Pay Traffic Ticket in South Dakota

Pleading Guilty to Your SD Ticket

Paying your SD traffic ticket means admitting guilt―or, at least, that you're not going to contest your guilt.

So, you're entering a “guilty" or “no contest" plea, and doing so means:

  • Depending on your court and the nature of your violation, you might be able to avoid court and pay your traffic ticket online.
  • You will accumulate driving record points based on your specific violation.
  • You could face license suspension or revocation.
    • This depends on both your specific traffic violation and the number of points on your driving record.
  • You could face much more severe penalties for serious traffic offenses, such as driving under the influence.
  • Your auto insurance company probably will increase your rates.

Note that:

  • Generally, magistrate courts handle misdemeanor traffic tickets and circuit courts handle felonies.
  • You must pay your ticket fine by the hearing date listed on the citation.
    • Failure to pay your fine on time could result in license suspension and an arrest warrant.

CDL Drivers & Traffic Tickets

Typically, as a commercial driver you can plead “guilty" or challenge your ticket in court the same as any other driver; just be sure to notify:

  • Your employer within 30 days of the traffic ticket conviction.
  • The South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 30 days of the traffic ticket conviction IF you received it in another state.

Both of the above apply regardless of the type of vehicle you were driving at the time you received the citation.

Before you plead, understand that sometimes commercial drivers face harsher penalties than other drivers; specifically, you could lose your commercial driver's license temporarily or permanently.

Refer to the SD Commercial Driver License Manual for details.

How to Pay Your SD Traffic Ticket

Depending on where you received your ticket and the specific violation, you might be able to pay your traffic ticket online, by mail, or in person.

Note that:

  • Your officer might allow you to make a deposit after receiving a traffic ticket. If so, they must also notify you (in writing) that failing to pay the rest of the fine or appear in court results in bond forfeiture and a guilty verdict.
  • Regardless of your payment method, you'll need information from your traffic ticket. Refer to our section on Lost Traffic Tickets in South Dakota if you've misplaced your citation.


Your traffic ticket should state whether you're eligible to pay your fine online; if it doesn't, ask the officer who issued the citation or contact the presiding court.

If you're eligible to pay online, visit the Unified Judicial System Portal and follow the system's prompts.

Other Payment Methods

Your SD traffic citation includes information about how to pay your traffic ticket fine, and your officer is supposed to explain these options when you receive your ticket.

Most courts accept payments by mail and in person, and payment methods often include personal and cashier's checks, money orders, and credit and debit cards. Be sure to check for this information on your traffic citation, and contact your court with any questions.

Tickets & SD Defensive Driving Courses

Generally, completing a defensive driving course won't dismiss your ticket or reduce points on your driving record; however, depending on your situation:

  • Your judge might order you to complete a driving school to satisfy your traffic violation consequences.
  • You might earn a car insurance discount for completing a defensive driving course.

Ask your judge and/or your auto insurance provider about details.

Car Insurance Rates

Most car insurance providers raise coverage rates after a traffic violation conviction.

Ask your agent how your "guilty" plea will affect your rates the next time you renew; if you find out they'll go up, start comparing insurance quotes online to find less expensive coverage.

Check Your Driving Record

Your driving record—the official record of your driving history—documents your traffic ticket convictions and accumulated points and can seriously impact your driving privileges.

You can plead “guilty" and pay your fine outright or challenge your ticket in court, but whatever course you choose, check your driving record to:

  • See that it shows ONLY the correct traffic violations and their associated points.
    • This goes for tickets for which you pleaded or were found “guilty" in court.
  • Make sure you haven't accumulated enough points for license suspension.

Learn how to check your driving record, as well as how to apply for corrections.

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