Whether you had a little too much to drink or a lot, even a first DUI offense in South Dakota can lead to a misdemeanor conviction, a suspended license, jail time and a hefty fine. For many individuals, these penalties may lead to huge hurdles when it comes to taking care of family, getting to work or simply running essential errands.

Additionally, a DUI conviction may compromise an individual’s employment eligibility or lead to higher insurance costs, whether the motorist resides locally or is visiting from another state when receiving the charge. Here is a brief overview of South Dakota law to help you understand what to expect when faced with a DUI charge.

What is the state BAC limit?

Under South Dakota law, an individual may face DUI charges if found with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or higher. An officer may determine BAC through breath analysis or through testing of another bodily substance, such as blood or urine. Cases where BAC is 0.17% or higher may involve enhanced penalties and court-ordered counseling by a chemical dependency specialist.

What happens if the BAC is under 0.08% at the time of arrest?

In cases where an officer determines that a motorist is driving unsafely, a DUI charge may be brought against that individual even if his or her BAC is less than 0.08% at the time of the incident. However, if chemical analysis later shows that the BAC was in fact under 0.08%, it may be possible to avoid conviction.

What are the penalties for a DUI in South Dakota?

A first-offense DUI with a BAC under 0.17% may result in penalties that include a 30-day license restriction, up to $2,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. After a second, third or fourth offense, those penalties become increasingly more steep, resulting in a minimum license suspension of a year or more, mandatory substance abuse counseling and in some cases a felony conviction.