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802 Coleman Blvd., Suite 200, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464

Stuck with a suspended license?

By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER, Associated Press

BLYTHEWOOD — Some South Carolina drivers with suspended licenses will get a chance later this month to have their driving privileges restored. From March 10 to 14, the Department of Motor Vehicles will reduce or clear certain suspensions if all fines are paid, certain insurance papers are filed, and any necessary tests are successfully completed.

“If you believe you qualify, we encourage you to start getting ready now,” DMV director Kevin Shwedo said. “The sooner you start the process, the better your chances of meeting every requirement.”

The program is offered at all DMV offices in the state but is not available to everyone. Drivers whose licenses were suspended for alcohol- or drug-related offenses are not eligible.

But drivers who faced suspension for operating an unlicensed or uninsured vehicle could be eligible, said department spokeswoman Beth Parks.

State lawmakers require the department to offer the suspension eligibility period once a year. The requirements can be complex, and vary according to the number and type of suspensions involved, officials said.

All fees must be paid and certain insurance forms may be required. Drivers with a clear record may apply for a new driver’s license, and some people may have to take certain tests to regain their license.

“Once a driver has a clear record, they may apply for a driver’s license,” Parks said.

If a driver has more than one suspension, the suspension time may be recalculated, Parks said.

There are 12,154 suspensions currently on the books that might be eligible, said Shirley Rivers, the DMV’s director for procedures and compliance.

The first suspension eligibility week was held in 2011. At that time, Rivers said, 233 people participated and 371 suspensions were lifted.

In 2012, 311 people cleared 336 suspensions. In 2013, 264 individuals cleared 290 suspensions, she said.

“The law is very specific about which suspensions are covered,” Rivers said.

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