Helping York, Lancaster and Chester County drivers get their licenses back
The loss of a driver's license can mean loss of a job, educational opportunities, difficulties managing day to day life, and your general freedom to come and go as you please. The process of navigating the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Administrative Law Court and its Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings (OMVH) can be daunting. Not knowing the rules or procedures can leave you stuck when you could potentially be entitled to restoration of your driver's license.
Holland Law is here to help. Whether you're seeking a temporary license or fighting to keep your CDL, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Contact the firm in Fort Mill or Rock Hill to learn more about your options for securing your driving privileges.
Suspension vs. revocation of your license
If you make mistakes while driving or even keeping up with some of life's responsibilities, you could risk the DMV suspending or revoking your driver's license.
A suspension means you will temporarily lose your driving privileges, but you are automatically eligible to have them restored after the suspension period ends provided you have met all requirements. There will be a reinstatement fee, and possibly other fines or fees you'll be required to pay. You may also be required to take an educational course depending upon the reason for your suspension.
A revocation means that you have completely lost your driving privileges until you can earn them back after a certain period of time, if at all. Again, this may mean successful participation in educational or treatment programs and fulfilling other requirements to show you should be granted re-issuance of your driver's license.
Driving under suspension has severe consequences
South Carolina takes driving under suspension very seriously. What was just a simple 30-day suspension is now something much bigger. Here's what you could be looking at:
Non-alcohol related violations.
- 1st offense: fine and/or prison for up to 30 days.
- 2nd offense: fine and/or prison for up to 60 days.
- 3rd or subsequent offense: fine and prison for up to 90 days, or home confinement for 90 - 180 days.
- 1st offense: fine or prison for 10 - 30 days.
- 2nd offense fine or prison for 60 - 180 days.
- 3rd or subsequent offense: fine and prison for a period of 6 months - 3 years.
Common causes for losing a driver's license in South Carolina
Take a look at some of the reasons you could have your driver's license suspended or revoked:
- DUI has additional penalties to license suspension, including the possibility of significant prison time and hefty fines. A successful hearing could result in issuing you a provisional driver's license so that you can at least get back and forth to work and/or school.
- Reckless driving, such as racing or excessive speeding, can result in revocation of your driver's license for a period of one year, or a suspension for 3 months depending upon the charges under S.C. Code § 56-5-1620. You face a 5-year license revocation when the proximate result of a death is related to injuries from reckless driving under S.C. Code § 56-5-2910.
- Failure to file proof of financial responsibility will result in the DMV suspending your driver's license. It's illegal to drive uninsured in South Carolina and auto insurers are required to notify the DMV when an insured's policy lapses.
- Failure to pay child support can result in a penalty of having your driver's license suspended by order of the Family Court until your child support arrearage is brought current.
- Failure to pay DMV fees and/or taxes will end in a license suspension.
- Refusal to provide implied consent for blood alcohol testing when suspected of DUI. Although it's your right to decline testing, this results in automatic license suspension. To contest the suspension, you only have 30 days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative hearing. Just by requesting a hearing, you'll qualify for a temporary alcohol-restricted license allowing you to continue driving until the time of your hearing.
- Being a habitual offender, such as racking up repeated DUI charges or speeding tickets will cause a revocation of your driver's license.
- Excessive points. Repeated moving violations in a short period of time, including for speeding, causes points to accumulate against your driver's license. Once you have reached 12 or more points, your South Carolina driver's license will automatically be suspended for a period of 3 to 6 months based on the number of points you've earned. Charges from a single traffic stop can result in quickly accumulating 12 or more points. Under South Carolina law, running a red light (4 points) while driving recklessly (6 points) resulting in hit and run with property damage (6 points) means a 4 month suspension on top of any criminal charges you'll face.
In addition to your license being suspended or revoked, you could be required to pay a substantial fine as part of your penalty. Certain charges will also result in having to obtain SR-22 insurance coverage, at an increased cost to you. Holland Law will cover the requirements you will need to fulfill to give you the best argument to regain your ability to drive.
What happens at an OMVH administrative hearing after a DUI arrest?
If you refuse to take a breath test, or if you blow a .15 BAC, your license is automatically suspended, and you will be arrested. You can seek to keep your license by requesting an OMVH administration hearing within 30 days of your arrest. After that, your chance at requesting a hearing is gone.
This hearing involves you, your lawyer, the arresting officer, and a hearing officer. There is no judge and jury. Instead, the arresting officer will give testimony to the hearing officer. Your attorney will cross-examine the arresting officer, and present evidence in your favor. This hearing does not determine whether or not you are guilty of a DUI; it only determines whether or not your arrest was lawful. If you took the breath test, it would also determine whether or not the test was administered properly.
If your hearing is successful, the suspension of your license will be lifted, and you'll received a temporary license. If you are later convicted of a DUI, however, your license could be suspended again as part of the punishment.
The DMV can appeal a hearing decision to restore your license
If your hearing is successful and your license is reinstated, the DMV can appeal the decision. In order to do so:
- The DMV must file a motion for reconsideration with the OMVH within 10 days after receipt of the hearing officer's decision.
- The hearing officer must issue a written order upon the motion for reconsideration within 30 days.
- The DMV may file a notice of appeal with the Administrative Law Court within 30 days after receipt of the hearing officer's order on the motion for reconsideration.
This means that if your case initially resulted in successful restoration of your driving privileges and the DMV or judge fail to meet any of the requirements above, you keep your license. Hiring a knowledgeable defense attorney is paramount to keeping on top of procedural deadlines that drive Administrative Law hearings.
Act fast if your license is revoked or suspended in South Carolina
You don't realize how heavily you rely on your driver's license until you lose it. You have a limited amount of time to preserve your temporary right to continue driving while preparing your defense to retain your driver's license. Let Holland Law help. To schedule a consultation with at my Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or my Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, call 803-836-8680 or reach out to me through my contact page.