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South Carolina



Point & Suspension Systems

Point & Suspension Systems for Natural Resource Violations

South Carolina law has established suspen­sion systems based upon the accumulation of points assessed for convictions of natural resource laws.

The Game and Fish Point System applies to violations inland of the saltwater/freshwater dividing line and if suspended under this system, a person cannot hunt, fish, gather, trap, land, or pursue game, fish, crustaceans, or shellfish in the State (including coastal waters out to the three mile limit).

The Saltwater Point System applies to violations within the coastal waters of the State, seaward of the saltwater/freshwater dividing line. The point categories for assessments are recreational and commercial. Points are assessed according to the appropriate category. Upon accumulation of 18 or more points in the recreational or commercial categories, a person’s privileges to fish, gather, land, attempt to take, or possess fish, shellfish, or crustaceans within the coastal waters for the purposes of the affected category will be suspended. Suspensions under the Saltwater Point System do not effect inland freshwater fishing privileges except for shad, herring, and sturgeon which are regulated by coastal laws inland of the saltwater/freshwater dividing line.

Each time a person is convicted of a violation listed in the point systems, the Depart­ment must assess the points against the person’ s record. Half of the points on record are reduced for each full year in which the person receives no points. The Department of Natural Resources must suspend the privileges of any person who has accumulated eighteen (18) or more points.

In addition to these point suspensions, South Carolina law also contains mandatory suspensions for convictions of specific violations of the law. These suspensions are called “Statutory Suspensions.” See Table C for some specific examples of statutory suspensions.

Point System Suspension Appeals

A person who has been notified of a suspension may appeal the suspension pursuant to the South Carolina Administrative Procedures Act. The appeal of the suspension is not an appeal of the person’s conviction. The Administrative Law Court does not have jurisdiction to review the conviction, only the suspension. Appeals must be filed and served within 30 days of the date of suspension notice. You must file the appeal with the Clerk of Court of the Administrative Law Court.
South Carolina Administrative Law Court, Edgar A. Brown Building, 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 224, Columbia, SC 29201, Voice: 803- 734-0550, Fax: 803- 734-6400.

If an individual appeals a suspension SCDNR will temporarily end the suspension. The result is that an individual will retain the privileges that were initially suspended during the period of appeal. The period of appeal begins when SCDNR receives notification from the Administrative Law Court that the case has been scheduled for a hearing. SCDNR will notify the individual in writing when the period of appeal begins. Until that notice is received the suspension remains in effect. A withdraw of the appeal by the individual, or a finding in favor of SCDNR by the Administrative Law Court will result in the individual having to serve the remainder of the suspension. A finding in favor of the individual, or a finding by SCDNR that the suspension was in error, will result in a dismissal of the suspension.


  • A violation of natural resources law while under suspension may result in additional suspensions of one year to five years.
  • The purchase or procurement of a license, permit, stamp, or tag allowing suspended privileges while under suspension is a fraudulent purchase and is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,085.00 and an additional one year suspension of hunting and fishing privileges.
  • Failure to pay fines and/or restitutions may result in suspension of privileges.

To find out more information on suspensions, contact the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Records and Intelligence Section, Law Enforcement Division, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202 or call 803-734-3876.