Articles on South Carolina Law

What is the SC Driving Points System?

by | Sep 14, 2021 | Criminal Defense

In this article you will learn the inside scoop on the South Carolina Driver’s License point system.

I have lived in SC my entire life and have always found the Driver’s License point system to be a hidden, misunderstood, completely unknown thing. Why can’t we go on a website in the year 2021 and find out how something as important as our driver’s license privileges are determined?

We need to know if our driver’s licenses are in jeopardy. Are we close to getting our license suspended? How many points are on my driver’s license record? You can find out by going to and enter your information and find out! You can also check out this article for the specifics on how the SC driver’s license point system works…once and for all!

SC Driver’s License Points System Explained

SC uses a points system in which you accumulate points on your license for certain traffic infractions. These points can really add up and bring some very inconvenient consequences, like losing your license. Not only could you lose your license, you could get stuck with a Driving Under Suspension ticket. As your points increase, your vehicle insurance may increase, depending on your insurance company and your driving record. Most points are assessed for moving violations.

How the Points System Affects You

While simple traffic infractions, such as illegal u-turns, speeding, careless driving, illegal lane shifting, etc. seem like no big deal and don’t have expensive fines to pay, the points add up if you start getting several of them. Plus, your insurance may increase. And that adds up over time.

If you want to keep your driving privileges, you should pay attention to the points associated with a violation, not just the immediate penalty of paying the ticket. I have found, in general, that most people’s insurance goes up once they have 4 points or more.

A typical speeding ticket in SC is 4 points, but sometimes if you go to court you may have the opportunity to get the ticket reduced to 2 points. If you get to 12 points then you lose your license for a period of time because your license is suspended. You will lose your privilege to drive.

Do you need a lawyer for your traffic ticket?

It is up to you whether you hire a lawyer to fight your traffic ticket. Some people hire a South Carolina lawyer for a traffic ticket because they were visiting SC from another state and the trip back to our state would cause them to miss work and cost them more than the attorney fee or the ticket.

An attorney may be able to help negotiate the Traffic Education Program. The TEP is only for certain types of tickets and is not available for people who have CDL (Commercial Driver’s Licenses). The TEP costs money to enroll in the program, but the end result is your ticket is dismissed and you do not have to pay the fine on the ticket and you will not have points assigned to your driver’s license. The officer and judge must agree to allow you into the program, and there may be other considerations as to whether you will be allowed to take TEP. For example, if you get a reckless driving ticket, typically you are not eligible for TEP, but a lawyer may be able to help with this.

Breakdown of How the Points System Works

2 Point Violations

  • Improper lane shifting
  • Operating a car without proper lights
  • Failing to dim your bright beams when approaching oncoming traffic
  • Generally unsafe operation
  • Improper lane use
  • Backing in an unsafe or improper manner
  • Speeding up to 10 mph above the limit
  • Driving too fast for conditions up to 10 mph over the limit

4 Point Violations

  • Disregarding a traffic control
  • Disregarding a traffic officer or police officer who is directing traffic
  • Improper passing
  • Improper turning
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Driving in the wrong direction on a roadway
  • Operating in a safety or construction zone without authority
  • Failing to use proper signals
  • Tailgating
  • No working tail lights or brake lights
  • Speeding 11-24 mph above the limit

6 Point Violations

  • Passing a school bus that is stopped and using flashing lights
  • Reckless driving
  • Leaving the scene of a crash with property damage
  • Speeding 25 mph or more above the limit

License Suspensions

Your license can certainly be suspended as a result of too many points on your license. The good news is that one year your points are cut in half. For example, if you have 6 points, then after 12 months you will only have 3 points.

The problem lies with the higher point violations. For example, if you get 2 speeding tickets for going 25 mph over the speed limit within 1 year you could lose your license for 3 months.

If you do accumulate 12 points, you will receive a Summary Notice of Suspension. The length of the actual suspension depends on the number of points and timeframe within which you incurred the points.

How long will your license be suspended?

  • 12-15 points = 3 months suspension
  • 16-17 points = 4 months suspension
  • 18-19 points = 5 months suspension
  • 20 or more points = 6 months suspension

Need help with your traffic ticket or license suspension?

Are you worried about the points you’ve accumulated on your license in South Carolina? Call Attorney Susan E. Williams for a free consultation.

Email Attorney Susan E. Williams using this contact form.

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