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Similar to the court systems in many other states, the South Dakota court system consists of three different sets of courts organized in a three-tier structure. Depending on the severity of any particular case it will go through one of the bottom tiers while the topmost tier is reserved for appeals and administrative issues.
The bottom-tier courts are known as the magistrate courts, and they are mainly used for small claims, civil cases and preliminary criminal hearings. These courts also oversee real estate law cases.
The second-tier courts are known as the district courts, and they give original jurisdiction on a wide range of legal matters including large civil cases, criminal cases, domestic relations, juvenile issues and traffic infractions. The district courts also handle estate and probate cases as well as appeals from the magistrate courts.
Appeals of decisions made in the district courts go straight to the South Dakota Supreme Court, which is the court of last resort in the state. Decisions handed down from the Supreme Court are final for the state. This court also handles administrative matters such as bar admissions and court disciplinary procedures.
When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated South Dakota attorney by location and by practice area. We have South Dakota attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.