A third DUI in South Dakota is a very serious charge. With lots of details and complications involved, the weight of the forthcoming punishment sits heavily on the mind of the accused. Adequate knowledge and competent legal aid can help take off some of this weight and let you breathe easy.
A third offense DUI in South Dakota can cause at least a year’s suspension of your driving license by the DMV. The time shall be counted from the date of sentencing or the date on which you were released from prison--whichever is earlier. A restricted license may be allowed if the requirements of the court are met.
The jail sentence, financial penalties and other punishments the court gives after a conviction fall under the category of criminal penalties. In South Dakota, a third DUI offense is viewed very seriously and hence the criminal penalties for this crime are proportionately grave. Upon conviction, you shall have to face:
- A fine of up to $4,000. It may be less depending on the will of the court.
- A jail term lasting up to two years. You might have to serve both the fine and the sentence or only one of the two if the court decides so.
The Lookback period
The lookback period is the number of years the court looks into your record for previous DUI offenses. This helps the court decide the gravity of the current offense. For a third offense DUI in South Dakota, this lookback period is 10 years.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor in South Dakota
South Dakota treats third offense DUI cases as class 6 felonies. It does not matter if there are other charges upon the defendant related to the DUI. Most states do not consider drunk driving a felony unless other complications like damage of property or life are involved. South Dakota in this regard is different.
In any DUI case filed in South Dakota, the defendant is presented with three pleas options: guilty, not guilty or a chance to negotiate the sentence called plea bargaining. Any good attorney gives first preference to the not guilty plea though he may go for a plea bargain to reduce the severity of the sentence.
If you are charged with a DUI offense in South Dakota, a good lawyer should be the first thing that you make sure you have. In a difficult legal situation, sound legal help is the only thing you can rely on. Taking into consideration the complexity of DUI laws in South Dakota, it is wise to hire an efficient DUI attorney.