Driving under the influence (DUI) laws prohibit drivers from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, prescription medication, or other intoxicants. Below you will find information about South Dakota DUI laws, including what you can expect during a DUI stop and after the charges.
What Is the Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?
You are driving under the influence of alcohol or some other intoxicant if you have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (or BAC) or 0.08% or higher. The police officer tests your BAC level by using a breathalyzer at the scene or through a blood or urine test at a hospital.
South Dakota DUI laws state that a BAC lower than 0.08% can still result in a DUI. If an officer believes that alcohol is impairing your ability to drive safely AND you have a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%, you are at risk of receiving a DUI.
What Happens If I Get Pulled Over?
Under South Dakota DUI laws, if an officer believes you are unable to drive or if you smell like alcohol, they can ask you to exit your vehicle and perform a field sobriety test.
A field sobriety test takes place on the side of the road and tests your balance and mental cognition. The police officer will ask you to perform tasks such as balancing on one foot or touching a finger to your nose.
These actions do not actually prove that you are intoxicated and can be effected by physical or mental impairments unrelated to intoxicants. If you have a bad back or a bum knee, you may fail the field sobriety test despite being completely sober. Furthermore, anything you say during the testing can and will be used against you.
If you refuse to take the field sobriety test, you will most likely be asked to perform a breathalyzer or other blood test.
Can I Refuse the BAC Test?
Yes, South Dakota DUI laws allow that. However, you must verbally refuse to take the test.
What Happens If I Refuse It?
South Dakota DUI laws include an “implied consent” rule which states that your consent to a chemical test for drugs or alcohol is implied because you have a driver’s license in that state. If you refuse, your license can be suspended for up to 1 year. You can contest this suspension by requesting a hearing within 120 days of your arrest.
Can I Plead “Wet Reckless”?
You can attempt to reach a plea bargain with prosecutors to reduce your penalties. Pleading to “wet reckless” or some other lesser driving offense is possible, especially where your BAC is between 0.05% and 0.08%. South Dakota DUI laws require that if the arrest is based on you having a BAC of 0.08% or higher, the prosecutor must state on the record the reasons they are reducing the charge.
What Are the Penalties I Should Expect?
As with any other offense, the penalties for breaking South Dakota DUI laws depend on your own individual criminal history. If you have a prior DUI charge, you could be facing increased jail time. Additionally, South Dakota law may require you to enlist in the 24/7 Sobriety Program. Participation in this program could result in periodic drug and alcohol testing, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your car, and fees.
If you have a BAC of 0.17% or greater, you will be required to submit to evaluation by a counselor specializing in drug and alcohol abuse. You will be responsible for all fees or costs for this service.
First Offense DUI
A DUI 1st is a class 1 misdemeanor. Your license will be revoked for a minimum of 30 days. It can be suspended for up to 1 year.
You are eligible for a restricted license during the duration of your sentence. In order to obtain it, you will need to present the following information to the court:
- Proof of car insurance;
- Employment or school schedule;
- Proof of enrollment or completion of any required counseling programs.
Second Offense DUI
A second DUI offense is also considered a class 1 misdemeanor. Your license is automatically suspended for at least one year.
You are eligible for a restricted license under the same conditions as above.
If you drive without a license or outside the scope of your restricted license, you are automatically sentenced to 3 days of jail time.
Third Offense DUI
A third DUI offense is a class 6 felony and results in a license suspension for at least 1 year. The clock starts running from the date the sentence is imposed or the date you are initially released from jail, whichever comes later.
You are eligible for a route restricted license under the same conditions are above.
If you are caught driving without a license or outside of your approved route, you will be sentenced to 10 days in jail. Those days, or any other time spent in jail during the course of your suspension, do not count toward the 1 year suspension time.
Fourth Offense DUI
A fourth DUI offense is a class 5 felony that results in a license suspension for a minimum of 2 years. If you are convicted of driving without a license during those two years, you must spend at least 20 days in county jail.
The same rules listed above, regarding the running of the sentence and the availability of a restricted license, apply to your 4th DUI.
The penalty for DUIs gradually increase in severity from simple misdemeanors to felonies. Fortunately, the court has wide discretion to offer route restricted licensing to ensure you can still travel to and from work or school. Additionally, South Dakota does not have minimum fines associated with these offenses.
Have you gotten a DUI in South Dakota before? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.