South Dakota Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

Learn about the penalties—including fines, jail, and license revocation—for a DUI conviction in South Dakota.

In South Dakota, a person can be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:

  • with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater
  • while under the influence of any alcohol, non-prescribed drug, or intoxicating inhalant, or
  • while under the influence of prescribed drugs or alcohol to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle.

In other words, a DUI conviction can be based on an excessive BAC or actual intoxication.

Lower BAC Limits for Certain Drivers

While most drivers can be convicted of a “per se” DUI for driving with a BAC of .08% or more, certain drivers are subject to more a restrictive standard. For drivers operating commercial vehicles, the BAC threshold for is reduced to .04%, and a conviction carries additional license-related penalties. And drivers who are under 21 years old need only have a BAC of .02% or more (or any level of marijuana) to get a DUI. However, underage DUI penalties are different than those for a regular DUI conviction and tend to be more rehabilitative than punitive.

South Dakota DUI Penalties

South Dakota DUI penalties are primarily based upon the prior number of offenses within the last ten years. Based upon these factors, the judge has wide discretion in determining the appropriate jail, fine, license suspension, and treatment for a DUI conviction. The parameters for each offense are as follows:

1st Offense (Misdemeanor)

2nd Offense (Misdemeanor)

3rd Offense (Felony)

Jail

Up to 1 year

Up to 1 year

Up to 2 years in prison

Fines

Up to $2,000

Up to $2,000

Up to $4,000

License Revocation

30 days up to 1 year

At least 1 year

At least 1 year

Restricted license. The court can but isn’t required to grant a restricted license for the period of the revocation. With a restricted license, a person is limited to driving for only certain purposes like employment and treatment.

Substance abuse evaluation. For a second or subsequent DUI or any DUI involving a BAC of .17% or more, the driver will be required to obtain an alcohol and drug evaluation and may be ordered to complete certain chemical dependency programs.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Blood or Breath Test in South Dakota

Pursuant to South Dakota “implied consent” law, any person driving within the state is deemed to have consented to BAC chemical testing to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs. Motorists who refuse to submit to lawfully requested tests will have their driver’s license revoked for one year. The fact that the driver refused testing may also be used at trial to prove culpability.

Plea Bargaining in South Dakota DUI Cases

If you get charged with a DUI in South Dakota, you might be hoping to get the charge reduced or dismissed altogether. However, unless the court throws out evidence that’s critical to prove the charge, it’s unlikely a prosecutor will agree to a complete dismissal. South Dakota statutes prohibit dismissal or reduction of a DUI without good cause.

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