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.