Guide To License Suspension In South Carolina

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The most urgent and time-sensitive aspect of a DUI arrest for most people is the potential loss of driving privileges. For many drivers, losing a driver's license can be personally and financially devastating.

For most Americans, a driver's license is a license for freedom to come and go at will. How will you get to work if you are unable to drive your car? How will you take your children where they need to go, visit your elderly parents or do errands? Public transportation may or may not fill the gap.

Generally speaking, our local communities are not well suited for getting around solely by bus or bicycle. Social stigma may be worse than the practical inconveniences of being without a driver's license.

How embarrassing will it be to have to explain to others about your inability to drive where you need to go? "Sorry, I can't come to the party (or meeting); I can't drive there and don't have a ride."

Our Experienced Attorneys Help You Keep Your Driving Privileges

At Drennan Law Firm, our Charleston area license suspension lawyers understand the great importance of a driver's license. We are here to help you preserve, reinstate, or recover your driver's license after a DUI arrest. After a DUI arrest, you will need to make your case at an administrative hearing conducted by the Department of Public Safety. You must request this administrative hearing within 30 days of your arrest.

Technical by nature, this administrative hearing is in essence a mini-trial before a hearing officer. For best results, work with an attorney who is thoroughly versed in the policies and procedures associated with implied consent laws. Find a lawyer who understands how the DataMaster machine (DMT) works. A successful outcome at the administrative hearing to request return of your driver's license can also help you out with the criminal aspect of your DUI case. A criminal record can have even more serious negative consequences than a suspension or revocation of your driver's license — but you may not feel its impact as soon as you feel the loss of driving privileges. A criminal record will follow you for years, affecting many aspects of life:

  • Showing up on background checks for any reason
  • Harming your current work life and limiting your future career options
  • Making it difficult to rent an apartment, get a loan or achieve many other life goals

How long will I lose my license for DUI?
Additional DUI FAQs

Types Of South Carolina Driver's License Suspensions

A number of traffic-related infractions can result in a short-term or long-term suspension of your South Carolina driver's license. These included DUI and refusing a breath test. In fact, refusing a breath test will result in an automatic suspension of your driver's license due to our state's implied consent law. Reckless driving can be punished by a license suspension and many observers wouldn't be surprised to see distracted driving join the "suspension club" in the near future.

South Carolina driver's license suspensions don't always occur in one fell swoop like they do for reckless driving or refusing a breath test. It's more common for multiple infractions over the years to combine and result in a suspension. Each traffic offense in South Carolina is worth a certain number of points. For example, a speeding ticket can result in 2, 3, or 6 points depending on the speed. Accumulating 12 points on your record results in a driver's license suspension.

Prevention is the best method for preventing a driver's license suspension. This means not taking anything for granted. Saying "Oh, I'll just pay the fine and take a couple points" won't seem like such a great idea when you find yourself one infraction away from losing your driver's license a few years down the road.

How To Reinstate A Suspended SC Driver's License

Getting your driver's license reinstated in South Carolina is not a DIY endeavor. The processes at the South Carolina DMV are complex and frustrating even for attorneys who regularly deal with traffic violations and related issues. Going it alone is asking for disappointment.

However, there is something you can do prior to getting an attorney involved for reinstatement: follow the law and abide by the terms of your suspension. Getting caught driving with out a license is the surest way to make sure you DON'T get your driver's license back. Nothing good comes from driving without a license even "just this once". If you hold up that end of the bargain, and experienced traffic attorney from our firm can help get you back among the ranks of legal South Carolina drivers.

License Suspension Hearings And Appeals Process In South Carolina

If you are arrested for DUI you'll find there are two tracks to your case — the criminal track and the administrative track. The administrative track deals with your driver's license. You'll face the suspension of your license for DUI (BAC .15 or higher) or for refusing a breath test.

At your administrative hearing you'll have the opportunity to contest the DMV's suspension. This will make you eligible for a TAL (Temporary Alcohol License) that permits you to continue driving in South Carolina. You may also seek to have the administrative suspension rescinded based on constitutional issues such as a lack of probably cause for your arrest or improper administration of breath or field sobriety tests.

To have the best chance of prevailing at your hearing or in an appeal it is crucial to have a lawyer on your side with hands-on experience at South Carolina license suspension hearings. When your freedom of movement and ease of life are on the line you cannot afford to settle for just any lawyer or attempt to DIY your license hearing.

DUI Arrest in Charleston? Revoked Driver's License? Get a Free Consultation.

To put it bluntly, our license suspension lawyers take on tough DUI cases — and win time and again, beginning with a strong defense at the administrative hearings. Our attorneys welcome the opportunity to explain how we can help you get your suspended driver's license reinstated after a DUI arrest anywhere in the Charleston area. Contact us to schedule a free consultation about your legal rights.