SC DMV Begins Amnesty Week for Drivers With Suspended Licenses -

SC DMV Begins Amnesty Week for Drivers With Suspended Licenses

By Robert Kittle

Some South Carolina drivers with suspended driver's licenses will be able to get them back sooner during an amnesty period that began Monday at the state DMV.

The Amnesty Week will be May 16-20 in 17 DMV offices across the state.

It won't apply to all drivers with suspended licenses. Drivers with suspensions for alcohol or drug offenses will not be able to clear their suspensions during the amnesty period.

The amnesty will apply to:

--Drivers under 18 years old whose licenses were suspended for excessive points

--Those suspended for operating an unlicensed taxi or vehicle

--Drivers suspended for operating an uninsured vehicle that they did not own

--Those suspended for driving under suspension, not including alcohol or drug-related convictions

Columbia driving instructor Lesia Evans-Smith says, "I'm not sure about the kids under 18 getting their license back. I think they need some period to think about what they've done and that kind of thing."

But Malibu Jeffery was glad to hear about amnesty for drivers suspended for driving an uninsured vehicle they didn't own. That happened to her husband, when he borrowed his brother's car, not knowing that his brother had let his insurance lapse because he was in Iraq.

"I think that they need to look at that and just be like, 'Okay, that's not your fault that you were driving a vehicle and you had no idea that it wasn't insured," she says.

To get reinstated, drivers will have to meet all the conditions of their suspensions, including paying any fees and obtaining required insurance coverage. Because of that, DMV director Kevin Shwedo says, "Customers who think they may qualify for amnesty should start getting ready now. The earlier you take care of the requirements, the better off you are."

He says the DMV is expecting a large turnout during Amnesty Week, since about 13,000 drivers will qualify, so he suggests that drivers come in during the beginning of the week.

"We're encouraging people to get in there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because when we hit 5 o'clock on Friday the program ends. There will be no grandfathering any individual, even if you've started the process," Shwedo says.

The DMV will offer the amnesty program at only 17 of its offices because it requires additional training for DMV workers.

In the Upstate, the offices that will accept applications for Amnesty Week are:

--Greenville, 15 Saluda Dam Road

--Greenwood, 510 W. Alexander Ext.

--Greer, 610 Arlington Road

--Laurens, 390 Fairgrounds Road

--Seneca, 13009 South Radio Station Road

--Spartanburg, 1625 Southport Road

Elsewhere in the state, DMV offices that will take amnesty applications are:

--Bluffton, 15 Sheridan Park

--Charleston, 3790 Leeds Avenue

--Columbia, 1630 Shop Road

--Conway, 4103 Highway 701 North

--Florence, 3102 E. Palmetto Street

--Irmo/Ballentine, 1016 Broadstone Road

--Lancaster, 1694 Pageland Highway

--Myrtle Beach, 1200 21st Avenue North

--North Augusta, 1711 Ascauga Lake Road

--Orangeburg, 1720 Charleston Highway

--Rock Hill, 305 Hands Mill Road

The Amnesty Week was mandated by state lawmakers as part of the "Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Act of 2010." Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Harsville, main sponsor of that bill, says, "We thought that getting driver's licenses for those non-violent offenders would give them an opportunity to get back to work and we also set up an installment plan so that they could pay these fees."



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