Military Base Traffic Tickets in South Carolina
Traffic Tickets on South Carolina Military Installations and Federal Government Land are enforced by Federal Law and prosecuted in Federal Court. If you are driving on Fort Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base, or McEntire and cited for a traffic violation, you will be issued a Summons to appear in the United States District Court of South Carolina. These citations are no ordinary traffic tickets and must be treated seriously.
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Military Base Traffic Tickets in South Carolina
Major military installations are situated throughout South Carolina. The three largest, are located in the central part of state. Fort Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base, and McEntire Joint National Guard Base each serve a vital interest in protecting our country and thousands of people visit their facilities each day. Most of these visitors arrive by car and most do not appreciate the differences between law enforcement on post and off. Prior to entering the gates of these major South Carolina military installations, drivers are subject to the laws of South Carolina. South Carolina laws are enforced by South Carolina law enforcement agencies.
For example, visitor from Florida driving on I-77 North to get to his son’s basic training graduation at Fort Jackson can be pulled over for speeding by the South Carolina Highway Patrol. If that driver exits the interstate, but rolls through a stop sign, he could be pulled over by the Richland County Sherriff’s Department and prosecuted in Richland County Magistrate Court. However, once a driver passes through the gates of military installation, South Carolina law enforcement agencies lose their jurisdiction and all laws (including traffic offenses) are enforced by the Federal Government.
Speeding on Military Base Strictly Enforced
The Federal Law Enforcement agencies patrolling South Carolina military installations have a zero tolerance policy for ALL crimes. It is important to understand that the posted speed limit is the speed limit. While some state agencies and Officers may give drivers the freedom to travel five (5) mph over the speed limit, this is not the case on a military base. It is not uncommon for drivers on these Federal installations to be cited for speeding one or two miles per hour over the speed limit. Similarly, drivers must obey all traffic control signs and devices and should not expect any grace on the side of the road if cited for a violation.
Summoned to appear in Federal Court?
If you receive a traffic ticket on a military base, your ticket will contain a date and time for which you are to appear at the Federal court house in Columbia located at 901 Richland St, Columbia, SC 29201. Please note that this court house is extremely secure and it will take consider time entering. You will have to pass through a sensitive metal detector and all your belongings will be searched. Leave your cell phone in the car because you won’t be able to bring it in with you. There you will be prosecuted by an Army or Air Force Judge Advocate for a violation of Federal Law. A United States Federal Judge will preside over your trial. Generally, this is the one traffic court in South Carolina where you are not entitled to a trial by jury. At the designated time and in the designated court room, the Federal prosecutor will read the case roster and give each Defendant notice of the pending charges. How a Defendant responds is critical and, in some cases, can mean the difference between a dismissal and a conviction. Federal court is not the place to learn how to be your own lawyer.
SC Defense Attorney for Federal Court
If you are charged with a traffic citation (or any criminal violation) on a South Carolina military base, call our firm today and learn how we can assist you. Our defense attorneys are licensed in federal court and have experience handling these offenses. Attorney Nosal is also a JAG Officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard and has served as military criminal defense counsel for service members facing criminal charges and disciplinary action. Do not make the mistake of pleading guilty to a federal crime, without first learning your options. Generally, our attorneys can resolve your case without you ever having to appear in federal Court.
Contact our law firm today for a FREE Consultation on your Federal Court traffic ticket.
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Peter J. Nosal, Esq.
Thomas C. Jeter III, Esq.
SOUTH CAROLINA OFFICENosal & Jeter, LLP 852 Gold Hill Rd Ste 201
Fort Mill, SC 29708