South Carolina Speeding Tickets: The Law and Penalties

South Carolina has two types of speeding laws, maximum speed limits (also called “absolute” limits) and a basic speeding law. Here are how these speed limits work and the penalties you’ll face for a speeding ticket.

Basic Speeding Law

South Carolina’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed greater than is “reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.” In other words, regardless of the posted speed limit, motorists must always drive at a speed that is safe given the current driving conditions.

For instance, while 25 miles per hour might be perfectly safe on a certain roadway with ideal conditions, the same speed could be dangerous if the roadway were wet and slippery.

Maximum (Absolute) Speed Limits

Maximum speed limits are straightforward—if you exceed the posted maximum limit, you’ve violated the law and can be ticketed. The maximum speed limits in South Carolina include:

  • 75 miles per hour on an interstate highway or other freeways where this speed limit is posted
  • 65 miles per hour on multilane divided primary highways where this speed limit is posted
  • 55 miles per hour in most locations (other than those specified above)
  • 40 miles per hour on unpaved roads, and
  • 30 miles per hour in urban districts, including business and residential areas.

However, even in an area where maximum speed limits are posted, a motorist can never lawfully drive faster than is reasonable and prudent given the current circumstances. Also, certain vehicles are subject to more strict maximum limits.

Penalties for a Speeding Ticket

A speeding violation is a misdemeanor in South Carolina. The consequences of a speeding ticket generally depend on how much faster than the speed limit the motorist was driving. For a first offense, the following penalties apply.

  • Up to 10 miles per hour over the limit. Fines of $15 to $25.
  • More than 10 but less than 15 miles per hour over the limit. Fines of $20 to $50.
  • More than 15 but less than 25 miles per hour over the limit. Fines $50 to $75.
  • More than 25 miles per hour over the limit. Fines of $75 to $200 or up to 30 days in jail.

For second and subsequent convictions, the penalties can be more severe. And any speeding ticket will typically add demerit points to a driver’s record.

Reckless Driving

Depending on the circumstances, speeding could lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. And with speed violations that result in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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