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TRAFFIC TICKETS & POINTS

 

 

Every licensed driver in South Carolina begins with 12 driver's license points.  Every conviction of a moving traffic offense, such as speeding, removes some of these points.  If a driver loses all 12 points, he or she cannot legally drive.  Points are automatically reinstated each year at a rate of one-half of the lost points in every year that the driver has no convictions for a moving traffic offense.  Also, most of the South Carolina Technical Colleges conduct a defensive driving school which allow drivers to recover four points upon completion.  Check with your local Technical College to find out about such programs.  Spartanburg Technical College offers this program at a reasonable cost.  For more information, call Spartanburg Technical College Continuing Education at (864) 591-3900.

 

Insurance points are a different type of points that are assessed by insurance companies for moving traffic offenses.  These points are assigned by insurance companies for various reasons.  Each point increases the policy holder's premium.  For this reason, insurance points are the ones most drivers wish to avoid.  Insurance points are assigned generally at a rate of one-half the driver's license points lost for a moving violation.  A speeding violation that costs a driver 4 driver's license points, for example, would result in 2 insurance points being assigned to the driver.  No schools are available to lessen the impact of insurance points.  Defensive driving courses such as the ones conducted the the technical colleges have no effect on insurance points. 

 

Some municipalities have enacted ordinances known as "careless driving" laws.  These ordinances allow a driver to be found guilty of that violation resulting in no assigned insurance or driver's license points for a first offense.  Subsequent careless driving offenses do increase insurance points, usually by one point.  State laws do not provide for such careless driving offenses.  Therefore, magistrate courts do not have jurisdiction over such violations.

 

Speeding is the most common moving violation heard in magistrate traffic courts. There are four levels of speed resulting in violations.

 

Offense

Maximum Penalty *

Driver's License Points

Not more than 10 mph over the posted limit

$76.88

2

More than 10, but less than 15 mph over the posted limit

$128.75

4

More than 15, but less than 25 mph over the posted limit 

$180.63

4

More than 25 mph over the posted limit

$440.00 or 30 days

6

   * the maximum fines indicated include mandatory assessments

 

Violations for speeding in work zones or other hazardous areas may result in more severe fines and penalties.  Most other common moving traffic violations involve the loss of four driver's license points in addition to a fine.  The prosecution may be able to negotiate the degree of speeding you are charged with prior to trial.  Neither the court nor the prosecution, however, can reduce or eliminate points assigned to other violations.