South Dakota DUI Laws & Penalties

South Dakota Drunk Driving Laws Explained in Easy to Understand Simple Terms

In South Dakota, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws are designed to penalize individuals who operate motor vehicles while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

On this page, we have tried to provide a detailed guide to the DUI laws in South Dakota, but it’s important to note that the specifics of each case can affect the nature of the charges and the severity of the penalties. Legal advice from a qualified attorney can provide more detailed information tailored to individual circumstances.

Key Points of South Dakota DUI Laws:

  • BAC Limits: The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% for drivers 21 years of age and older. For drivers under the age of 21, the state enforces a zero-tolerance policy, meaning any detectable amount of alcohol can result in a DUI charge. Commercial drivers have a lower limit, set at 0.04%.
  • Implied Consent: South Dakota enforces implied consent laws, meaning that by driving on South Dakota roads, drivers consent to submit to BAC testing if suspected of DUI. Refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test can result in immediate administrative penalties, including license suspension.
  • Penalties: The penalties for a DUI conviction in South Dakota can include fines, jail time, license suspension, and the requirement to attend an alcohol or drug education program. The severity of the penalties generally increases with the number of DUI offenses the driver has committed. A first offense can result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and a license suspension for up to one year. Penalties escalate with subsequent offenses, potentially leading to longer jail time, higher fines, and longer license suspension periods.

Table of Contents

There is a lot of information to cover regarding a DUI offense in South Dakota, so we have provided you with a quick-reference table of contents so you can jump to the section you need more information on or read through the entire page.

Penalties for a First Offense DUI in South Dakota

In South Dakota, the penalties for a first offense DUI (Driving Under the Influence) are quite strict. For those found driving or in control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater, under the influence of drugs or alcohol to a degree that renders them incapable of safely driving, the penalties include:

  • A potential jail time of up to one year.
  • Fines that can reach up to $2,000.
  • License revocation ranges from 30 days to one year.

Moreover, if a DUI involves a BAC of 0.17% or more, the driver must undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation and may be ordered to complete certain chemical dependency programs. It’s also important to note that South Dakota operates under an “implied consent” law, meaning that any person driving within the state has consented to BAC chemical testing. Refusal to submit to such tests results in a driver’s license revocation for one year, and the refusal can be used as evidence at trial.

For drivers under 21 years, the laws are even stricter, with any level of marijuana or a BAC of .02% or more leading to a DUI charge. Underage DUI violations carry their own penalties, including up to 30 days in jail, a maximum of $500 in fines, and license suspension.

Back to top

Penalties for a Second Offense DUI in South Dakota

A second DUI offense in South Dakota is classified as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense can include up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000, with the exact penalties at the court’s discretion. This means the court has the flexibility to order jail time, a fine, or both based on the circumstances of the case. Additionally, refusing a chemical test during a DUI arrest leads to a minimum 1-year license suspension due to the state’s implied consent law. If convicted, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year, and you may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license after meeting certain requirements, such as completing a court-approved chemical dependency program.

Moreover, the penalties for a second DUI in South Dakota can also include the requirement of an alcohol evaluation, potential chemical dependency treatment, and participation in a 24/7 sobriety program for residents of the state. Some factors may influence the severity of these penalties, such as your BAC level at the time of arrest, your cooperation during the arrest, your criminal history, and the potential impact on your career. South Dakota courts may issue driving permits for work or school purposes upon the completion of an alcohol treatment program, but this cannot be obtained until such a program is completed​ (DUI Process)​​ (Kinney Law, pc)​​ (NCDD DUI Defense)​.

It’s important to note that if you have a prior DUI charge within the past 10 years from another state, and it can be proven that you were found guilty of that charge, the court will consider your current charge as a second offense. Given the complexities and potential consequences of facing a second DUI charge, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can be crucial in navigating the legal system and minimizing the impact on your life.

Back to top

Penalties for a Third Offense DUI in South Dakota

In South Dakota, a third DUI offense elevates the charge to a Class 6 Felony. The penalties for a third DUI offense include:

  • Jail Time: Up to 2 years in the state prison. The court has discretion in determining whether the offender serves jail time, pays a fine, or both.
  • Fines: Up to $4,000 plus court costs. Again, the exact penalty within these limits is at the court’s discretion.
  • License Suspension: A third offense results in a minimum 1-year license suspension. After meeting certain conditions, such as completing a court-approved chemical dependency program, the offender may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: An ignition interlock device may be required.
  • SR22 Insurance: Before the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) reinstate your license or issue you a restricted license, you must provide proof of financial responsibility through a South Dakota SR22 insurance policy.

These penalties reflect the state’s increasing severity in response to repeated DUI offenses, highlighting the serious legal and financial consequences of recurrent impaired driving behaviors​ (DUI Process)​​ (NCDD DUI Defense)​.

Given the gravity of a third DUI offense in South Dakota and its classification as a felony, it’s crucial for individuals facing such charges to seek legal counsel. A knowledgeable attorney can guide navigating the legal system, potential defenses, and strategies to mitigate the consequences of the charge.

Back to top

Penalties for an Underage DUI in South Dakota

In South Dakota, underage DUI (driving under the influence) violations are treated as Class 2 misdemeanors. The penalties for an underage DUI can include up to 30 days in jail, a maximum fine of $500, and a suspension of driving privileges. The duration of the license suspension varies based on the number of offenses:

  • For a first offense, the suspension period is 30 days.
  • For a second offense, the suspension period extends to 180 days.
  • For a third or subsequent offense, the license suspension period is one year​ (​.

Back to top

South Dakota CDL DUI Penalties

In South Dakota, the penalties for DUI offenses involving holders of Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) are particularly stringent, reflecting the serious responsibility of commercial drivers. The laws are designed to ensure that CDL holders adhere to strict safety standards due to the potential for greater harm in accidents involving commercial vehicles.

For CDL holders, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is lower than for standard drivers. If a CDL holder is found driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% to 0.07%, they face disqualification. A BAC of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether the vehicle is commercial or non-commercial, leads to at least a one-year disqualification for the first offense. If the offense involves transporting hazardous materials, the disqualification period lasts three years. A second offense can result in a lifetime disqualification, which may be appealed after ten years under certain conditions​ (SD Truck Info)​​ (DMV.ORG)​.

Apart from alcohol-related offenses, CDL holders are also at risk of disqualification for other major offenses, such as refusing a BAC test, leaving an accident scene, using a vehicle to commit a felony, and negligent operation leading to a fatality. Serious traffic violations, such as excessive speeding or reckless driving, also have specific penalties, with disqualification periods increasing with the number of convictions​ (DMV.ORG)​.

For DUI and alcohol-related offenses, any detectable BAC below 0.04% results in a 24-hour out-of-service order, and refusal to undergo BAC testing can lead to at least a one-year disqualification​ (SD Truck Info)​.

The state of South Dakota also has specific programs and considerations for military personnel who hold or are seeking a CDL, acknowledging the skills and experience gained through military service​ (South Dakota Department of Public Safety)​.

To manage and potentially mitigate these consequences, CDL holders must be aware of the specifics of these laws and take steps to ensure they are in compliance at all times while driving.

Back to top

Aggravated DUI Circumstances

In South Dakota, DUI offenses are taken very seriously, and certain aggravating factors can lead to more severe penalties. While specific details on aggravating circumstances for a DUI in South Dakota were not directly found, common factors that generally elevate DUI charges include driving with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) significantly above the legal limit, causing an accident that results in injury or death, having minors in the vehicle at the time of the DUI offense, and being a repeat offender.

Drunk driving can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with the severity typically increasing based on these aggravating circumstances. For instance, committing a DUI with children in the car, engaging in reckless driving while under the influence, having highly elevated BAC levels, or causing serious injury or death while driving under the influence could lead to felony charges. Moreover, you can be charged with DUI in South Dakota if found to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired, even if you are parked. This emphasizes the state’s strict approach to DUI and the importance of not being in the driver’s seat if you have consumed alcohol or drugs.

The legal consequences of DUI in South Dakota are significant, potentially including loss of driving privileges, fines, mandatory counseling, and jail time. The exact penalties can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the offense and any aggravating factors. Additionally, a DUI conviction can have lasting effects beyond legal penalties, impacting employment opportunities and increasing insurance costs.

Given the complexity of DUI laws and the serious nature of the charges, it’s crucial for individuals facing DUI charges in South Dakota to consult with a legal professional who can provide guidance specific to their case and help navigate the legal system.

For detailed information on DUI laws and penalties in South Dakota, visiting legal resources or consulting with a DUI lawyer in South Dakota can provide clarity and support​ (​.

Back to top

Additional Consequences

In South Dakota, expungement can “seal” a criminal record, restoring a person’s status to what it was before arrest or conviction. In most situations, this process makes it legally permissible for individuals not to disclose their arrest or conviction. Certain misdemeanor convictions, including DUIs, might be automatically removed from public records after ten years, given all court-ordered conditions are satisfied. The specifics of expunging a DUI conviction can vary, so consulting with legal resources or a lawyer is advised for personalized guidance​ (SD Law Help)​.

Back to top

DUI Education Classes

In South Dakota, individuals charged with DUI or DWI may be required to complete mandatory drug and alcohol education classes as part of their sentence or rehabilitation process. The Carroll Institute, for instance, offers a 12-hour DUI course designed to educate participants about the risks and consequences of impaired driving. This course is typically required for those facing DUI charges. It includes instruction on the biological risks of substance abuse and strategies for prevention, conducted through various teaching methods.

Back to top

Ignition Interlock Requirements

In South Dakota, drivers convicted of DUI may need to participate in the State’s 24/7 Sobriety Program, including installing an ignition interlock device (IID). Costs for the IID are the individual’s responsibility. Devices must be from approved vendors, with data submitted electronically daily. License revocation periods vary by offense number, ranging from one year for a first offense to three years for fifth and subsequent offenses. The 24/7 Sobriety Program enrollment is required for license reinstatement and other steps, including tests and fees​ (Ignition Interlock Help)​.

Back to top

Implied Consent Law

In South Dakota, the implied consent law requires anyone lawfully arrested for DUI to undergo blood, breath, saliva, or urine testing to determine alcohol or drug levels. Refusing these tests after a lawful DUI arrest typically results in a one-year license revocation, though some drivers might be eligible for a restricted license allowing work travel​ (​.

Back to top

Driver License Hearings

In South Dakota, the process for reinstating a driver’s license after suspension or revocation due to a DUI includes paying a reinstatement fee alongside the application fee. Following revocation, you’ll need to pass vision and knowledge tests. The state outlines a range of offenses that can lead to license cancellation, suspension, or revocation, including DUI convictions, refusing alcohol or drug testing, and more. For detailed information on the offenses and reinstatement process, please visit the South Dakota Department of Public Safety’s website​ (South Dakota Department of Public Safety)​.

Back to top

DUI Lawyers

For those seeking DUI legal representation in South Dakota, numerous experienced lawyers are available. Eric Schlimgen in Spearfish and Robert Pasqualucci in Rapid City are among the professionals offering services ranging from DUI defense to personal injury and family law. Detailed profiles and contact information for these and other DUI attorneys in South Dakota can be found on Justia’s comprehensive legal directory​ (Justia)​.

Back to top

Additional South Dakota DUI Resources