DUS / Driving Under Suspension

Driving under suspension (DUS) charges are a trap for many SC drivers that can result in years of license suspensions and even a license revocation.

What do I mean by “a trap?”

People rely on their license to get to work so they can provide for their family and pay their bills. People need to get to the grocery store and people have emergencies that require transportation.

When there’s no one available to be their taxi service, even though their license is suspended, many people will get behind the wheel and drive out of desperation. Then what?

A DUS Conviction Results in Another License Suspension

You need to fight the first DUS charge – a conviction for DUS in SC results in an additional, consecutive license suspension. The new suspension doesn’t begin until the old suspension is over.

DUS is also a graduated offense, which means that the penalties become more severe each time you receive a conviction – in addition to new, consecutive license suspensions, the potential for jail time and the potential length of jail time increases each time you are charged with DUS.  

What is a Habitual Traffic Offender in SC?

In addition to the consecutive license suspensions from a DUS conviction, you will be in danger of the SC DMV classifying you as a “habitual traffic offender.”

If you are convicted of three or more “major” traffic violations or ten “minor” traffic violations within a three-year period, you will be notified that you are a habitual traffic offender and the DMV will revoke your license for a period of five years.

“Major” traffic offenses in SC include:

  • Driving under suspension (DUS);
  • Reckless driving;
  • Drunk driving (DUI, DUAC, or felony DUI);
  • Reckless vehicular homicide;
  • Manslaughter if it relates to a motor vehicle;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (with injury or death); and
  • Any felony charge that is related to a motor vehicle.
How Can I Avoid the DUS “License Suspension Trap?”

I need to get my license back - how do I avoid any more suspensions? There are three ways to avoid this “trap:”

  • Don’t get the first license suspension.
  • If you do, don’t drive until it’s over.
  • If you are charged with DUS in SC, get a DUS defense lawyer and fight it
What are the Elements of Driving Under Suspension in SC?

To prove DUS, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you were driving;
  2. That your license was suspended at the time you were driving; and
  3. That you had notice that your license was suspended.

SC’s DUS statute has very specific requirements for how the state must prove that you received notice – in some cases, they must produce a return receipt showing that you were notified by certified mail, and, in other cases, they must produce a letter from the DMV that was mailed first-class to your last known address.

If the state cannot produce proof that you were properly notified of the suspension that complies with SC DUS law, the Court should dismiss your charges or direct a verdict at the halfway point of your trial.

SC DUS – Driving Under Suspension Attorney in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Lexington

Lacey Thompson is a criminal defense lawyer with offices in Myrtle Beach and Columbia, SC. She only accepts criminal cases including traffic violations and license suspension issues.

If you were charged with DUS in SC, call the Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm now at 843-444-6122 or contact us online for a free consultation.