Guide to Reading a SC Traffic Citation
Reading and understanding a South Carolina Uniform Traffic Citation can be confusing. However, there is critical information written on your ticket that you or your lawyer need to know to fight your ticket. The below guide illustrates where to find the most important information the citation that a lawyer will need from you to properly evaluate your case.
(1) Who received the traffic ticket?
Generally, license points and insurance related to traffic tickets are assessed to the person ticketed, not the person who owns the vehicle. However, insurance points can be assessed to the person who owns the vehicle if the person who was issued the ticket is on the same insurance policy as the owner of the vehicle. The name listed on the top line is the defendant who was charged with the violation.
(2) Where is the driver of the vehicle licensed?
Every state treats traffic charges in South Carolina like they are charges in your home state. For instance, North Carolina DMV will suspend a North Carolina driver’s license for a conviction of speeding 80 in a 60 mph zone. Therefore, North Carolina DMV will suspend a NC driver’s license after a conviction of speeding 80 / 60 in South Carolina. Be aware that South Carolina DMV will send notice of a conviction to your home state’s DMV.
(3) Do you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
Generally, CDL drivers are held to a higher standard. Traffic convictions can affect your ability to earn a living and a lawyer needs to know if you are a CDL driver.
(4) When is your court date?
The Date of Trial on the ticket is the date your case is scheduled to be heard in Court. It is very important to contact a lawyer before your court date. If you miss your court date, you will be tried in your absence (TIA), and a lawyer may not be able to help with your case in South Carolina if you have already been found guilty.
(5) What time is your trial?
Example in the ticket above is 1400 (2:00 p.m.) Your initial appearance starts at 2:00 pm, but it may not end until much later. However, it is important to arrive early if you decide to represent yourself in Court.
(6) What court has your case?
“Traffic Court” is listed on the example ticket. However, a magistrate or municipal court will often be stated under the “Name of Trial Court” along with the address where the Court is located. The Judge’s name may also be listed on this line.
(7) What is the charge on the ticket?
In the example ticket above, the violation is Speeding. For a speeding ticket, the speed you were going will generally be listed then a forward slash followed by the speed zone. For example, if you see (80/60) on your ticket, this means you were charged going 80 mph in a 60 mph zone.
(8) What is the Officer’s name and rank who wrote your ticket?
In the example ticket above, Trooper J.E. Perry wrote this ticket. This information can be helpful to your lawyer. Your lawyer will likely want to know if your ticket was written by a state trooper, deputy of local police officer when evaluating your case.
(9) What is the number on the bottom of the ticket?
5102P0248998 is the Ticket #. This is a unique identifying number for each individual ticket and is how your case is tracked and can be searched in the Court’s Case Records system. You can look up a ticket by the ticket number online at the South Carolina Courts Website.
(10) Where did you get this ticket?
The location and County where you received the ticket is listed here. This can be useful information for your lawyer to know when evaluating your case. The above ticket is a Kershaw County Traffic Ticket.