Consequences of Driving Without a License in South Carolina
South Carolina takes people driving without a valid driver’s license very seriously. You must have a valid driver’s license to drive in this state, and the consequences if you don’t can in some cases be severe. If you are a victim in a motor vehicle accident and do not have a valid driver’s license, that does not preclude your right to pursue a claim against the at-fault party. If you do not have a driver’s license, but have been injured through no fault of your own please contact the attorneys at The Carolina Law Group to discuss what your rights may be and to recover the compensation you deserve.
Consequences of Driving without a License in South Carolina
It’s a violation to drive without a license in South Carolina. This is a misdemeanor and with a conviction, the penalties are:
- 1st offense: $50-$100 fine or imprisonment for 30 days
- 2nd offense: $500 fine and/or imprisonment for 45 days
- 3rd offense and beyond: imprisonment 45 days to 6 months
But if you’re worried because you simply left your valid driver’s license at home, then note that the charges must be dismissed if you provide proof to the court that you were licensed at the time of the violation.
Consequences of Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License in South Carolina
While some people drive who have never had a valid driver’s license, the more common scenario is someone driving after their license has been suspended or revoked.
In South Carolina, a driver’s license may be suspended for a variety of reasons, including DUI, accumulating too many points (12 or more), driving without acceptable insurance, failing to pay traffic tickets, and failing to pay child support. A driver’s license can be revoked for conviction of manslaughter resulting from the motor vehicle or for the commission of a crime involving a motor vehicle.
Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a misdemeanor under South Carolina Code Section 51-1-460 and upon conviction carries the following penalties:
If the original suspension was not related to alcohol or DUI:
- 1st offense: $300 fine and/or imprisonment up to 30 days
- 2nd offense: $600 fine and/or imprisonment up to 60 days
- 3rd offense and beyond: $1000 fine and imprisonment up to 90 days or home detention up to 90 days
If the original suspension was related to alcohol or DUI:
- 1st offense: $300 fine and/or imprisonment 10 to 30 days
- 2nd offense: $600 fine and/or imprisonment 60 days to 6 months
- 3rd offense and beyond: $1000 fine and imprisonment 6 months to 3 years
In addition, the suspension on the license will be extended, usually by the amount of time of the original suspension.
It’s also important to know that if your license is suspended, your license is not automatically valid once the suspension period ends. You must get your license reinstated first. If your license has been revoked, you may be able to get it reinstated, too, depending on a number of factors.
Talk to the Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group
Driving without a valid license in South Carolina can have serious consequences. If you have had your license suspended or revoked, speak to the criminal defense attorneys at The Carolina Law Group about your options and where to go from here.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in upstate South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.757.5555). Call today.