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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in South Carolina

Traffic violators in South Carolina are usually issued an official notice by law enforcement officers. This document is known as a traffic ticket. South Carolina State Highway Patrol officers monitor road use on state highways and track down traffic offenders, while municipal road networks are under the watch of County Sheriffs’ Departments.

When an offender receives a traffic ticket, they are required to accept the ticket and then respond to it. The expected response is either ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty.’ If the ticket was resolvable by a fine, a ‘not-guilty’ plea would take the case to trial before a judge. All traffic tickets except parking violations usually show up as a driving conviction on an individual’s criminal record. The aftermath of a driving conviction has weightier consequences than the offense may have appeared to have. There are specialized local and state traffic courts across counties in the state that handle the record and disposition of traffic-related tickets.

Records of traffic violations and other records considered public may also be accessible from some third-party websites. These sites expedite the record search process by enabling inquirers to look up multiple records, across multiple jurisdictions per query. To use these search engines, interested parties are expected to provide the following:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state in which the person resides or was accused.

Since third-party sites are managed by private companies, record availability, accuracy, and validity may not be guaranteed.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in South Carolina?

The decision to fight a traffic ticket in South Carolina has its pros and cons. Should the defendant have a good case, they may be able to get a judge to overturn what could have been a conviction and evade the collateral consequences of getting one. The downside to it borders on the challenges involved in preparing for and appearing in a court for trial. The cost of time, energy, and logistics of the entire process may not be worth it unless the defendant can guarantee a good case in court. For this reason, defendants are advised to consult a legal expert in traffic law to determine if it is worth the shot.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in South Carolina

There are two ways to fight a traffic ticket in South Carolina. The first step is to request a trial. The difference between the two is that one goes to trial in an attempt to overturn the conviction while the other proceeds to negotiate on a pre-trial intervention program for the possibility of reduced or no points on the driver’s license. The administrative pathway largely depends on the issuing agency and the court where the trial is to be held. However, on the day of trial, the issuing officer may present the case before the judge. The judge gives the defendant a chance to present evidence and arguments. Most serious offenses, such as a DUI or reckless driving, may require a jury trial for a fair and balanced outcome. After reviewing both sides of the case, the judge typically issues the verdict. If the defendant is not guilty, previous court payments regarding the case are typically returned. If found guilty, the defendant may appeal to a higher court of jurisdiction. Note that failure to appear in court on the date scheduled can lead to a conviction’s auto-entry. It can also lead to arrests and incarceration.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, traffic attorneys can represent defendants without appearing in court. An exception to this rule is a traffic ticket that indicates a mandatory appearance in court or if the likely penalties include a jail term. Serious offenses such as DUI or reckless homicide fall under this category.

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in South Carolina?

Individuals accused of traffic violations can negotiate to have their traffic ticket fine reduced. However, they usually need to appear in court to plead their case with a judge. A payment plan may also be agreed upon following negotiation. In this case, prepare to pay the majority of the fine on the court date. Payment may happen within 15 days from the court date.

Can You Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in South Carolina?

Speeding tickets in South Carolina are serious traffic offenses that may attract a jail term in some cases. However, there are reasons for which the court may dismiss a speeding ticket. These reasons include:

  • If the judge finds the defendant not guilty at trial
  • If the ticket issuing officer is not present on the day of the trial
  • If the court decides to stop the prosecution

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, a guilty plea has financial implications. Every guilty plea translates to a driving conviction and points assessment with the Department of Motor Vehicles. A guilty plea could lead to the suspension or even revocation of licenses and, in some cases, jail time. The financial impact may also be worsened by a dramatic spike in vehicle insurance rates of up to 90%.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in South Carolina

Fighting a traffic ticket in South Carolina courts may be made easier by hiring an attorney. Acquiring a traffic attorney’s services may be costly, but it may give the defendant a higher chance of positive outcomes. Both government websites and third-party websites maintain electronic databases of attorneys within the state of South Carolina.

  • Criminal Records
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  • And More!