DUI & DWI in South Dakota
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How serious a problem is driving while intoxicated?
Consider the following:
- It's been reported that an alcohol-related fatality occurs every 30 minutes.
- An alcohol-related traffic injury occurs every two minutes.
- Almost half of the drivers arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders.
- Two-thirds of drivers with suspended licenses continue to drive.
People process alcohol differently. What might cause one person to feel tipsy, might have little effect on someone else. What might cause one person to register a higher than allowed blood alcohol content (BAC), might leave another within the legal limit.
In general, men can drink more than women without being legally drunk. In general, heavier people can drink more than those who are lighter.
But, what most people don't realize is, by the time you actually feel drunk, you are likely way over the legal BAC limit. And, your driving skills begin to be impaired after your very first drink.
Indeed, with a BAC of .04%―half the legal limit―your chances of being involved in an accident elevate. What skills are affected? Your simple reaction time, and your emergency response.
By the time your BAC reaches .06%―still well under the legal limit―you are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as a non-drinking driver. Skills affected? Your coordination, comprehension, eye movement, lane tracking, and attention.
By the time you reach .08%, you're three times more likely to be in a fatal crash. All of the above skills are affected, and now your speed control, braking, gear changing, and overall judgment are also impaired.
By the time your BAC reaches .10%, you're 12 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a non-drinking driver. So, it should be obvious: even if you're not legally "drunk," it doesn't mean it's safe for you to drive.
The legal blood alcohol content limit in South Dakota is .08%. However, as long as your BAC is more than .05%, you can still be charged with driving while under the influence (DUI), if it is determined that you couldn't drive safely because of your alcohol consumption.
If you're under 21, the limits are more stringent. You can be convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol content of .02%.
Additionally, you don't even have to be driving to be charged with DUI. As long as you are intoxicated and judged to be in physical control of a vehicle―such as sitting in the driver's seat with the keys in your possession― you can be found guilty.
Your BAC may be measured through a sample of your blood, breath, or urine. By simply driving a vehicle in South Dakota, you have given your consent to allow testing for any controlled drug or substance.
Of course, you can refuse to take the test. But, if you do, your license will be revoked for one year.
You can also request to have a qualified technician of your choice do the testing. You'll have to pay for the test, though. And, you'll still have to give the police officer a sample.
However, if you've had two previous DUI convictions, you don't have a say in the matter―you must provide a sample.
If you are convicted of DUI, your punishment will vary depending on your history.
First-Time Offenders―Your license will be revoked for anywhere from 30 days to one year. In some cases, you may be allowed to drive to and from work, or to an approved alcohol counseling program.
If you're under 21, you may have your license revoked for up to six months.
Second-Time Offenders―Your license will be revoked for at least one year. You may be allowed to drive to and from work after successfully completing a court-approved alcohol-treatment program. If you're caught driving (outside of what's permitted) you'll have to spend at least three days in jail.
If you're under 21, you may have your license revoked for up to one year.
Third-Time Offenders―Your license will be revoked for at least one year. You will not be allowed to drive to and from work. And, if you are caught driving, you'll be incarcerated for at least 10 days.
Fourth-Time (and Subsequent) Offenders―Your license will be revoked for at least two years. You will not be allowed to drive to and from work. If you're caught driving, you will spend at least 20 days in jail.
All offenders will also be faced with court costs and fines.
You'll have to pay a $50 reinstatement fee, and any application fees, when you go to an exam station to reinstate your driving privileges.
Since your license was revoked, you'll have to take the vision and knowledge tests again, and possibly the driving test. (See our Applying for a New License section for details.)
Plus, all DUI offenders are required to show proof of insurance through a SR-22 filing with the state for the following three years.
The SR-22 form is proof that you have insurance on all the vehicles you own. Even if you don't own a vehicle, you'll still need to have an operator or non-owner insurance policy.
The state provides additional information about SR-22 filings.
Insurance companies keep a close watch on DUI violations. Your insurance premiums may go up drastically, and you may be labeled a "high-risk" customer. Even worse, your insurance company may cancel your policy, leaving you to search for insurance with the "high-risk" driver tag, meaning you'll have to pay much higher premiums.
For more information about DUI offenses, visit this Office of Highway Safety page.
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