Kinney Law, pc

Spearfish Office
121 W. Hudson Street
P.O. Box 729
Spearfish, SD 57783

Phone: 605-642-2147
Fax: 605-642-4079
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Rapid City Office
909 St. Joseph Street
10th floor Suite 3
Rapid City, SD 57701

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Sturgis Office
2275 Lazelle Street
Sturgis, SD 57785

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605-642-2147
Fax 605-642-4079

Spearfish Criminal Defense Blog

Alcohol and bikes don't mix well at Sturgis

As a biker, there may be no better destination or annual event than the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Bikers from across the United States gather to compare bikes, beards and ink, as well as to enjoy concerts, poker and parties.

If you plan to go to Sturgis this summer, you probably know there is a great deal of alcohol involved in the biker rally, although the combination of alcohol and motorcycles can be deadly. And facing a driving under the influence (DUI) offense during the rally can impact not only your ability to ride, but also get back home once the festivities are over.

How to avoid a DUI during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an iconic part of South Dakota summers. Motorcyclists gather together to admire and display their prized possessions. Unfortunately, not all motorcyclists get to ride home after the rally ends.

The event is notoriously known for crashes and DUIs as motorcycle enthusiasts enjoy drinks and ride their bikes home. According to the Argus Leader, there were 19 DUI arrests during the rally in 2018, which was a decrease from years prior.

Hopefully, 2019 sees a further decline as drivers prioritize their safety and ensure they make it home without a DUI charge on their record. But what should drivers know before attending the rally?

Dangers to semi-truck drivers on South Dakota roadways

When charged with DUI traffic violations, semi-truck drivers are particularly vulnerable to license revocation and fines in South Dakota. Semi-truck accidents with DUI-impaired drivers can result in serious injuries and fatalities. 

Many conditions can occur that result in a CDL charge that is not under the driver's control, such as sudden adverse weather conditions or interference from a passenger vehicle causing the truck to swerve and jackknife. Other situations may be more under the driver's control and may result in more serious consequences if they violate a CDL.

The 3 ways the authorities charge possession

Driving in South Dakota with drugs can land you in hot water. The police have the right to allege possession of drugs which may land on you or extend out to others in the same vicinity.

Having the drugs alone may not constitute a criminal charge, but knowing you have them and what the drugs do is, in fact, illegal. If the police discover narcotics, the state may charge you with possession in one or more of three ways.

Why you should never leave an accident scene in South Dakota

Whether you are a resident of South Dakota or are simply on vacation, you must drive carefully on the state’s roadways. With a bit of care, you can likely increase your chances of avoiding an automobile collision. Eventually, though, you may find yourself in the middle of a car crash. 

Like most states, South Dakota has a law that prevents motorists from leaving the scene of an accident. Collisions can be both stressful and frightening. Still, how you behave after a car wreck is important. Here are some things you should know about leaving an accident scene in South Dakota. 

Utah lowers BAC limit. Will other states follow?

One of the biggest pieces of news of the new year is the new drunk driving law in Utah. The blood alcohol content limit is now 0.05 percent in the Beehive State, down from the national limit of 0.08 percent. This is the strictest law regarding driving under the influence in the United States.

Some people are cheering on this move, while others claim it is going too far. But one of the most important questions is whether South Dakota will fall in line with this strict BAC limit.

Opioid use on the rise throughout rural areas

America is in the midst of a crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid overdoses accounted for 72,000 untimely deaths in 2017. That number was up 15 percent from 2016. When the data for 2018 comes out next year, it will, no doubt, show another increase.

South Dakota is not immune to the opioid epidemic. The rate of abuse in nonmetropolitan rural areas is disproportionately higher considering that fewer people live in these areas. The percentage of opioid-related deaths in rural areas is 45 percent higher than in cities.

What are your risks at a sobriety checkpoint?

As you know, the holiday season means time spent with family and friends, which often involves alcohol. Law enforcement is also aware of this, and they take measures during prime drunk driving periods to keep intoxicated drivers off South Dakota roads. You might not worry if you are pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint while sober, but unfortunately, you may have something to worry about.

A sobriety checkpoint is a method officers use to pull over vehicles in a predetermined pattern, such as every five cars. Drivers are usually asked if they have been drinking, and they may need to complete some field sobriety tests.

How to avoid a DUI on vacation

When visiting the Spearfish or Sturgis area visiting friends and family, attending an event or simply out on a weekend getaway, you deserve to have some fun. This may involve enjoying some alcohol at one of the local bars. 

However, you do not need to get a criminal conviction or hurt someone because of drunk driving. A DUI charge will ruin your otherwise enjoyable trip. Here are a few strategies for avoiding a DUI arrest on your South Dakota vacation.

Tourists and arrests while on vacation

When you go on vacation, the last thing you expect to happen is a police arrest. However, some locales are quite aggressive when it comes to cracking down on particular behaviors that tourists engage in, and areas such as Sturgis is one of them. 

Law enforcement agencies in places that have a large tourist population, such as Sturgis, often work extra hard to enforce laws against tourists to maintain order for local residents. With hundreds of thousands of visitors regularly attending the annual nine-day motorcycle rally there, it is no wonder that some tourists often find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

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