South Carolina Reckless Driving Laws

South Carolina addresses reckless driving offenses as criminal violations, which also incur additional penalties in the form of administrative action taken by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

Reckless Driving in South Carolina

Per South Carolina's Code of Laws, Section 56-5-2920, reckless driving offenses are defined as any operation of a motor vehicle that exhibits intentional or wanton disregard for the well being of property or others.

Reckless Driving Penalties in South Carolina



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving


Incarceration of not more than 30 days, with fines of not more than $200


Suspension possible, but not mandated by statute unless 2nd offense within 5 years

Impact on Your Driver's License

Point accumulation results in license suspension for three months, if the driver accumulates 12 to 15 valid points on their license. With a 6-point violation like reckless driving, this may occur in conjunction with the potential of automatic license suspension for the reckless driving charge itself. For first offense reckless driving violations, however, a number of options are available to prevent an impending license suspension.

Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in South Carolina

Addressing the fallout from a reckless driving arrest in South Carolina entails two paths, including dealing with criminal proceedings and administrative proceedings. In South Carolina, administrative proceedings (regarding validity of license and other items) do not commence until the DMV has received concrete evidence of guilt from the criminal courts. Therefore, addressing pending criminal issues is the first task facing any driver. In any case, a driver should first use legal counsel to attempt an outright dismissal of the reckless driving charges. If that's not feasible, the courts are generally receptive to favorable plea agreements that may reduce the reckless driving charge to a lesser offense, if the offender agrees to plead guilty. This often spares a defendant the potential of incarceration, but still incurs fines and a probation period.

On the administrative end, first offense reckless driving convictions do not result in mandatory license suspension, and in practice, even points-based suspensions can be avoided by a driver utilizing a defensive driving program to remove certain points from their license. South Carolina does allow provisional licensing while suspended for certain drivers.

When to Get a Lawyer

For more information on South Carolina reckless driving laws, including how to best address the criminal and administrative issues in your pending case, it is imperative that you consult with a South Carolina reckless driving attorney.

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