Pay Traffic Ticket in South Carolina
Pleading Guilty to Your SC Ticket
Paying your SC traffic ticket means pleading "guilty" or "no contest" (some courts refer to this as “nolo contendere") and paying the ticket fine along with related court costs and surcharges.
Generally, choosing this option means:
- Depending on the county or municipality that issued your ticket, you might be able to pay your fine online.
- See How to Pay Your SC Traffic Ticket below for details.
- You'll accumulate driving record points.
- If eligible, you can later remove points with a state-approved defensive driving course. See Check Your Driving Record below for details.
- Depending on the number of points you accumulate OR the traffic violation itself, you could face driver's license suspension.
- Your auto insurance company might increase your rates.
Note that if:
- Your traffic violation required you to post bail with the ticketing officer, pleading “guilty" or “nolo contendere" results in forfeiture of that bail.
- You're charged with a serious traffic offense, such as driving under the influence (DUI), you face much stiffer penalties and higher fines for pleading to or being found guilty.
- Consider seeking counsel from an attorney before making this plea.
Your citation states your deadline to pay your SC traffic ticket; failing to pay your fine on time could result in additional fines and penalties. If you can't find the date or have any questions, contact the presiding court.
CDL Drivers & SC Traffic Tickets
Pleading or being found “guilty" in court as a South Carolina commercial drivers means:
- You must notify your employer of a conviction.
- This applies no matter what type of vehicle you were driving when you received the ticket.
- You must notify the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of a conviction if you received the citation in any other jurisdiction.
- This also applies regardless of the vehicle you were driving when you received the citation.
- You face harsher penalties, such as a temporary or lifetime CDL suspension or revocation.
Check the SC Commercial Driver License Manual for more details on what to do as CDL holder if you get a traffic ticket.
How to Pay Your SC Traffic Ticket
Depending on where you received the ticket and the nature of your violation, you might be able to pay your fine online, by mail, or in person.
NOTE: You'll need your traffic ticket to pay your fine; if you've misplaced yours, refer to our section on Lost Traffic Tickets for instructions on how to retrieve the information.
Some counties and municipalities allow online traffic ticket payments.
Check the state's Pay Traffic Tickets Online for a list of participating courts and, if you're eligible, follow the system's prompts to pay your fine. Keep a copy of your payment receipt for your records.
Other Payment Methods
Most courts allow drivers to pay their fines by mail or in person.
Check the back of your SC traffic 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.
Defensive Driving Courses in SC
Depending on your court and the nature of your violation, a state-approved defensive driving course could be in your future:
- You might be eligible to complete a course for ticket dismissal.
- Your judge might require you to complete one of the traffic schools to satisfy your traffic ticket requirements.
- Often, drivers are eligible for point reduction for completing an approved driving school.
Your judge will information you about your options or requirements.
Car Insurance Rates
Your car insurance company likely will increase your rates after an SC traffic violation; it depends on your company's policies, but it's a common occurrence.
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.
Check Your Driving Record
Your driving record is a record of your driving history, and includes your traffic violation convictions and their associated points.
Whether you plead “guilty" or “nolo contendere" (or are found guilty if you challenge your ticket in court), it's important to check your driving record to make sure:
- Your driving record:
- Shows ONLY the traffic violation to which you pled “guilty" or “nolo contendere" or of which you were found “guilty" in court.
- DOES NOT show any traffic violation the court dismissed when you completed a defensive driving course.
- Your accumulated driving record points haven't put you close to license suspension.
- oIf you're close to suspension, you might be able to complete a defensive driving course to reduce your points.
Learn how to check your driving record and which department to contact if you find any incorrect information.