South Dakota DUI Laws & Penalties

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In the state of South Dakota, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a serious offense that carries harsh penalties. A convicted drunk driver faces up to several thousand dollars in fines; months or years of jail time; license suspension or revocation; and the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). If a driver refuses to take a chemical test, they face additional penalties on top of those from the DUI. A DUI conviction stays on a driver's record for 10 years in South Dakota and can hinder an offender's ability to find a job, rent an apartment or buy a car.

BAC and DUI in South Dakota

According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, DUI law states that it is illegal for any person to drive or otherwise have physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. If a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher, they face impairment charges, even if they do not appear impaired. Conversely, a driver with a lower BAC also faces charges if they show obvious signs of impairment when pulled over during a traffic stop.

If a driver's BAC is less than 0.05 percent, law enforcement does not presume impairment unless the driver has a commercial driver's license (CDL) or is under 21. If their BAC is 0.17 or greater, they face more significant penalties than they would with a standard DUI. These include the addition of a 24/7 sobriety monitoring program and court-ordered screening by a licensed or certified chemical dependency counselor or health care professional.

First Offense DUI in South Dakota

According to NOLO, a first-time DUI in South Dakota is a Class 1 misdemeanor and carries these penalties:

  • Up to one year in jail.
  • Up to $2,000 fine, plus court fees.
  • Possible installation of an IID on the offender's car.
  • Substance abuse screening.
  • License suspension of 30 days to one year.

Drivers can apply for a restricted driver's license following the suspension period. To receive one, they must show proof of SR22 high-risk insurance and pay a reinstatement fee of $50 to $200 to the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

The court may allow the driver to have a restricted license to get to work, school or treatment. Drivers who have a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher must participate in the state's 24/7 sobriety program to get a restricted license.

Second Offense DUI in South Dakota

A second offense DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor, according to DUI Process. It carries the following penalties if the second drunk driving infraction occurs within 10 years of the first:

  • Up to one year in jail.
  • Up to $2,000 fine, plus court fees.
  • Possible installation of an IID on the offender's car.
  • License suspension of one-year minimum.

Drivers can apply for a restricted license if they complete an approved substance abuse program. To receive one, they must show proof of SR22 insurance and pay a license reinstatement fee of $50 to $200 to the MVD.

Third Offense DUI in South Dakota

Drivers convicted of DUI three times within 10 years face a Class 6 felony charge, which carries these penalties:

  • Up to two years in jail.
  • Up to $4,000 fine, plus court fees.
  • Possible installation of an IID on the offender's car.
  • License revocation of one-year minimum from the date of sentencing or release from incarceration, whichever comes last.

For a third DUI, the court may allow the driver to have a restricted license to get to work, school and treatment. Drivers can apply for this license if they complete an approved substance abuse program. To receive a restricted license, they must show proof of SR22 insurance and pay a license reinstatement fee of $50 to $200 to the MVD.

Fourth Offense DUI in South Dakota

Drivers convicted of DUI four times within 10 years face a Class 5 felony charge. It carries these penalties:

  • Up to five years in jail.
  • Up to $10,000 fine, plus court fees.
  • Possible installation of an IID on the offender's car.

For a fourth DUI, the court may allow the driver to have a restricted license to get to work, school and treatment. Drivers can apply for a restricted license if they complete an approved substance abuse program. To receive one, they must show proof of SR22 insurance and pay a license reinstatement fee of $50 to $200 to the MVD.

Additional Factors for Felony DUI

Other factors can make a DUI charge a felony in South Dakota, according to the Minnehaha County State Attorney office. They are:

  • Children present in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop.
  • Accident caused by an impaired driver.
  • Dangerous driving.
  • Extremely high BAC level.
  • Belligerence toward the arresting officer.
  • Marijuana possession.
  • Prior convictions.

A driver faces a Class 4 felony with their fifth DUI if one of the four prior convictions was a felony DUI within 10 years. The charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, a fine of $20,000, or both.

Drugged DUI in South Dakota

According to NORML, impairment by marijuana or other controlled drugs not obtained through a valid prescription, or drugs used in combination with alcohol or another controlled substance can result in a DUI if it renders the vehicle operator incapable of driving safely. Because marijuana can stay in a driver's system for about a month, impairment alone does not apply in a drugged driving offense. It is, therefore, possible for the court to convict an offender weeks after they ingested cannabis.

Marijuana will be legal in South Dakota for recreational and medicinal use on July 1, 2021, according to Weed Maps. After that date, adults can possess 1 ounce of cannabis legally, but driving while impaired will still be illegal. Currently, drugged driving DUI penalties are the same as those for impairment by alcohol.

Implied Consent Law in South Dakota

Law enforcement stops drivers when they suspect impairment and build a case by observing the driver's behavior. An officer may ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test, which is not required by law. However, if asked for a chemical test of blood, breath or urine, the driver must comply, according to the state's implied consent law.

Any driver who gets behind the wheel in South Dakota automatically agrees to take a breath test or chemical test if requested by law enforcement, according to Find Law. If a driver refuses, law enforcement must inform them of the penalties they face and ask a second time. If the driver still refuses, they face a minimum license suspension for one year.

DUI and CDL Drivers in South Dakota

A person with a commercial driver's license (CDL) who operates a commercial vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol faces the same DUI penalties that drivers with a standard license do, but a conviction can hinder a commercial driver's ability to work. A BAC of 0.04 percent or greater is the legal limit for which a CDL driver can face arrest. If guilty of DUI, a driver faces a license revocation of one year, and a subsequent offense can result in losing their license for life.

A driver carrying hazardous materials during a traffic stop faces a three-year license revocation. In this instance, a second offense DUI will result in a permanent loss of an offender's CDL, which means they cannot work again in their chosen profession. Law enforcement will place drivers with a BAC of less than 0.04 percent out of service for 24 hours.

DUI and Zero Tolerance

An impaired driver under the age of 21 violates South Dakota's zero tolerance law. A minor with a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher faces conviction for a Class 2 misdemeanor and a loss of driving privileges. An underage driver's first DUI offense carries these administrative penalties:

  • First offense: License suspension of 30 days.
  • Second offense: License suspension of 180 days.
  • Three or more offenses: License suspension of one year.

Underage drivers who have a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher face the same penalties that an adult over 21 faces for the same offense. The state requires underage offenders to show that they carry SR22 insurance, after which the MVD will reinstate the offender's license or permit. The state also has a zero tolerance law for drugged driving; it is a Class 2 misdemeanor for anyone under the age of 21 to be in physical control of a vehicle while high on marijuana or another controlled substance.

SR22 Insurance and Driver's License Reinstatement

The MVD will reinstate a driver's standard license upon completion of the penalties. However, drivers must file for SR22 high-risk insurance with the MVD, which they must carry for three years. If, during that time, there is a lapse in coverage, the insurance provider will contact the MVD, and a lapse in coverage will cause the MVD to suspend the driver's license immediately. To get it back, the offender must file another SR22 form with the MVD for license issuance.

South Dakota Open Container Laws

According to NOLO, South Dakota law prohibits a driver from consuming or otherwise possessing an alcoholic beverage if the container has a broken seal or is open while the vehicle is on a public highway. The law also applies to passengers.

When transporting alcohol, which the state defines as distilled spirits, wine or malt beverages, it must be stored in a locked area away from the main passenger compartment. The state allows the transport of open beverages in the main area of the vehicle of less than 0.5 percent alcohol, such as nonalcoholic beer.

South Dakota Open Container Exemptions and Fines

Additional exemptions apply when it comes to transporting open containers of alcohol, including:

  • Passengers in vehicles for hire, such as buses, limousines and taxis can consume and possess alcohol.
  • Areas such as a locked glove compartment, the trunk, behind the back seat (in the absence of a trunk) are exempt, as long as no one in the main area can easily access the open container.
  • The state allows the transportation of a partially full bottle of restaurant wine after dining. The restaurant must reseal the bottle and place it in a sealed bag with a dated receipt before the driver takes it.

A driver violating open container laws will receive a fine of up to $500 and possible 30 days in jail. The offender usually won't serve a jail sentence unless there are extenuating circumstances.