South Dakota’s Open Container Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

Learn about the penalties for an open container conviction in South Dakota.

South Dakota law prohibits any person from consuming or possessing an alcoholic beverage in a vehicle unless the seal of the original package remains unbroken. This includes any:

  • package containing alcoholic beverages, or
  • receptacle containing alcoholic beverages.

This restriction applies to all persons within the car—including the driver and passengers—and to any vehicle located on public highways or state park roads.

Alcoholic beverage. South Dakota defines “alcoholic beverage” to include any distilled spirit, wine, and malt beverage. This definition does not include beer and wine of less than .5% alcohol—meaning, some non-alcoholic beers and mixers may be permitted.

Exceptions

Certain vehicles. South Dakota’s open container law isn’t applicable to passengers riding in certain types of vehicles. For instance, in statutorily authorized for-hire vehicles, passengers are permitted to possess and consume alcohol as long as it’s outside of the driver compartment.

Areas of the vehicle. South Dakota’s open container laws are intended to apply to the passenger areas of the vehicle. The open container restrictions aren’t applicable to items in a locked glove box, the trunk of the car, or behind the back seat (if the car doesn’t have a trunk) as long as they are not readily accessible to the driver or passengers.

Restaurant wine. South Dakota does authorize the transportation of a partially-removed alcoholic beverage after dining at a restaurant. However, the bottle must be resealed by the restaurant and placed in a sealed bag with a dated receipt.

Fines

An open container violation is a class 2 misdemeanor in South Dakota. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $500 and a maximum 30 days imprisonment. A person may be arrested for an open container violation but is generally released (as opposed to being taken to jail) unless other circumstances exist that justify further detention.

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