Industry News for Criminal Defense Law in Columbia, South Carolina

What Is Reckless Driving in South Carolina?

In the state of South Carolina, the open roads and scenic highways beckon drivers from near and far. While the allure of these beautiful landscapes is undeniable, it’s essential to remember that behind the wheel, safety should always be paramount. Unfortunately, not all drivers heed this call, leading to an alarming number of reckless driving incidents on South Carolina’s roadways. In this blog, we’ll explore the consequences of reckless driving in the Palmetto State and why it’s crucial to take this offense seriously.

Reckless driving is more than just speeding or driving aggressively; it involves a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others on the road. In South Carolina, it’s defined as operating a vehicle “in a manner that evidences a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This broad definition can encompass various behaviors, such as excessive speeding, aggressive driving, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and ignoring traffic signals.


South Carolina takes reckless driving seriously, and the penalties reflect this commitment to road safety. If you’re convicted of reckless driving, you can expect the following consequences:

1. Criminal Record

A reckless driving conviction results in a criminal record. This can have long-lasting implications for your future, affecting employment opportunities, housing applications, and more.

2. Fines

Fines for reckless driving convictions can range from several hundred to over a thousand dollars. These fines can strain your finances significantly.

3. License Suspension

In South Carolina, a reckless driving conviction can lead to a license suspension. The length of the suspension can vary depending on the circumstances of the offense.

4. Insurance Premiums

Expect your car insurance premiums to increase significantly following a reckless driving conviction. This increase can last for several years, resulting in substantial financial burdens.

5. Points on Your Driving Record

Reckless driving convictions typically result in the addition of six points to your driving record. Accumulating points can lead to further consequences, including license suspension.

6. Potential Jail Time

In severe cases of reckless driving, particularly those that result in accidents or injuries, you may face jail time. The length of the sentence will depend on the severity of the offense.

Reckless Driving vs. Other Traffic Offenses

It’s essential to distinguish reckless driving from other common traffic offenses in South Carolina. While speeding or running a red light can result in traffic tickets and fines, reckless driving carries the weight of criminal charges. This distinction means that you may face more severe penalties and the creation of a criminal record.

Defenses Against Charges

When facing reckless driving charges, it’s essential to explore possible defenses. A skilled attorney can help you identify potential defense strategies, such as:

1. Lack of Intent

Reckless driving requires a willful or wanton disregard for safety. If your actions were not intentional, you may have a valid defense.

2. Challenging Evidence

Your attorney can scrutinize the evidence against you, including police reports and witness statements, to identify inconsistencies or inaccuracies.

3. Plea Negotiation

In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate with the prosecution for a lesser charge, such as careless driving, which carries fewer penalties.

4. Expert Witnesses

An expert witness can provide testimony about road conditions, weather, or other factors that may have contributed to the alleged reckless driving.

When facing reckless driving charges in South Carolina, it’s crucial to seek legal representation from a reputable criminal defense firm like Thompson and Hiller. Our experienced attorneys understand the nuances of South Carolina’s traffic laws and can navigate the legal system on your behalf.


Reckless driving is not a minor traffic violation in South Carolina; it’s a criminal offense that can have serious consequences. The penalties associated with reckless driving convictions can impact various aspects of your life, from your financial well-being to your personal and professional future. If you find yourself facing reckless driving charges, don’t take them lightly. Seek legal representation immediately to explore potential defenses and protect your rights.

At Thompson and Hiller Defense Firm, we’re committed to providing aggressive and effective defense strategies for individuals facing these driving charges. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us work diligently to protect your future and mitigate the consequences of reckless driving.

Remember, on South Carolina’s roads, safety should always come first. Don’t let a momentary lapse in judgment lead to a lifetime of regret. Drive responsibly, and if you find yourself in legal trouble, rely on our experienced legal team to advocate for your rights and protect your future.