Drunk Driving Defense Laws in South Dakota

The last thing you expected when you leave a bar was to be arrested for drunk driving. However, it’s more common than you think. The penalties for facing a DUI in South Dakota can be quite significant, especially if you have faced the judge on this charge before.

It’s best to know exactly what you are up against before you get to court. An experienced attorney can inform of your rights, including the right to a fair and impartial trial in front of a jury. However, if you are convicted of DUI, here are some of the penalties you will be facing.

What Constitutes a DUI in South Dakota?

A breath, blood or urine test showing that your BAC is over the legal limit of .08 percent means that the state will presume that you are driving under the influence of alcohol. However, if your blood alcohol concentration is under .08 percent to .05 percent, law enforcement may make the case that you are intoxicated. A BAC under .05 percent, though, and it is presumed that you were not under the influence of alcohol.

What Is Implied Consent?

If you are driving in South Dakota, then you are said to give your implied consent to breath, blood or urine testing to determine if you are intoxicated, either with alcohol or drugs. An individual also has the right to have his or her own chemical testing done at his or her expense.

What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI in South Dakota?

The penalties for DUI in South Dakota are severe. Whether you have been convicted of drunk driving in the past will determine what your penalties are. The penalties for a first-time conviction for DUI include:

  • This is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor
  • A fine of $1,000
  • 30-day to one-year suspension of driving privileges
  • A conditional license may be granted for the offender to drive to work or a counseling program ordered by the court

What Are the Penalties for Subsequent DUI Convictions?

If you are convicted of a second DUI in South Dakota, you will face the following penalties:

  • This is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor
  • A fine of $1,000
  • One-year suspension of driving privileges
  • If the offender successfully completes an alcohol treatment program, then the court may allow him or her to drive for work. If the offender is convicted of driving without a license during his or her suspension, then he or she will be imprisoned for a minimum of three days. This sentence cannot be suspended.

If you are convicted of a third DUI in South Dakota, you will face the following penalties:

  • This is charged as a Class 6 felony
  • A fine of $2,000
  • One-year suspension of driving privileges. This will begin when the offender gets released from jail or when the offender is sentenced.
  • If the offender successfully completes an alcohol treatment program, then the court may allow him or her to drive to work. If the offender is convicted of driving without a license during his or her suspension, then he or she will be imprisoned for a minimum of 10 days.
  • If the offender maintains financial responsibility and completes chemical dependency counseling, then the court may allow the offender to drive for work, school, attending counseling programs or for 24/7 sobriety testing.

All offenders convicted of a DUI in South Dakota will be required to complete a chemical dependency program before their driving privileges may be reinstated.

What to Do if You Are Arrested for DUI in South Dakota

It is important to understand the charges, possible penalties and possible defenses to DUI charges in South Dakota. An experienced attorney can develop a strong defense case against such a charge. He or she will review all of the evidence in the case, including the police report, arrest report, whether the officer was correctly certified to operate the breath test machine and more.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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