Submitted December 1, 2016
From Richland County L. Casey Manning, Circuit Court Judge.
L. Valenta, Jr., Philip S. Porter, and Brandy Anne Duncan,
all of Blythewood, for Appellant.
D. Elliott, of Law Offices of John D. Elliott, P.A., of
Columbia, for Respondent.
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (the DMV) appeals
the circuit court's order enjoining the DMV from
suspending Anna Dillard Wilson's driver's license
five years after her conviction for driving under the
influence of alcohol (DUI). We affirm.
November 22, 2008, an officer with the Irmo Police Department
arrested Wilson for DUI. Subsequently, on June 11, 2009,
Wilson pleaded guilty to the same offense before the Irmo
Municipal Court. Following her conviction, Wilson paid the
requisite fines and enrolled in and completed the Alcohol and
Drug Safety Program (ADSAP). In August 2009, Wilson contacted
a local DMV branch to obtain a restricted driver's
license. However, the DMV informed her there was no DUI
conviction on her record. Wilson then contacted the Irmo Town
Clerk and was informed her DUI ticket was sent to the DMV on
July 1, 2009. Thereafter, Wilson contacted her insurance
agent, who then went to another local DMV branch to inquire
about the conviction, but was similarly told that no DUI
conviction existed on Wilson's record.
regularly conducts audits of all outstanding tickets for the
previous year in every jurisdiction that issues a traffic
citation, including the Irmo Police Department. Wilson's
DUI ticket was included in the audit reports for 2010, 2011,
and 2013. The 2010 and 2011 audit reports indicated
the ticket was "in court, " and the 2013 audit
report indicated the ticket was sent to the DMV. However, the
DMV did not have a record of receiving the ticket in 2013,
and that same year, the DMV requested the Irmo Police
Department send a certified copy of the ticket. Eventually,
on May 20, 2014, the DMV received a certified copy of
Wilson's ticket. On May 27, 2014, four working days after
receiving the ticket and nearly five years after the DUI
conviction, the DMV notified Wilson that her driver's
license would be suspended as a result of her June 2009 DUI
9, 2014, Wilson brought an action against the DMV in the
circuit court for declaratory and injunctive relief. Wilson
also moved for a temporary restraining order, which the
circuit court granted. Following a hearing on the issues, the
circuit court issued an order on March 23, 2015, permanently
enjoining the DMV from suspending Wilson's driver's
license. In addition to finding that Wilson had no other
remedy at law, the court found the five-year lapse between
Wilson's conviction and her suspension would deprive her
of fundamental fairness required by due process and cause her
undue hardship. This appeal followed.
for injunctive relief are equitable in nature." Hipp
v. S.C. Dep't of Motor Vehicles, 381 S.C. 323, 324,
673 S.E.2d 416, 416 (2009) (per curiam) (quoting Shaw v.
Coleman, 373 S.C. 485, 492, 645 S.E.2d 252, 256 (Ct.
App. 2007)). In an action in equity, an appellate court may
find facts in accordance with its own view of the
preponderance of the evidence. Id. at 325, 673
S.E.2d at 416.