DUI in South Dakota

South Dakota laws extensively cover DUI offenses and have very specific terms. It's important to know what those terms are in case you are ever in a situation where a DUI charge seems imminent.

The DUI Law and Implied Consent

The DUI drunken driving law can be applied in any cases where you are driving a vehicle while physically or mentally impaired, which can be tested by field sobriety tests such as walking in a straight line or reciting the alphabet backwards. Also, to be charged, the police can prove the per se case, in which your blood alcohol content level is 0.08% or higher at the time of driving.

You can refuse the tests for blood alcohol and the field sobriety tests, but when you receive your license it is assumed that you have given implied consent to these tests at any time that an officer may have reasonable cause to suspect that you are drunk. Thus, it's not recommended that you refuse the alcohol tests because your license will be revoked for up to a whole year, even if you had done nothing wrong and were completely sober.

DUI Penalties at a Glance

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction $1,000+ Up to 1 Year Min. 30 Days
2nd Conviction $1,000+ Up to 1 Year 1 Year
3rd Conviction $2,000+ Up to 2 Years 1 Year after Release

Definition of a Vehicle

South Dakota has a very wide interpretation of "vehicle". For instance, if you are drunk and riding a horse, then you can still be convicted and arrested—vehicle is not limited to a car. Riding a bicycle, lawnmower, golf cart, or tractor while intoxicated can also result in the revocation of your license and many other unpleasant consequences. The Motor Vehicles Division in South Dakota will suspend the driver's license of drivers convicted of DUI.

Consequences and Penalties

South Dakota has a ten year period in which prior offenses will be considered. However, if your previous offense in DUI was more than ten years ago, then the new one will again be considered a first offense. Under your first offense, it is possible to receive jail time and you will face the loss of your license, along with fines and mandatory education programs for alcohol. Also, your auto insurance rates will surely increase. Even if it's your first offense, the DUI will be punishable by jail time for up to one year, so it's best to avoid breaking the drunk driving law in South Dakota, as it is perhaps one of the most stringent, with one of the most drastic consequence lists in the country. Your fine is from $1,000 to $5,000 and you will face additional costs of mandatory classroom instruction on alcohol.

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