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South Carolina drivers pay big for out-of-state traffic citations

South Carolina drivers be warned: That out-of-state traffic ticket could come back to haunt you. Although many drivers tend to ignore traffic citations they receive while traveling in another state, those violations could turn into major problems in a hurry if they are not quickly resolved. If you think another state is unlikely to track you down just to have you pay a speeding ticket or other citation, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Decades ago, South Carolina joined a group of other states that banded together to promote traffic citation accountability. Those states agreed to cooperate in an effort to prevent errant drivers from returning home without paying their out-of-state violations. A set of communication protocols allows home states to punish drivers for their out-of-state tickets.

If a South Carolina driver receives a traffic citation in another state and fails to pay the fine or appear in court by the designated date, the other state will inform the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. The result: That person's driver's license will be suspended for failing to pay the out-of-state ticket. If that sounds like a hassle, be prepared; that's just the first step in an arduous process required to have your license reactivated.

Residents run the risk of going to jail because of the suspended license. Further, a fine must be paid in order for the suspension to be lifted. The driver must comply with the penalties associated with the original traffic citation, and official verification must be provided to the government to prove that you rectified the problem. Then, you have to pay a reinstatement fee to have the license problems expunged.

Rectifying an out-of-state ticket can be a difficult and confusing process, especially if it has gone to the license suspension stage. A South Carolina criminal defense attorney may be able to walk clients through this process. These attorneys may protect clients' rights while educating them about the steps needed to clear their driving records.

Source: Morning News, "TRAFFIC ROUNDUP: You have to be out of your mind not to pay out-of-state tickets" Allen Heidler, Feb. 15, 2014

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