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 as 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 with 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.
South Dakota DUI Penalties
Although South Dakota adheres to the .08 percent blood alcohol (BAC) level that is prevalent in many other states, the law clearly states that drivers under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances are prohibited from being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. What this distinction means is that a driver in South Dakota may be arrested and prosecuted for merely being inside a car and having easy access to the keys.
DUI Considerations in South Dakota
Drivers whose BAC level is determined to be .05 percent can still be charged with DUI in South Dakota. Lower BAC levels cannot be used to establish DUI, but drivers can still be charged for being incapable of safely operating their vehicles.
Individuals charged with DUI may face enhanced penalties if their BAC exceeded .16 percent. This is known as an “aggravated DUI.” In DUI incidents that caused the death of another person, individuals may face up to 15 years in prison and a possible fine of $30,000 since the DUI will then be considered a Class 3 felony.
The BAC level threshold in South Dakota is even lower for drivers who are younger than 21. A BAC of .02 percent could result in a Class 2 misdemeanor charge and a suspension of the person’s driving privileges among other possible South Dakota DUI penalties.
BAC testing in South Dakota can be done by means of Breathalyzer equipment or a laboratory analysis of blood or bodily fluids. Law enforcement procedures may call for test to determine the presence of marijuana or other controlled substances. The consent for performing any of these tests is implied in South Dakota. Drivers also have the right to request a third-party specimen collection and laboratory analysis at their own expense.
DUI Penalties in South Dakota
First-time DUI offenders in South Dakota can expect to be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. In most cases, driving privileges are automatically suspended for 30 days; the court may extend this period or impose certain conditions for the purpose of allowing the convicted person to drive to work or to keep court-ordered appointments.
A second DUI offense in South Dakota is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, but the driving restriction is typically extended to a year unless the court orders the defendant to attend a substance abuse treatment program. Driving without a license after a second DUI offense may result in a period of incarceration longer than three days.
A third DUI offense in South Dakota is treated as a felony. Whereas imprisonment is not typically considered during for first and second-time DUI offenders, third-time offenders could face 10 days in prison if caught driving during the mandatory suspension period of a year. DUI offenders charged for the fourth time can expect elevated South Dakota DUI penalties such as a license revocation period of two years plus a minimum prison sentence of 20 days.
Some county and municipal jurisdictions in South Dakota have sobriety programs in place for offenders whose second or consecutive offense may result in prison sentences. These programs may call for the use of interlock ignition devices, ankle bracelets, and voluntary alcohol testing.