If you receive a traffic violation in South Carolina, you may dismiss it as no big deal. Yet, if you’ve faced charges for a string of driving offenses over the years, they can add up. And some infractions carry more weight than others. By understanding the state’s traffic laws, you can take steps to reduce your violations’ impact on your livelihood.

Understanding South Carolina’s points system

In South Carolina, traffic violations are penalized on a points system. These points correspond to the level of offense you committed. After one year on your license, your points will reduce by half. And if you’ve gone two years without any further violations, your points disappear.

Low-level offenses add two points to your license. These include:

  • Speeding between one and 10 miles per hour over the posted limit
  • Failing to use a turn signal
  • Committing a parking violation

Moderate offenses add four points to your license. These include:

  • Speeding between 11 and 24 miles per hour over the posted limit
  • Tailgating
  • Running a red light or stop sign

Serious offenses add six points to your license. These include:

  • Speeding 25 miles per hour or more over the posted limit
  • Reckless driving
  • Passing a stopped school bus

If you accumulate 12 or more points on your license, it will face an automatic three-month suspension. This increases to four months once you reach 16 points. At 18 points, your license will be suspended for five months. And if you manage to rack up 20 points of more, you will endure a six-month suspension.

Understanding the potential consequences

Accumulating traffic violations can impact your life beyond a license suspension. Even a single violation can increase your auto insurance rate, which will continue rising as you rack up more infractions. Some violations may also end up on your record. And employers can discover them when performing a background check. You may also end up facing a short prison sentence, especially if you’re caught speeding excessively or driving recklessly.

Traffic violations may seem minor to you. But if you rack up enough of them, they can have serious impacts on your life. If you’ve received a series of traffic charges, a criminal defense attorney can help you work through them.