What is Considered “Reckless Driving” in South Carolina?

In a scary statistic, a state like South Carolina ranks third in reckless driving in the U.S. What is reckless driving exactly, though?
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In 2018, most of the over 50K accidents that occurred in the U.S. were caused by reckless driving. Unfortunately, this is a trend that has continued in the past few years.

While reckless driving in South Carolina is a serious problem, and one that needs to be addressed, many people still don’t know what is reckless driving and how is it defined? Some people don’t even know their driving behaviors are considered illegal until they are facing a reckless driving charge.

Keep reading this guide from our Lexington car accident lawyers to learn what is reckless driving and other answers to other related reckless driving questions.


Reckless Driving Defined

A person in South Carolina is driving recklessly if they operate a vehicle with a wanton or willful disregard for other people’s property or safety.

Since the definition for reckless driving encompasses a wide array of actions and conduct, it can include other offenses that may have their own related laws, too. Some of the separate penalties someone may face along with a reckless driving charge include:

  • Racing with another driver
  • Improper start or peeling out
  • Passing another driver in a limited visibility area
  • Not stopping for law enforcement
  • Not yielding to the right-of-way
  • Driving 25 mph or more over the posted speed limit

It’s important to note that a reckless driving charge alone is a serious charge. Now, keep reading to find out if reckless driving a misdemeanor and how much a reckless driving ticket is.

Potential Penalties for Reckless Driving in South Carolina

In South Carolina, reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this charge, the penalties include:

First Offense Penalties

If you are convicted of a first reckless driving offense, you will face between $25 and $200 in fines and up to 30 days behind bars.

Repeat Offense Penalties

If you are charged with a reckless driving speed or another reckless driving charge within five years of the first, you will face the penalties mentioned above. Along with those, you may also lose your license for up to three months.

You may also wonder, how many points is a reckless driving ticket? In South Carolina, this charge will add six points to your driving record. If you accumulate 12 or more points within a certain amount of time, your license may be suspended.

If you happen to have a license from another state, you may face the immediate suspension of your license. This depends on the laws in your state of residence.

Careless Operation vs. Reckless Driving

In South Carolina, no state law addresses careless operation. While this is true, some municipalities have created this type of offense. These only appear in local city courts.

If you are charged and convicted of a careless operation in South Carolina’s municipal courts, it is also considered a 30-day misdemeanor. However, unlike a reckless driving charge, this does not result in any points on your license.

Also, it won’t count as reckless driving or cause your license to be suspended or revoked. Sometimes, the fines you face will be higher if you are charged with careless operation.

DUI and Reckless Driving Charges – Wet Reckless

You can face DUI and reckless driving charges. If you are charged with a DUI, also called operating under the influence (OUI), it may be possible to receive a plea deal.

If you plea your DUI down to a reckless driving charge, it may be called a “wet reckless.”

Reckless Homicide Charges

If someone dies because of your reckless driving, you may face a reckless homicide charge. In South Carolina, the maximum penalty for this is 10 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

Also, reckless homicide charges could result in your driver’s license being suspended or revoked for up to five years.

After serving your sentence and paying the fine, you can petition the court to reinstate your license. This can only occur a year after the date it was revoked.

You would be eligible for this provisional reinstatement if the original incident didn’t involve a DUI. Your driving ability, character, habits, attitude, and driving record should also indicate that it is safe for you to get back on the road.

If you plan to apply for this, you have to let the deceased person’s representative know of your intent. If desired, that representative can request a formal hearing to determine if reinstatement is allowed.

It is important to report reckless driving when witnessed, but if you are the person accused, it can have a serious impact on your life in many ways.

Common Questions about Reckless Driving South Carolina

Even with the information above, you may still have some questions about reckless driving in South Carolina. Some of the most common can be found here.

Will Reckless Driving Result in Criminal Charges?

In South Carolina, reckless driving is a criminal offense. It is also considered a traffic offense.

Will a Reckless Driving Charge Impact Your Employment?

Being convicted of reckless driving may cause you to lose your job. This is especially the case for individuals who have a CDL.

In this case, even a first reckless driving charge and conviction can cause your CDL license to be revoked. It may also make it difficult to find employment as a driver in the future.

Protect Your Rights

If you are charged with reckless driving in South Carolina, make sure to protect your rights by hiring an auto accident attorney in Columbia, SC. The right legal professional can help ensure you have a strong defense to minimize the long-reaching effects of this charge.

To learn more or find more information about reckless driving defense or to find legal representation if you have been injured by a reckless driver in South Carolina,

Please contact our team today.

We are here to help in the state of South Carolina. We have law offices in Orangeburg, Lexington, and Columbia, SC.



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