South Carolina’s Traffic Violation Point System

How traffic convictions can lead to license suspension under South Carolina’s demerit point system.

A traffic violation conviction in South Carolina will typically result in fines and fees. However, the court will also report the conviction to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV keeps track of these convictions using a point system. A driver who accumulates 12 or more points may face license-related consequences.

How Points Are Acquired and Reduced

For most traffic violations, the DMV will assess a number of points. However, points expire after a certain amount of time and drivers can reduce their points by taking a defensive driving course.

Point Values

Here are the points assigned to some of the most common traffic offenses.

Violation

Points Assessed

Reckless driving

6

Passing stopped school bus

6

Hit-and-run involving property damage

6

Speeding 1 to 10 miles per hour over limit

2

Speeding 11 to 24 miles per hour over limit

4

Speeding 25 or more miles per hour over limit

6

Disobey traffic control device

4

Disobey traffic officer

4

Failing to yield right-of-way

4

Driving on wrong side of road

4

Unlawful passing

4

Unlawful turning

4

Changing lanes without signal

2

Improper parking

2

Following too closely

4

Failing to dim lights

2

Unsafe vehicle condition

2

Endangerment of highway worker

2

Injury of highway worker

4

Reducing Your Points

Point expiration. The points for a conviction are reduced by half after 12 months. After 24 months, the points are erased. Points are also erased after the driver completes a points-related suspension (see below).

Point credits. A driver can reduce his or her point total by four points by completing an appropriate defensive driving course. This reduction is available only once every three years.

Consequences of Accumulating Too Many Points

A driver with 12 or more points will receive a notice of suspension from the DMV. The duration of the suspension depends on the number of points the driver has.

  • 12 to 15 points. Three-month suspension
  • 16 to 17 points. Four-month suspension
  • 18 to 19 points. Five-month suspension
  • 20 or more points. Six-month suspension

Permit holders and licenses with restrictions. Drivers who hold a beginner’s permit, conditional license, or special restricted license are subject to tighter point limits. Accumulation of six points will result in a six-month license suspension.

Appeal. A driver that receives a notice of suspension has ten days to request an administrative hearing if he or she wants to contest the suspension.

Hardship license. A suspended driver can apply to the DMV for a special restricted license. The driver must pay the fee, show proof of employment or enrollment in school, and show that a travel distance of more than one mile is necessary for work or school. The restricted license permits operation only along a specified route, during a specified time.

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