Can Traffic Violations Lead to Criminal Charges in South Carolina?

police stop

In South Carolina, traffic offenses have significant ramifications beyond the financial impact. Each traffic violation incurs demerit points on an individual’s driving record, which can ultimately lead to the suspension of the driver’s license and other associated penalties. Plus, some traffic violations are considered criminal offenses. This means that certain traffic violations can result in a criminal record. If you’re facing criminal charges due to a traffic violation, it’s best to contact a skilled Chesterfield Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help you minimize or avoid the consequences.

What traffic violations may lead to criminal charges in South Carolina?

When a driver violates one of the laws that regulate motor vehicle operations, it is considered a traffic offense. State laws vary in classifying and penalizing driving-related offenses. However, traffic offenses are generally classified as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies.

The classification of the traffic offense will depend on the jurisdiction’s law, whether you have prior convictions, and whether the offense resulted in injuries, death, or property damage. The majority of driving-related offenses are considered infractions. A traffic infraction is the least severe traffic offense, which may include:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to stop or yield
  • Failure to signal
  • Failure to wear a seat belt

While these offenses are generally prosecuted in traffic courts, the following violations may be heard in criminal court and classified as misdemeanors:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit and run
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence (DUI) of illegal substances
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • Driving without auto insurance or registration for the vehicle

The following traffic offenses are usually charged as a felony:

  • Reckless driving resulting in injury or death
  • Subsequent DUI offenses
  • Vehicular homicide

As you can see, a traffic offense can result in a criminal record. A criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life, so it’s crucial to enlist the help of a seasoned Chesterfield County criminal defense lawyer who can help protect your rights and interests.

If you’re charged with a misdemeanor or felony traffic offense, you may be subject to hefty fines, license suspension or revocation, community service, probation, vehicle impoundment, demerit points assigned to your driving record, and imprisonment. For many, the ability to drive is an integral part of their daily life. Without this privilege, earning a living and fulfilling your daily responsibilities can be difficult. While most traffic offenses result in small fines, a severe traffic violation may put you at risk of imprisonment.

To maximize your chances of achieving the best possible outcome for your case, it’s in your best interest to contact a determined lawyer from the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C. Our legal team is prepared to help shield you from your charges.