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Summary Judges Benchbook
South Carolina Bench Book for Summary Court Judges - Traffic Section

M.
Non-Resident Violations Compact

1. Generally

Act 461 of 1980 authorized entry of South Carolina into the Non-Resident Violators Compact (NRVC) and its terms became effective in this State on January 1, 1981. The NRVC provides a method for the enforcement of certain traffic violations which were previously unenforceable because the defendant did not post bond, did not appear for trial, and could not be located to be brought to trial or pay the fine.

The effect of the NRVC is that, following the issuance of the uniform traffic ticket (UTT) for certain moving traffic violations to a person who is licensed in South Carolina, or any other member-jurisdiction, a person who fails to post bond prior to the date of the trial, and fails to appear at the time of trial, will be tried in his absence, and if he is found guilty, his driver’s license will be suspended until such time as he pays the fine imposed by the court (or otherwise complies with the final order of the court). This is the basic procedure followed in all NRVC jurisdictions. Therefore, if a New York driver is stopped for speeding in South Carolina, is issued a ticket, does not post bond prior to trial, does not appear for trial, and is found guilty, his driver’s license will be suspended until he pays the fine to the South Carolina court which heard the case. The same would be true if a South Carolina driver were issued a traffic ticket in Florida, or any NRVC member-jurisdiction.

The statutory provisions regarding the NRVC are embodied in Chapter 25 of Title 56 of the South Carolina Code. This chapter includes:

1.

S.C. Code Ann. § 56-25-10, which authorized South Carolina’s entry into the NRVC.

2.

S.C. Code Ann. § 56-25-20, which authorized the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) (Post Office Box 1498 Blythewood, South Carolina 29016-1498) to suspend the driver’s license of any     South Carolina driver who fails to comply with the terms of a traffic ticket issued in South Carolina or in any other state which is a member of the NRVC. Such suspension remains in effect until (1) the driver presents evidence to the SCDMV that the terms of the       ticket have been complied with, and (2) the driver pays a one-hundred reinstatement fee.

3.

S.C. Code Ann. § 56-25-30, which authorizes law enforcement officers to allow any South Carolina driver, or a driver licensed in a state which is a member of the NRVC, to proceed on his own    recognizance following the issuance of the UTT.

4.

S.C. Code Ann. § 56-25-40 (a), which provides that under the following circumstances, a driver may not be released on personal recognizance by the law enforcement officer:

a.

if the officer requires the driver to personal appear before a magistrate, recorder, or other judicial officer;

b.

if the offense is one which alone would result in a suspension or revocation of a person’s license or privilege to drive;

c.

if the offense is a violation of S.C. Code Ann. § 56-1-440 prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license;

d.

if the offense involves the violation of a highway weight limitation.

NOTE: This statute has special application to South Carolina licensed drivers. The list of offenses not covered by the NRVC procedures is much shorter and less restrictive for South Carolina drivers from other NRVC member-jurisdictions. The result is that South Carolina drivers may be released on personal recognizance and the NRVC used for offenses such as violations of equipment laws, size limitations, parking laws and laws regarding the transportation of hazardous material. Drivers from other NRVC member-jurisdictions, if ticketed in South Carolina, may not be released on personal recognizance and the NRVC may not be used if the offense is in any of the categories listed above [(a) through (d)] or if it is a violation of any of the laws included in this note. (Equipment violations, size limitations, parking laws, transportation of hazardous waste regulations) (Important: See Procedures Under the NRVC, below)

5.

S.C. Code Ann. § 56-25-40 (b) provides for a criminal offense of willfully failing to appear in court, as required by the UTT, when the driver has neither posted bond, nor been granted a continuance. The penalty for this misdemeanor is a fine of not more than $200, or imprisonment for not more than 30 days. This offense is separate and distinct from the original traffic violation. A numbered arrest warrant charging S.C. Code Ann. § 56-25-40 (b), failure to appear, must be issued and served on the defendant.

2. Procedures Under the NRVC (General)

When a law enforcement officer stops a driver and issues a UTT for a traffic offense, he must first determine, based on the offense, whether that person should be arrested, appear before a judicial officer and required to post a bond. If, for example, the driver is licensed in a jurisdiction which is not a member of the NRVC, the officer must collect a bond or take the defendant before a judicial officer or simply issue the driver a ticket. In the last case, the court would have no true recourse if the defendant failed to appear. An updated list of the NRVC member-jurisdictions is located below.

Next, if the officer determines that the driver is licensed by a NRVC member-jurisdiction and that the driver is not subject to custodial arrest and appearance before a judicial officer, he must determine whether the violation charged is covered by the NRVC. The list of offenses which are not covered by the NRVC differs according to whether the driver is licensed by the State of South Carolina, or by another compact member-jurisdiction.

Type of Citation Generally Covered (S.C. and all compact members):

– Moving traffic violations which of themselves do not carry suspension or revocation

Type of Citation NOT Covered (S.C. and all compact members):

– Moving traffic violations which alone carry suspension or revocation of license

– Driving without a valid driver’s license

– Highway weight limitation violations

Type of Citation NOT Covered (All compact members except S.C.):

Other offenses which mandate personal appearance

– Equipment violations

– Inspection violations

– Inspection violations (No longer required of SC drivers/residents)

Parking violations

– Transportation of hazardous material violations

These offenses which are not covered by the NRVC are handled in the same manner in which they have been in the past, i.e., a "roadside bond" is collected or the driver is custodial he arrested and taken before a judicial officer for a bond hearing. Please note that only Department of Public Safety Troopers and Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Officers are authorized to accept roadside bond pursuant to S.C. Code §23-6-150, and S.C. Code §50-3-410, respectively. However, the practice of accepting roadside bond by a trooper is no longer prevalent. County and city law enforcement officers are prohibited from collecting roadside bond.

Upon a determination by the officer that a court appearance is not necessary, or that a "roadside bond" need not be collected, the motorist who is given the citation must: (1) be informed of the terms of the NRVC, (2) agree to abide by the terms of the citation, and (3) be allowed to proceed on his own recognizance. However, should the driver desire to post his bond with a trooper, a trooper may accept the money, subject to the limitation set forth above.

If the motorist either voluntarily posts bond with the trooper, or posts bond to the bonding court prior to trial, the NRVC procedure is never needed. Non-compliance with the terms of the citation will activate the NRVC procedures.

S.C. Code Ann. § 56-25-20 provides that within twelve (12) months from the date a citation was issued, a court must notify the SCDMV that a defendant is a resident of a NRVC member-jurisdiction, the SCDMV must notify the defendant’s home jurisdiction of his failure to comply with the terms of a citation. Upon notification, the home jurisdiction will begin procedures to suspend the driver’s license of that defendant.

If, at any time, the defendant pays the fine imposed by the court, the court will issue a receipt to him which will constitute proof of his compliance with the terms of the traffic citation. If the license suspension procedure has already begun, the defendant must present that receipt to the proper authorities in his home jurisdiction (SCDMV in South Carolina) in order to have his license and driving privileges reinstated. Should the defendant fail to pay his fine, even after his license has been suspended, the suspension will continue indefinitely, until he can present proof of compliance.

3. Procedural Guidelines for Administering the NRVC

1.

Citation is issued to member-jurisdiction driver South Carolina, or any other member-jurisdiction.

2.

In most cases, the driver is allowed to continue without posting bond. Exceptions: driving under the influence, reckless homicide, and other major violations. The officer has no discretion as to whether a courtesy summons will be issued. Those charges require that the defendant be placed under arrest and given a bond hearing in front of a judicial officer.

3.

If the driver posts bond prior to trial, or appears at trial date, or requests a jury trial or continuance, proceed as usual and NRVC does not apply.

4.

If bond is not posted, or other arrangements made for trial on the trial date, the defendant is tried in his absence, and if found guilty, DL-53 NRVC Form is prepared and defendant’s copy of the form is mailed to the defendant.

5.

The traffic summons and remaining copies of DL-53 NRVC Form are placed in the calendar file at least fifteen (15) days past the trial date.

6.

If the defendant responds to the DL-53 NRVC form within fifteen (15) days from the date it is mailed, then the "Home Jurisdiction" copies and "Notice of Withdrawal of Suspension" copies of DL-53 NRVC Form are destroyed, and this ends the NRVC involvement. The "Court Record" copies and of DL-53 NRVC Form should be attached to traffic summons as a permanent record of payment. Standard receipt should also be completed and provided to the defendant.

7.

If a defendant fails to respond within fifteen (15) days from the date of mailing, the judge should forward the "Home Jurisdiction/Notice of Suspension" copy of DL-53 NRVC Form to the SCDMV within twelve (12) months from the date of issuance. If the judge fails to send DL-53 NRVC Form within the required twelve (12) months, the SCDMV will be unable to forward it to the home jurisdiction, or in the case of a South Carolina driver, unable to suspend his driving privilege.

8.

A. If an out-of-state driver is involved, the SCDMV forwards DL-53 NRVC Form "Home Jurisdiction/Notice of Suspension" copy to the home jurisdiction, which will take administrative action against the driver.

 

B. If a South Carolina driver is involved, the SCDMV will notify the individual that his privilege to drive has been suspended, and will remain so suspended until the citation is cleared with the court.

9.

Upon defendant complying with the citation, the top portion of DL-53 NRVC Form "Home Jurisdiction/Suspension Withdrawal" and the "Court Copy") is completed, along with the judge’s receipt. The "Home Jurisdiction/Suspension Withdrawal" of DL-53 NRVC Form and the defendant's copy of the receipt are forwarded to the defendant. The defendant is responsible for presenting the "Home Jurisdiction/Suspension of Withdrawal" copy to his home jurisdiction (i.e. the state which issued his driver's license) for purpose of withdrawing the suspension.

10.

The "Court" copy of DL-53 NRVC Form is retained by the judge for court records.

4. Members of NRVC Compact

Members OF NRVC COMPACT

STATES

YES

NO

STATES

YES

NO

Alabama

X

 

Montana

 

X

Alaska

 

X

Nebraska

X

 

Arizona

X

 

Nevada

X

 

Arkansas

X

 

New Hampshire

X

 

California

 

X

New Jersey

X

 

Colorado

X

 

New Mexico

X

 

Connecticut

X

 

New York

X

 

Delaware

X

 

North Carolina

X

 

District of Columbia

X

 

North Dakota

X

 

Florida

X

 

Ohio

X

 

Georgia

X

 

Oklahoma

X

 

Hawaii

X

 

Oregon

 

X

Idaho

X

 

Pennsylvania

X

 

Illinois

X

 

Rhode Island

X

 

Indiana

X

 

South Carolina

X

 

Iowa

X

 

South Dakota

X

 

Kansas

X

 

Tennessee

X

 

Kentucky

X

 

Texas

X

 

Louisiana

X

 

Utah

X

 

Maine

X

 

Vermont

X

 

Maryland

X

 

Virginia

X

 

Massachusetts

X

 

Washington

X

 

Michigan

 

X

West Virginia

X

 

Minnesota

X

 

Wisconsin

 

X

Mississippi

X

 

Wyoming

X

 

Missouri

X

       

5. Traffic Ticket

FROM UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET FROM HIGHWAY PATROL TRAINING MANUEL CHAPTER 5 INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETION OF UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET

SHADED AREAS OF TICKET ARE AREAS THAT NO CORRECTIONS ARE PERMITTED

 

Use the box CHARGE CONVICTED OF to reduce speeding tickets to a lesser speed. Important all other changes to VIOLATION SECTION NO. OR VIOLATION LITTERAL Require that the ticket be rewritten.