Dealing With Traffic Citations In South Carolina
Traffic Ticket Questions & Answers
South Carolina residents often make the mistake of representing themselves in traffic violation cases. Often such people do not understand that the consequences of a conviction can be severe. A conviction means you could have to pay a fine. In all likelihood, insurance companies will raise your premiums after an arrest. Finally, serious violations and subsequent infractions can lead to exorbitant fines, license suspension or revocation, and possible jail time.
The criminal defense attorneys at Drennan Law Firm know what sort of approach to take when defending you in traffic cases. Our lawyers have extensive experience defending individuals from throughout South Carolina facing traffic offenses. As we have a lawyer on our staff who was also a former prosecutor, we understand the approach that district attorneys will take in prosecuting your case. Such experience allows us to provide you with a powerful defense.
We make ourselves available to you to answer all of your legal inquiries. Answers to common questions include:
What Should You Do If Stopped For Speeding In South Carolina?
A traffic stop for speeding does not mean you are guilty of a traffic violation. Often, arresting officers have no proof whatsoever that you were speeding. Be aware that during such a stop, arresting officers may use statements you make as proof of your guilt in court. Here are some actions you should take when an arrest occurs:
While pulled over, it is important to remain polite and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Police officers are more likely to issue an enhanced offense if you are rude to them.
- Provide the officer with your registration and proof of insurance.
- Be careful in what you say to the officer. Keep any answers to officer inquiries short, and do not admit guilt.
- Following the arrest, write down details such as the location and time of the arrest, the name of the arresting officer, and any other information that could prove helpful for an attorney representing you in court.
- Consult with an attorney experienced in trying traffic violation cases. An attorney can discuss with you all of your available options along with the best strategy to take in fighting your traffic ticket.
How Much Will A Speeding Ticket Cost?
Many factors determine what sort of fine you will pay for a speeding ticket. For first-time offenders in South Carolina, you may have to pay a substantial fine. Such an offense can also result in jail time of up to 30 days, and a possible license suspension. The penalties for subsequent violations can be substantially greater. These penalties are dependent on prior driving record, the nature of the offense, and if there are mitigating factors.
Drivers in South Carolina do need to understand the points system as well. Points accompany each speeding conviction, and enough accumulated points can result in suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. You may receive more points if you receive more than one conviction in a relatively short period.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Speeding Ticket?
The failure to pay a speeding ticket can lead to additional penalties, including license suspension and revocation. It’s best to pay the speeding ticket timely or challenge the ticket in court.
Is A Speeding Ticket A Misdemeanor In South Carolina?
Most speeding offenses will lead to misdemeanor charges. However, even for a misdemeanor offense, penalties can be severe. In some cases, a misdemeanor charge can result in license suspension or jail time. The severity of the penalty depends on factors such as driving under the influence while speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, or the number of traffic points accumulated at the time the offense took place.
Felony charges can accompany a speeding violation in South Carolina if other circumstances arise. For example, causing an injury while speeding may result in felony charges.
How Can You Get A Speeding Ticket Dismissed?
South Carolina allows for drivers in some circumstances to have a ticket dismissed by taking a driver education course. Such a course will involve receiving permission from the court. Generally, it is most effective to get a ticket dismissed by fighting it. To fight it, we recommend that you speak to one of our attorneys to pursue the strongest possible defense.
Can You Get A Speeding Ticket Reduced?
Again, a traffic arrest is different from a traffic conviction. South Carolina law also provides opportunities for drivers to enroll in classes or take other measures to reduce traffic point totals. Sometimes, your attorney can make a plea deal with prosecutors or argue to the judge why there should be a reduction in point totals or fines. There are also opportunities to have speeding ticket citations expunged or removed from your record. It is important to discuss with counsel your options.
Are Traffic Cameras Legal In Our State?
No. Unlike certain other states, South Carolina does not allow issuance of speeding tickets based upon photographic evidence. Still, you may face charges if an arresting officer witnesses a particular traffic violation.
How Long Will A Ticket Stay On Your Driving Record?
Most infractions will remain on your record for approximately two years. However, it may be possible to remove points from your record in a shorter period than this. How long an infraction will remain on your record depends upon individual circumstances.
How Much Is A Toll Violation In South Carolina?
If you receive your first citation regarding the failure to pay a toll in South Carolina, you will be expected to pay the amount of toll and any administrative fees. Each successive violation will end in enhanced penalties. It is important not to ignore a citation. The failure to pay a toll could result in a vehicle registration suspension.
When receiving a toll violation, we suggest you speak to one of our attorneys in a free initial consultation.
Can You Extend A Traffic Court Date In Our State?
Courts often allow continuances regarding traffic violations, and this may provide you the opportunity to locate additional evidence supporting your defense. The process involves simply calling the court and requesting a continuance or going online to fill out a form requesting a continuance.
The court will require a justification for a continuance. Such justification could include sickness or a family emergency. The lawyers at Drennan Law Firm often request such continuances on behalf of those we represent. We understand the sorts of justifications that courts will allow for a continuance to take place.
What Can You Expect In South Carolina Traffic Court?
At your traffic court appearance, you will have the chance to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, the judge will expect you to pay the traffic fine. In certain instances, the judge will reduce the fine you owe. Whether this occurs depends on various circumstances including your prior driving record, willingness to attend safety classes, and other mitigating factors.
If you plead not guilty, the judge will set a date for trial. Even at trial, you will have the opportunity to change your plea. At trial, you will have the chance to present your side of the case. (Keep in mind that changing a plea at a later date may make the judge more reluctant to reduce your fine or other penalties.)
The process in DUI cases is slightly different. There are two parts to such cases. One is the implied consent hearing, and the other is the bench trial (judge only) or jury trial. It is important to request an implied consent hearing within 30 days, or you could lose your right to challenge a license suspension.
Whether trying to reduce your penalties or prove your innocence, an experienced traffic attorney can assist. The attorneys at our law firm have defended individuals for almost every sort of traffic violation. We have a reputation for skilled representation with a history of providing those we represent outstanding results. When speaking to you one-on-one during a free consultation, we will help you understand the traffic court process. We will take the necessary steps to provide you the best possible defense.