What Are the South Dakota DUI Laws?

In every state, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In South Dakota, this crime is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI), while in some other states it is referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI). This article provides an overview of South Dakota's main DUI laws.

Code Section

South Dakota Code section 32-23-1: Driving Under the Influence

What's Prohibited?

No person may drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while:
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater (as shown by testing the offender's breath, blood, or other bodily substance)
  • Under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, marijuana, or any controlled drug or substance that wasn't obtained with a valid prescription (or any combination of these substances)
  • Under the influence of any controlled drug or substance obtained with a valid prescription, or any other substance, to a degree which renders the person unable to drive safely
  • Under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any controlled drug or substance obtained with a valid prescription, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving, or
  • Under the influence of any substance ingested, inhaled, or otherwise taken into the body (except for alcoholic beverages) for the purpose of becoming intoxicated, unless the substance is prescribed legally by a medical practitioner
Lawful Use of Drugs is No Defense

The fact that a person charged with driving under the influence has been prescribed a drug isn't a valid defense under this section.

Penalties

The penalty for a DUI offense varies depending on whether the offender has been convicted of driving under the influence in the past (and if so, the number of times), and on how drunk the offender was at the time of the arrest.

For a first DUI offense with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% to 0.16%: Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, the defendant's driving privileges will be revoked for at least 30 days. The court may also revoke the defendant's driving privileges for a period of up to one year, or restrict the privilege in a manner that the court sees fit for up to one year. However, the court may allow the defender to drive to and from work, sobriety testing, school, or counseling programs.

If arrested with a 0.17% or greater blood alcohol concentration: Any person convicted of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.17% or greater will also be required to undergo a court-ordered evaluation by a chemical dependency counselor.

Underage DUI

Because the legal drinking age in South Dakota is 21, drivers who are under 21 may be convicted of driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol concentration 0.02% or greater. It is a Class 2 misdemeanor for any person under the age of 21 to drive, operate, or to be in actual physical control of any vehicle:

  • If there is physical evidence of the driver having a 0.02% blood alcohol concentration, or
  • After having consumer marijuana or any controlled drug or substance

Underage driving under the influence in South Dakota is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, and/or a fine of $500. Additionally, the court will suspend the offender's driver's license for 30 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, or one year for a third or subsequent offense. However, the offender may be permitted to drive to and from work, school, or counseling programs.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding South Dakota's DUI laws contact a local DUI attorney.

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