or signal
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Driving without a license
- Driving under suspension (DUS)
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Like every state, South Carolina has an extensive code section dedicated to traffic violations, some of which are purely traffic offenses and others which are both traffic and criminal offenses.
Your Options After Receiving a Traffic Ticket in SC
Most people don’t realize that once they are issued a traffic violation or ticket in South Carolina, they actually have more than one choice. At first glance, your choices are to pay the ticket or fight the ticket.
In reality, there may be many other options depending on what you were charged with and what jurisdiction the ticket was written in.
Option #1: Pay the Ticket
Of course the first choice is obvious and the one most people opt for—pay the ticket.
If you choose to just pay the ticket, you are admitting guilt and you are foregoing any other options that may have been available to either keep the conviction off your driving record or to minimize the damage.
For most traffic offenses, you will lose points on your driver’s license, pay a fine, and your insurance premiums will go up. For some offenses, your license may be suspended. For some combinations of offenses, your license can be revoked.
If you are licensed in another state, your home state will impose penalties based on its own traffic laws. Your home state could impose a points violation or a license suspension even if South Carolina does not.
Option #2: Fight the Ticket
“Fighting the ticket” could mean taking your case to trial, or it could mean preparing for trial but negotiating a pretrial intervention program or reduced offense that will result in no points or less points on your license.
The first step is to retain a SC traffic ticket lawyer to handle the case for you. We will make all court appearances for you and attempt to resolve the case to protect your driving record and attempt to keep points off your driving record.
Sometimes it is necessary to request a jury trial in your case. If it is necessary, then we will continue to represent you in the jury trial. We will not charge an additional fee to continue fighting your case in jury court.
If a jury trial has to be requested, your initial court date will be changed and, in most courts, you will be put on what is called the jury trial roster.
When your case comes up for a pretrial conference or roster meeting, your Myrtle Beach traffic lawyer will either negotiate the outcome that you want or schedule a trial date. At the trial date, your attorney will either negotiate the outcome that you want or try your case to a jury.
Penalties for Traffic Tickets/Violations in South Carolina
Depending on the charges, possible penalties for SC traffic violations could include:
- Points on your license
- Court costs
- Jail time
- Community service
- License suspension
- License revocation
- Higher insurance rates
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer to Handle Your Traffic Ticket or Violation
The repercussions for traffic-related offenses can be serious and in some cases life-altering. If you choose to use the help of an attorney, you can potentially increase the likelihood of a positive outcome for yourself, both in the short and long term.
Here are some of the possible ways a lawyer may save you risk, time and stress:
- Your charge may get dismissed.
- Your charge may get reduced.
- You won’t have the stress of appearing in court since your lawyer will appear for you.
- You will most likely get better results than if you fought the ticket yourself, since you’ll be working with someone who has experience in fighting these types of cases.
Special Concerns for Commercial Drivers (CDL)
If you’re a commercial driver in South Carolina, you are at risk of losing your job if you are convicted of a traffic violation. Once you receive a traffic violation you must, by law, report this to your employer within 30 days.
Some examples of “serious” offenses include reckless driving, following too closely, or driving a commercial motor vehicle without having your commercial driver’s license (CDL) with you. If you have a second offense within three years, you will lose your CDL for 60 days and if you have a third offense within three years, you will lose your CDL for 120 days.
“Major” offenses, including leaving the scene of an accident, refusing a sobriety test, or a fatality caused by negligent driving can be grounds to have your CDL suspended or disqualified for one year.
Common Questions About Traffic Violations in SC
- How do I pay my traffic ticket?
Don’t do this. Retain a SC traffic violation attorney to handle it for you. Or, you can pay your ticket online by visiting South Carolina’s official government website and entering the information required on the form.
- How do I fight my traffic ticket?
Your ticket will include information like the name and location of the court, the officer’s name and agency, and the date and time of your court appearance. The procedures for requesting a jury trial, getting discovery materials, and how to negotiate are different depending on what court you are in and what agency wrote the ticket. Your possible options will also change depending on the court and agency involved.
If you choose to fight your ticket, your best bet is to retain a SC speeding ticket lawyer who does this on a regular basis and who is familiar with the court that you are scheduled to appear in.
- What if I lost my traffic ticket?
Your SC speeding ticket attorney will be able to get a copy from the court or officer. If you are not sure when your court date is, do not delay in retaining your attorney to handle this for you.
Did You Get a traffic ticket in South Carolina? We can Help.
If you’ve received a traffic violation and are uncertain about how to handle it, find an experienced Myrtle Beach traffic lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you are not convicted in your absence and that you do not miss opportunities to keep this off your driving record.
Call today at (843) 488-5000 or use our online form to setup a free consultation with a SC traffic attorney.