In order to be convicted of driving under the influence, known as DUI, in the state of South Dakota, your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, must reach a certain minimum. For individuals below the legal drinking age, the BAC limit is .02 percent. If you are over 21, however, it is .08 percent as is standard in every state, but it drops to .04 percent for commercial drivers. In South Dakota, the penalties and fines vary according to your BAC level, and higher levels mean stricter penalties.
South Dakota makes it possible, in certain circumstances, for a defendant in a DUI case to plea down to a “wet reckless” charge. However, if you later receive a drunk driving conviction, this “wet reckless” will most likely still count as a prior DUI.
Implied Consent Law
South Dakota is one of the many states to have passed an “implied consent law.” Consequently, if an officer has probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence, you are required to consent to a chemical test of a bodily substance such as your breath or blood. The type of test administered depends on whether you are suspected of driving with drugs in your system.
It is up to the arresting officer to determine which chemical test you should take. Should you refuse to take the test, the officer will immediately take your driver’s license from you and give you a temporary, 120-day driving permit in its place. After your hearing, unless you prove that the arresting officer had no probable cause, the suspension of your license will last a full year.
Some states have increased suspension periods for repeat offenses or refusals. In South Dakota, however, this one-year revocation applies for a first, second or third offense although the minimum suspension period may range from 30 days on up to a year.
Felony DUI in South Dakota
South Dakota courts will look back for a period of 10 years when determining a DUI-related sentence. A third conviction for driving under the influence within a 10-year period qualifies as a class 6 felony and carries up to a two-year jail sentence. For a third offense, if you have previously been convicted of a felony, you will be charged with a class 5 felony. A fourth or subsequent offense, predictably, arises to the level of a class 4 felony.
Changes to South Dakota DUI Laws in 2008 and 2013
Several changes have been made to South Dakota DUI laws over the past decade. In 2008, the House passed a bill that permits the court to allow an individual convicted of DUI, after completing a treatment program, to operate a car for certain purposes. These purposes include getting to work, school or to a counseling session. The bill also introduced a 24/7 sobriety program that requires twice-a-day Breathalyzer tests for such individuals.
In 2013, Senate Bill 70 reduced penalties for nonviolent offenders, including those convicted of DUIs. It allows such offenders to serve out more or all of their sentences via community work rather than prison. It continues the 24/7 sobriety program. The bill also classified a sixth DUI offense as an “aggravated,” or violent, offense.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In South Dakota?
The legal alcohol limit in South Dakota is .08 percent. A driver found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above this limit is charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
Drivers of commercial vehicles are subject to a stricter BAC limit of .04 percent. South Dakota’s zero tolerance policy mandates that drivers not of legal drinking age adhere to a BAC limit of .02 percent.
A DUI conviction can result in severe penalties, potentially including:
- For a first offense, a person may have a license revoked for up to one year, receive a fine of up to $1,000 and get a jail term of one year.
- A second offense can also yield a fine of $1,000, loss of driving privileges for one year and a jail term of twelve months (three days mandatory).
- A third offense, charged a felony, can also result in a yearlong license revocation period, up to two years in jail (at least ten days in jail), a fine of $2,000 and mandatory counseling.
Subsequent offenses are also charged as felonies and may result in penalties that are even more severe. Offenses involving a BAC of at least .17 percent or another aggravating factor can also lead to enhanced penalties.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In South Dakota
People convicted of DUI in South Dakota may be eligible to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed as part of the Sobriety 24/7 initiative. This program allows people to have driving privileges reinstated.
- Prevents a vehicle from starting if an individual provides a failing breath test
- Must be paid for by the person convicted of driving under the influence
- Needs to be installed by an authorized service provider
While an IID has benefits, it’s important to understand that failed breath tests during use can result in additional penalties.