South Carolina Speeding Laws

Basic Speed Law: No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.  SC §§ 56-5-1520(a) & (c)     

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

A first time violator may be:

  • fined between $15 and $200,
  • sentenced to jail time of not more than 30 days, and
  • the violator’s license may be suspended three to six months.

Penalty for Reckless Driving

A first time violator may be:

  • fined between $25 and $200,
  • sentenced to jail time of not more than 30 days, and
  • the violator’s license may be suspended three to six months.

Speed Limits

  • 70 MPH on the interstate highway system and other freeways
  • 60 MPH on multilane divided primary highways
  • 55 MPH in other locations or on other sections of highways
  • 40 MPH on unpaved roads
  • 30 MPH in an urban district

South Carolina Speeding Laws

South Carolina has what is known as an “absolute” speed limit law. There is no trick to how this works: If the sign says 40 mph and you drive 41 mph or more, you have violated the law. In other words, you are guilty if you drive over the speed limit. In South Carolina you may be able to make three possible defenses:

  • Attacking the officer’s determination of your speed. To do this you must discover what method the officer used to cite you and then learn about the ways to attack that particular method.
  • Claiming an emergency forced you to exceed the speed limit to avoid serious damage or injury to yourself or others.
  • Claiming that the officer mistook your car for another car. With so many similar-looking cars, it is possible that a cop could see a speeding car, lose sight of it around a corner, and then wrongly pick out your car farther down the road.

Note that in South Carolina you can be ticketed for driving at an unsafe speed, even if that speed does not violate the posted limit -- for example, driving exactly at the maximum mph posted limit on the freeway amidst slower and heavy traffic, in a dense fog, or in a driving rainstorm or blizzard.

Point System

An offender, who accumulates 12 to 15 points, is subject a 3 month suspension. If they accumulate 16 or 17 points, the suspension is 4 months. If they accumulate 18 or 19 points, the suspension is 5 months. And, if they accumulate 20 or more points, the suspension is 6 months.

A person may obtain special restricted driving privileges to operate a motor vehicle to and from either a place where they are either employed or a college or university where they are enrolled provided they live more than 1 mile from the place of employment or educational facility. Points are computed in the following manner. Points for offenses committed within the immediate 12 months from the present offense are counted at full value. However, points for offenses that have been committed more than 12 months but less than 24 months from the present offense from the immediate offense are reduced to half of their full value. Note: Points are not assigned for offenses committed more than 24 months from the present offense.

The following points have been assigned for speeding and speed related violations: Reckless driving-6 points; less than 10 MPH above the posted speed limit-2 points; more than 10 MPH but less than 25 MPH above the posted speed limit-4 points; and, more than 25 MPH above the posted speed limit-6 points. Note: The law does not appear to assign any points for either driving too slowly, for violating the posted minimum speed limit or for not driving in the right lane when not driving at the normal speed of traffic.

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