You may not think that it is worth your while to fight a traffic ticket. Between hiring a lawyer and taking the time to go to traffic court, you would need to make an investment.
However, the costs of not contesting a traffic ticket can be even higher. You can get a free legal consultation for your traffic matter when you call a defense attorney in Charleston at Davis Curry Law. We can review your case and explain your legal options.
Traffic Offenses Punished By South Carolina Law
There are many reasons why you may be pulled over and cited while driving in South Carolina. These infractions are known as moving violations.
The state maintains a range of fines for each offense, depending upon the severity. You may find that a ticket could carry far worse consequences than you think. For example, reckless driving can carry a jail sentence of up to 30 days.
Here are some common traffic offenses in South Carolina:
- Speeding is when you travel in excess of the posted speed limit or in a way that would be considered unreasonable under the particular weather and road conditions. You do not get a ten mile per hour grace above the speed limit. An officer can pull you over and give you a ticket if you are going one mile per hour over the speed limit.
- Reckless driving is defined by South Carolina law as operating your motor vehicle with “a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” South Carolina law requires some kind of knowledge that you are acting dangerously. In other words, knowing negligence could be reckless driving. A court can imply recklessness from a person’s actions.
- If your license has already been suspended, it goes without saying that you cannot drive. If you are caught driving with a suspended license, you can face fines of up to $300 and to up to 30 days in jail (rising to $600 and 60 days for a second offense).
Other Traffic Offenses that Can Lead to Fines and Points on Your SC License
Other South Carolina traffic offenses are thought of as more “minor” because there is no potential for jail time. However, there is really no such thing as a “minor” traffic offense because the consequences can pile up for subsequent offenses.
Here are some other traffic offenses:
- Passing a school bus that is loading or unloading children (this offense is punished with six points, and it could even lead to a possible jail sentence)
- Failure to yield the right-of-way when required to do so by law
- Illegal turns
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Driving with an expired registration (or no registration at all)
The Consequences of a Traffic Ticket
A traffic ticket does not just cost you the amount of money that is written on the ticket. First, you may be assessed points for a moving violation. For example, a speeding ticket can be worth as many as six points on your license (when you are exceeding the posted speed limit by 25 miles per hour or more).
Points can have consequences, and you do not want them on your license. The more traffic convictions you have, the closer you can come to losing your license entirely.
First, if you have accumulated twelve points in a three-year period, your driver’s license can be suspended. The length of the suspension will be determined by the number of points. For example, if you have accumulated between 12-15 points on your license, you will face a three-month suspension. Points can only be reduced by taking a defensive driving course or the passage of time. If you have received two serious traffic tickets within one year, it could mean the temporary loss of your license.
Second, points can mean that you will pay higher auto insurance rates. Your car insurance company does not look at you as a person — they are viewing you through the lens of risk and how much you may cost them. If they see that you are a dangerous driver through your driving record (and they will learn of the tickets that you are issued), they will need to charge you more to adequately compensate them for the risk of insuring you.
Why You Should Fight a Traffic Ticket in Court with a Lawyer
As you can see, you have valid reasons to fight a traffic ticket. Like any violation, the police must prove the case against you. Even if you are found guilty of the traffic offense, the judge may waive the points against you, which would be a win for you.
If you are going into traffic court, it may make sense to invest in a traffic ticket defense attorney. Traffic court judges have heard practically every excuse from drivers, and they could become jaded.
However, your arguments could carry more weight when they come from an attorney who has experience in traffic court. When a lawyer presents your case, what may sound like an excuse to a judge when you present it could become a strong legal defense.
Traffic Offense FAQs
Is there a way to drive with a suspended license?
You could apply for a route-restricted license, which would allow you to drive only to places like work or school.
How much will my car insurance premiums increase when I get a ticket?
It depends on your insurance company and your previous driving record, but you can expect at least a 25% hike in your rates when you get points on your license. Some severe traffic offenses can cause your rates to more than double. Tickets can be expensive in many ways.
Contact a Charleston, SC Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer Today
Davis Curry Law offers free consultations to prospective clients who want to discuss their traffic ticket case with an attorney. It does not cost you anything to learn more about whether there is anything that you can do when you get a traffic ticket.
To discuss your case, you can message us online or call us at 828-900-2420. We offer free consultations.