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Is Driving With a Suspended License a Misdemeanor?

If you ask anyone who has ever had their license suspended, they’ll tell you it isn’t fun. Having your freedom to drive taken away can turn your life upside down. 

In the state of South Carolina, your license can be suspended for several reasons, including car accidents or traffic offenses. Although frustrating, it’s important to never drive with a suspended license. If you do end up involved in an accident and have your license revoked, it’s important to consult a car accident attorney in South Carolina to help guide you through the process. 

In this article, we’ll examine what driving on a suspended license can mean, as well as ways to get your license reinstated.

Is Driving With a Suspended License a Serious Crime?

From a criminal record perspective, driving with a suspended license is not a major crime—under South Carolina law, it’s a misdemeanor. However, don’t let that fact allow you to think it’s okay. 

Why Do Licenses Get Suspended?

Typically, people get their licenses suspended because they have had too many traffic violations in a given period of time. This includes speeding, reckless driving, failure to signal, or even having a broken tail light. The state of South Carolina has what is known as a ‘points system.’ Offenses range from two to six points per offense; if you accumulate twelve points, your license will be suspended, typically for three to six months.

Here are a few non-driving crimes that can also lead to your license being suspended:

  • failing to pay court-ordered child support
  • failure to pay tickets
  • failure to pay taxes

How Do I Get My License Back?

In order to get your license reinstated, you must complete your suspension period without any further traffic incidents. Then, you can apply to have your license restored. Getting a license reinstated is not as simple as waiting out the court-ordered ninety or 180 days–you must complete several steps to make sure it can be reinstated. The requirements may be one or several of the following:

  • proof of state minimum insurance
  • completing a South Carolina Alcohol Drug Safety Action Program
  • paying any unpaid tickets
  • resolving any traffic offenses in other states.

Completing these steps as required by law can be challenging, and it is advisable to hire a qualified attorney to help you get your license back. If you were in an accident, you might be wondering: what does a car accident lawyer do? In short, they can help you through the process from start to finish, ensuring that your legal rights are protected and that someone has your best interests at heart throughout any court cases that may arise. You might also wonder, how long does it take to settle an accident claim in South Carolina? That depends on a variety of factors as the case moves through the court system.

Some drivers are able to receive route-restricted or provisional licenses to help them get to and from work or other necessary appointments–still, it’s important to consult with an attorney to help you reach the best possible outcome.

What Happens if I’m Caught Driving on a Suspended License?

If you are caught driving with a suspended license, you may have additional time added to your suspension. Beyond these extensions, the penalties for driving with a suspended license aren’t light—they start with a $300 fine and up to thirty days in jail for the first offense. The penalties double to $600 for the second, and $1000 for the third and subsequent offenses. Additionally, the second and third offenses can lead to jail time of up to sixty or ninety days, respectively. Any further offenses are a $1000 fine and up to six months of house arrest. If the suspension is a result of a DUI offense, these penalties are even harsher, resulting in up to three years in jail.

As you can see, it’s not a wise choice to drive while on a suspended license, even if it is only a misdemeanor.



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