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.

Client Reviews
Mindi and Laura were an amazing team team in helping my son with a traffic violation. There responsiveness from answering my phone call, to being able to pay the invoice online, showing up to court and representing my son for a ticket in less than 24 hours. Not to mention successfully having the ticket dismissed. The process was explained to us clearly each step of the way. This allowed us to prepare for any possible ramifications as well being patient with any questions we may have had. Even if the ticket did not get dismissed the care and attention they showed towards my son's situation made us feel very safe in their good hands for this legal matter. N. Jones
I retained Lacey Thompson & Hiller, defense firm for a difficult domestic violence case. She provided a strategy that won my case. Her legal skills are great, but just as important she's a supportive attorney who truly cares and her advice was spot on. I'll always be thankful. Besides Lacey, all the staff that I worked with at Thompson & Hiller firm were terrific: competent, professional, and personable. I recommend Lacey Thompson to everybody who needs a defense attorney. Anonymous
Attorney Laura Hiller, assisted me in 2013 by representing my daughter who at the time was only (14) years old in a juvenile criminal case being tried as an adult. The State charged her with murder. The claims at the time were completely shocking to myself and my daughter at the time and I wasn't sure what to do or who I needed to assist me with this. That's when I met Laura, who in all honesty kept me sane and hopeful through the entire process. She was so thorough when it came to gathering all information from all parties involved, aggressive when stepping into the courtroom, and behind the scenes. Most importantly though she was invested in proving my daughters innocence and I will forever be grateful for her and her work. My daughter's case was dismissed! Definitely who you want in your corner, whether the case is big or small. L.P.M.