If you are charged with a minor traffic violation, you may opt to pay a fine to avoid the hassle of court. However, convictions for certain driving offenses can have serious consequences, including steep fines and jail time. Even the suspension of a driver’s license could impede your daily commute and ability to work. For professional drivers, the suspension of a commercial license could prevent you from working at all.
If you face penalties for a violation made behind the wheel, especially for more significant charges, it is recommended that you consult a North Charleston traffic lawyer. A discerning criminal defense attorney could assess your prospects and recommend options for avoiding conviction, pleading guilty to a reduced charge, or seeking an alternative penalty that does not seriously impair your livelihood.
Options for Removing Driving Violations from Arrest Records
Hearings for traffic offenses under either municipal or state law in North Charleston take place in the Municipal Court. Court magistrates preside over cases related to parking and traffic offenses, as well as criminal violations such as intoxicated driving. The court schedules two jury trials per month.
If someone is charged with a driving violation, the charge may appear on their record. However, there are several processes through which a traffic charge could be removed. For a traffic case resolved through a dismissal, nolle prosequi declaration, or not guilty verdict, one may apply to have the charge removed from their arrest record after ten days.
If an individual’s case is dismissed after they participate in a Pretrial Intervention Program, they may apply through the program to have the charge erased. Those charged with minor driving offenses could speak with a local traffic attorney about qualifying for a Pretrial Intervention Program or other legal options available in North Charleston.
Penalties for Serious Driving Violation
There are harsh penalties for offenses that put human lives at risk because of careless or reckless conduct. Impaired driving, or driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, may result in significant costs and jail time. A driver convicted of a first offense could face a fine of $400 or imprisonment for up to 30 days.
Other penalties, even for offenses that do not result in injury, can be even harsher. A conviction for endangering a highway worker carries a fine of $500 to $1,000. Racing on public roads can be charged with a fine of $600 to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for two to six months, as well as a yearlong driver’s license suspension. Illegally passing a school bus may incur penalties of at least $500 or imprisonment for up to 30 days.
There are several possibilities for minimizing the penalties of charges like these. A driver accused of a traffic violations could discuss all available options with a knowledgeable North Charleston attorney.
Consult a North Charleston Traffic Attorney
If you are facing a charge for a driving offense, consult with a North Charleston traffic lawyer about your options for avoiding steep fines and other negative consequences. Alternatives to conviction could be more accessible than you think.
A quick phone call could make a difference in understanding your rights and available options under state traffic law. The effort of reaching out could turn out to be less costly than the penalty itself. Contact local legal counsel to learn more today.