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  • Traffic Ticket FAQ in South Dakota

    What do I do if get a traffic ticket in SD?

    You can plead:

    • Guilty.
    • No Contest.
    • Not Guilty.

    Pleading guilty or no contest is basically the same process. You’ll pay your fine, deal with any penalties, and go on about your way.

    Pleading not guilty means scheduling a hearing and making your case before a judge.

    Check out our Paying Your Traffic Ticket and Fighting Your Traffic Ticket sections to learn more about these options.

    Which court has my ticket?

    Two kinds of courts handle traffic tickets in South Dakota: Magistrate Courts and Circuit Courts.

    You’ll deal with the Magistrate Court in the area you were ticketed if your citation was for a misdemeanor, and the Circuit Court in the area you were ticked if your citation was for a felony.

    The South Dakota Unified Judicial System provides online information about each court, but you’ll have an easier time finding Circuit Court contact information on the state’s site. For a Magistrate Court, you might have to check your local listings or just contact the county’s clerk of court, who can direct you.

    Fortunately, your citation should include your court’s information. Refer to Lost SD Traffic Ticket if you’ve misplaced yours.

    Are court appearances ever required?

    Sometimes.

    Your officer will mark “Yes” in the section dedicated to court appearances if you’re required to appear in court.

    NOTE: If the fine for your violation isn’t listed on the state’s bond schedule, you’ll have to appear in court. You’ll know this, because the officer will a) leave it blank, and b) explain it to you.

    How can I get a traffic ticket dismissed?

    Typically, the only way to get an SD traffic ticket dismissed is to plead not guilty, go to court, and win your case.

    Some drivers hire traffic ticket lawyers to help them navigate this legal process.

    Can I use a traffic school for point reduction or ticket dismissal?

    No. South Dakota offers neither option.

    What if I have a South Dakota CDL and get a traffic ticket?

    You have the same options as regular drivers; you can plead guilty and pay or plead not guilty and fight.

    However, remember:

    • You must notify your employer of the violation.
    • Pleading guilty to or being found guilty of certain offenses can damage or end your truck driving career.

    What if I’m younger than 16 and get a traffic violation?

    Your license will be suspended:

    • 30 days for a first conviction.
    • 90 days, or until you turn 16 years old (whichever lasts longer), for a second conviction.
    • Until you turn 16 years old, if it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    What if I’m 16 or 17 and get a traffic violation?

    You’ll get a 30 day license suspension for each conviction of violating your license restrictions.

    Plus, you can’t move on to your full operator’s license if you’ve gotten a traffic conviction within 6 months of applying.

    Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?

    Having a copy of your driving record lets you know how close you are to license suspension (due to point accumulation) and allows you to clean up your act, so to speak.

    You can also make sure:

    • Only points for applicable violations show up.
    • No points show up for a violation you had dismissed in court or for which a judge found you not guilty.

    Get a copy of yours at SD Driving Records.

    What is the total cost of my traffic ticket?

    This depends on:

    • The traffic ticket fine and possible court costs.
    • Any violation-related surcharges, such as DWI surcharges.
    • Future fees such as license reinstatement fees (and in some cases, application fees).

    Learn more at Ticket Fines and Penalties.

    Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state?

    Yes and no.

    Fines for most violations are included in the state’s fine and bond schedule, which is updated each year.

    Some fines aren’t on the schedule, though. For these, the officer leaves the violation fine section blank and indicates you must appear in court.

    How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?

    South Dakota doesn’t have an online traffic ticket search, but you can contact your court to find out important citation-related information such as the fine, hearing date, and court location.

    Look at Lost SD Traffic Tickets to get started.

    When is it a good idea to hire a traffic ticket attorney?

    Considering hiring a traffic ticket attorney if you want help:

    • Preparing for court. This includes preparing your testimony, gathering evidence, and subpoenaing witnesses.
    • Presenting your case. Your lawyer will provide your testimony, take care of examination and cross-examination, and present evidence.
    • Handling before-and-after matters. Your attorney can have your hearing rescheduled or postponed, and file any required paperwork and fees to appeal a guilty verdict.

    NOTE: Seriously consider hiring an attorney if you’re facing a felony charge or any charge that carries jail time, or if you’re open to a plea agreement.

    How does the state’s point system work?

    There are a few points to keep in mind regarding South Dakota’s point system.

    First, you don’t receive points for speeding tickets.

    Second, if you receive multiple offenses during a single incident, and plead or are found guilty of all, you will only receive points for the offense with the highest point value.

    Third, you will lose your driving privileges if you accumulate 15 points in a 12-month period or 22 points in a 24-month period:

    • First Offense: 60 days.
    • Second Offense: 6 months.
    • Third and Subsequent Offenses: 1 year.

    Learn more at SD DPS Point System.

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