Pay Traffic Ticket in South CarolinaPage Overview
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
(Plead Not Guilty or Nolo Contendere)
- Contest ticket during your hearing.
- Possibly have a traffic ticket attorney represent you.
- Gain no penalties if found not guilty (except applicable court/attorney fees).
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
Paying your SC traffic ticket means pleading guilty or no contest (some courts refer to this as nolo contendere) and paying the fine along with related court costs and surcharges.
Generally, choosing this option means:
- You can pay your ticket costs online. Most counties and some municipalities allow online payments (see below).
- You’ll accumulate driving record points.
- You can later remove points with a state-approved defensive driving course (if eligible).
- You face license suspension or revocation depending on the violation.
- Your auto insurance company might increase your rates.
Note that if:
- You’re charged with DUI, you face must stiffer penalties and higher fines for pleading to or being found guilty. Refer to SC DUI.
- Your situation required you to post bail with the ticketing officer, pleading guilty or nolo contendere results in forfeiture of that bail.
How long you have to pay your fine depends on how the citation was signed off. Most courts require drivers to pay their fines within 15 days of their hearing dates (whether or not they go to court). Find this hearing date on your ticket.
Failing to pay your ticket on time could lead to license suspension, so be sure to contact your court with any questions.
Plead Guilty as a SC CDL Driver
CDL drivers can plead guilty and pay their fines much like regular drivers; however, guilty pleas and convictions bring harsher penalties for CDL holders.
Also, CDL drivers must notify their employers within 30 days of pleading guilty.
Learn more at Ticket Fines and Penalties.
Plead Not Guilty
Think you’re innocent? Pretty sure you or an attorney can prove it?
You can plead not guilty and have a hearing. Most courts conduct hearings during the same date and time printed on the ticket (meaning, you shouldn’t have to plead not guilty and have another hearing scheduled).
Learn more about this option at Fighting Your Traffic Ticket.
South Carolina allows drivers to pay their traffic tickets online―as long as the applicable county or municipality allows it.
Visit the state’s page titled Pay Traffic Tickets and Fines. The website adds a portal fee and a convenience fee to your total ticket costs.
NOTE: You must provide your last name and case number. Visit Lost SC Traffic Tickets if you’ve misplaced your citation and don’t have the information.
Keep reading for additional ways to pay your traffic ticket fine.
Most courts allow drivers to pay their fines via mail or in person.
Check the back of your ticket for information about these options. You should find the court’s mailing address and acceptable payment methods like personal checks, money orders, credit cards, cashier’s checks, and cash.
You can contact your court directly if you need assistance.
You’ll lose your license if you accumulate 12 points or more on your driving record. One guilty plea won’t cost you 12 points, but it can put you closer to suspension (or even push you over the edge, depending on how many points you already have).
You can enroll in the South Carolina Defensive Driving Course (SC DDC) once every 3 years to remove points from your driving record and ward off suspension.
Learn more at SC Point Reduction.
Check Your Driving Record
Be sure to check your driving record after you:
- Plead guilty, no contest, or nolo contendere. Make sure the DMV only added points applicable to your violation.
- Complete a defensive driving course. Make sure the DMV removed the applicable number of points.
Insurance companies are notorious for increasing policyholders’ rates for traffic violations.
Talk with your provider about whether you can expect an increase the next time you renew your policy; if so, consider comparing insurance quotes online to find more affordable coverage.Other Topics in This Section