DUI Laws in South Dakota

What is considered “driving under the influence” (DUI) in South Dakota and the consequences of a conviction.

In South Dakota, a motorist can get a DUI for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while "under the influence" (impaired) or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more.

BAC levels of "per se" DUIs. Any driver with a BAC of .08% or greater is presumed to be under the influence and may be convicted of a "per se" DUI without proving actual impairment. This threshold is reduced to .04% BAC for drivers of commercial vehicles and .02% BAC (or any metabolized marijuana) for drivers under the age of 21. However, DUI penalties for commercial drivers and persons under 21 years old can differ from standard DUI penalties.

Impairment DUIs. A motorist can be convicted of an impairment DUI for driving under the influence of any alcohol, drug, or intoxicating inhalant. If the substance ingested was prescribed by a doctor, the driver can be convicted only if the impairment renders the driver incapable of safely operating a vehicle. However, if the substance was not prescribed, the driver can be convicted of a DUI if the substance affected the driver's clearness of intellect and self-control—a lesser level of impairment.

Jail Time and Fines for South Dakota DUI Convictions

The mandatory license revocations for a DUI are set by statute. The duration of the revocation depends on how many prior DUIs the defendant has that occurred within the last ten years. The judge is granted more discretion in determining the fines and jail that are appropriate in a given case. The parameters for these possible punishments are tabled below:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense-felony

Jail Time

Up to 1 year

Up to 1 year

Up to 2 years


Up to $2,000

Up to $2,000

Up to $4,000

License Revocation

30 days to 1 year

At least 1 year

At least 1 year

Depending on the circumstances, the judge may require any driver convicted of a DUI to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation and to complete a chemical dependency program. The judge may also require chemical dependency monitoring via random testing or ankle bracelet to ensure abstinence and sobriety.

The judge is also permitted in most instances to issue a restricted driver's license to the convicted driver. This license allows the person to drive to and from places like work and substance abuse treatment. The judge may require completion of a chemical dependency course and/or participation in drug and alcohol monitoring before issuing a restricted license.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Blood or Breath Test in South Dakota

South Dakota law requires all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to consent to a chemical test of their breath, blood, or other bodily substance to determine the presence and amount of alcohol or drugs. This "implied consent" law imposes a one-year license revocation on drivers who refuse testing. The fact that the driver refused testing can also be used at trial to prove culpability.

Talk to an attorney

A DUI conviction in South Dakota can carry dire consequences including jail, license suspension, and fines. But these penalties can often be mitigated or avoided completely. So, it's best to consult with a seasoned DUI attorney to help determine your options.

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