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.