Charleston Traffic Ticket Lawyer

South Carolina Traffic Laws And Penalties

Traffic laws are designed to keep the public as safe as possible in an inherently dangerous environment among many motorized vehicles on the roads. A knowledge test before getting a driver's license supposedly demonstrates that a new driver has reviewed traffic laws on the books.

Penalties for violations of these laws may involve fines, temporary or permanent loss of driving privileges, loss of other citizens' privileges, and possibly jailtime in serious cases.

It all sounds logical - but the system does not take into account special factors such as a police officer's misperceptions or overzealous enforcement of laws. Through hearings and traffic court trials, drivers can ask higher authorities for greater leniency and better outcomes than the stated penalties on a traffic ticket.

Drennan Law Firm, LLC, with law offices in Charleston and a record of successes, is a valuable resource for people who have received traffic tickets in the area. We can represent you even if you live out of state or out of the Charleston area and cannot easily return to Charleston for a hearing.

Legal Process For Traffic Tickets In Charleston, South Carolina

You may have arrived at this web page because you received a traffic ticket. That was the first step in the legal process that you now face. The next steps may vary according to your chosen actions, your lawyer's counsel and/or decisions by court officials. Your legal journey may include one or more of the following after you have been cited for speeding or breaking another traffic law:

  • You may pay the fine, which means pleading guilty. The guilty plea will be on your driving record.
  • Or you may consult with an attorney, who may encourage you to seek a better outcome.
  • Your lawyer will review all known facts and advise you accordingly.
  • You may request a hearing at which your lawyer may argue in favor of dropping the ticket altogether or having fines and penalties reduced.
  • Depending on the outcome of the hearing, you may decide to proceed to traffic court with a judge and/or jury present.
  • If you disagree with the verdict in court and decide to protest further, you and your lawyer may take your case before a judge. (You may go this route in case your traffic ticket is associated with a serious offense, such as exceeding speed limits by far or refusing to submit to a breath test after a traffic stop that led to DUI charges

Benefits Of Hiring A Traffic Ticket Lawyer In Charleston, South Carolina

Many people worry about legal fees and therefore put off consulting with an attorney after receiving a traffic ticket. At face value, this is understandable. No one wants to pay more in legal fees than the traffic ticket's stated dollar penalty.

What those fee statements do not tell you, however, is how a speeding ticket or reckless driving ticket will likely affect your auto insurance rates. For a great many motorists, this consideration alone answers the question of what the benefits are of hiring a traffic ticket lawyer.

Other long-range consequences of guilty pleas or verdicts on one's records include risks in certain professionals and the possibility of someday having your driver's license suspended if you rack up too many tickets. Avoiding these negative outcomes is a strong enough reason to at least consult with a lawyer before paying traffic ticket fines.

Best Traffic Ticket Lawyers In Charleston, South Carolina

Many attorneys believe and will even say they are the best ones around to handle a particular legal issue. However, a close examination of their caseload records may reveal a different story.

  • Some general practitioner attorneys rarely go to traffic court, even when they advertise themselves as traffic ticket attorneys.
  • Others may give clients the runaround, leaving them in the dark about how they can help with their own cases.
  • Some lawyers simply do not have a track record of favorable outcomes to demonstrate if you ask them.

You obviously hope for the opposite! For best results, look for an attorney who can show you - not just tell you - about his or her reputation and case outcomes.

Charleston, South Carolina, Traffic Ticket Defense FAQ

How do you pay a ticket in Charleston, South Carolina?

We can answer this question two ways: How can you pay your ticket? And how should you take care of your traffic ticket?

You can pay the ticket quickly by following instructions on the ticket itself. There may be a phone number you can call, an address you can mail payment to and/or a website you can visit to pay your traffic ticket online. The ticket may also indicate how you can pay in person at the Charleston Municipal Court at 180 Lockwood Boulevard.

But be aware that "just paying your ticket" means pleading guilty to the offense. Doing this directly will leave you with a stain on your driving record just as if a judge had found you guilty in court.

If it was a minor offense, a low-level misdemeanor, and if you do not have other tickets on your record, following any of these steps may be an easy way to get the problem off your hands - for now. If you decide to pay on your own, be sure to pay on time. If your payment is late, you will have to pay a penalty and you mayput your driving privileges at risk.

But how should you take care of your ticket? Well, keep in mind that paying without seeking a better outcome may not be the best thing for your future! For best results, talk with a traffic ticket lawyer who can evaluate angles of your situation you may not have thought of. An experienced, effective attorney may be able to help you get the citation dropped, get penalties reduced or otherwise persuade a hearing officer to give you a better deal overall. Don't let the thought of legal fees stop you from keeping your driving record as clean as you can. You won't know what your options are - and how cost-effective they may be in the end - without getting legal advice. Attorney Jim Courtney II or attorney Adam J. Russo can evaluate your case and advise you accordingly.

What can you expect in traffic court in Charleston, South Carolina?

If you plan to pay without protesting, you will not need to enter a courtroom but rather, you will pay a cashier. If you and your lawyer ask for a hearing, instead, you may meet privately with an official of the court, who may offer you a plan to protect your record. But if you and your attorney decide to challenge the ticket before a judge, the police officer who wrote you the ticket may be present. Your fate will be in the hands of the judge and/or jury, after your attorney and/or you alone make a case for leniency. The result may be that you will pay the same or more than you would have if you had accepted a deal in a pretrial hearing.

How can a lawyer help you with your traffic ticket in Charleston, South Carolina?

The greatest advantage of working with an attorney is the benefit of that lawyer's experience. A lawyer who is in traffic court every week -- and has helped many other clients obtain better outcomes than a simple "You're guilty; pay the fine" result - has a broad understanding of options you might not otherwise have known about.

  • Your attorney will gather all pertinent information from you and about you.
  • Your lawyer will likely be familiar with the hearing officer or judge.
  • Your lawyer will advise you beforehand about the most effective role you can play in your own defense.
  • Your lawyer will speak on your behalf, calmly and persuasively, in circumstances that might be stressful and worrisome for you to approach on your own.

Best of all, your attorney has a much greater likelihood of helping you obtain a positive outcome than you might be able to accomplish on your own.

What should you look for in a traffic ticket lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina?

Look for a lawyer who listens carefully, who communicates clearly, who guides you confidently and who has a strong track record. Ask about these things or judge for yourself in a free initial consultation.

What are the driving laws in South Carolina?

As with any other state, South Carolina has a large and detailed collection of specific laws about matters such as:

  • Who is eligible for a license and how to get a license
  • What speeds you should be traveling on roads without easily visible signs
  • How much following distance you should leave before your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you
  • How you should react when a police car or an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance is stopped by the side of the road
  • Where you should and should not park on public roadways, and for how long
  • What actions you should take regarding your car, such as keeping the license plate up to date, keeping signal lights working, keep tires in good condition and other safety measures

You may have read up on these laws when you got your driver's license, but you may not realize what caused you to get a traffic ticket. An attorney can help you make sense out of otherwise inexplicable happenings.

How do you fight your traffic ticket in Charleston, South Carolina?

Sometimes it is a matter of your word versus the police officer's word. There may be no evidence for a hearing officer or judge to review other than your testimony and the police report. But sometimes there is other evidence to consider, such as surveillance videos and "black box" data from your car. If you choose to fight the ticket in a hearing or before a judge, your lawyer will help you present the best defense that the facts allow.

Consult With An Attorney Before You Pay Or Attempt To Fight A Traffic Ticket In Charleston

Call 843-352-4149 or email us to request a free initial consultation. To move things along, have your traffic ticket handy and other information we should know to get your case off to a good start. If you don't know what you need or what to do, call us anyway. We'll guide you through the process of protecting your driving record after receiving a citation for a violation of any traffic law.