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Driving While Under the Influence
South Dakota Codified Laws - Driving While Under the Influence

Defining Driving While Under the Influence

Driving or being in control of a vehicle while alcohol is in your blood or while you’re under the influence of an alcohol or drug is considered Driving Under the Influence according to South Dakota Codified Law. SDCL § 32-23-1. No person may drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while:
  1. There is 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in that person’s blood as shown by chemical analysis of that person’s breath, blood, or other bodily substance
  2. Under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, marijuana, or any controlled drug or substance not obtained pursuant to a valid prescription, or any combination of an alcoholic beverage, marijuana, or such controlled drug or substance
  3. Under the influence of any controlled drug or substance obtained pursuant to a valid prescription, or any other substance, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving
  4. Under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and or any controlled drug or substance obtained pursuant to a valid prescription, or any other substance, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving; or
  5. Under the influence of any substance ingested, inhaled, or otherwise taken into the body as prohibited by § 22-42-15. Being sentenced to a DWI can result in a variety of serious consequences including fines, incarceration, restitution, attorney’s fees, alcohol evaluations, alcohol classes, and loss of driving privileges. 

Penalties
The maximum penalty for DWI in South Dakota is one year in the county jail, a $2,000 fine, or both. Further, your driver’s license may be revoked for a period of up to one year from the date of conviction. Multiple DWI convictions can result in a felony conviction and time in the state Penitentiary

Aggravating Factors
While there are standard DWI sentencing guidelines, those sentences are always open to the discretion of the court. Aggravating factors that may affect the standard sentences would be as follows: children present in the vehicle, an accident or dangerous / reckless driving, extremely high blood test, attitude towards the officer, additional charges associated with the arrest, and the history of alcohol related traffic offenses.

Multiple DWIs
If an individual is convicted of DWI three times in a 10 year period, it is a Class 6 Felony, punishable by up to 2 years in the state penitentiary, a $4,000 fine, or both. If an individual is convicted of DWI four times in a 10 year period and one of the three prior convictions was for a felony DWI, it is a Class 5 Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in the state penitentiary, a $10,000 fine, or both. If an individual is convicted of a DWI five times in a 10 year period and one of the four prior convictions was for a felony DWI, it is a Class 4 Felony, punishable by up to 10 years in the state penitentiary, a $20,000 fine, or both.

The Legal Limit
The South Dakota State Legislature has set the legal limit at 0.08% alcohol by weight in your blood. However, that does not mean you won’t be charged with DWI if your blood test is less than 0.08%. It is only the level at which a jury can presume that someone is under the influence of alcohol. For questions regarding the DWI laws in South Dakota, please refer to the South Dakota Codified Laws, Chapter 32-23.