The Cost of a DUI in the Mount Rushmore State
Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City, Sturgis and all other cities in the state of South Dakota have the same laws when it comes to drinking and driving – those who are found to be operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher will be charged with Driving Under the Influence, also referred to as DUI. For those who are charged and then found guilty of this crime, they will face a number of punishments including jail time and a license suspension, not to mention the high fines and enormous costs for an easily avoidable–and dangerous–mistake.
What Penalties Will I Face for DUI in South Dakota?
South Dakota DUI, along with many other states, uses a number of different punishments when it comes to penalizing those convicted of DUI. It is important to keep in mind that while these are the penalties for first time offender in South Dakota, the types of punishments and severity vary from one state to the next. First time DUI offenders in South Dakota will face:
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
- Fines of $1,000
- License Suspension Period between 30 Day and One Year
South Dakota also has what is known as a “lookback period” – this means that any previous offenses of drinking and driving that individuals have within the last 10 years will count against them in their current case. Repeat DUI offenders often face harsher penalties, including longer jail sentences, longer license suspensions and also higher fines. Second time DUI offenders in South Dakota face the following penalties:
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
- Fines of $1,000
- License Suspension Between 180 Days and One Year
Financial Repercussions Before Conviction in South Dakota
It is important to know that the financial repercussions of being involved in a DUI case do not just start when offenders are convicted – they actually begin to affect individuals’ finances right when they are pulled over. In most DUI traffic stops, if offenders are taken into custody, their car is towed and stored at the local impound facility. When individuals are ready to retrieve their vehicle, they are responsible for not only paying the fees to tow the vehicle but also any entrance, processing, and storage fees charged by the impound lot in order to get the car out.
After being arrested, offenders are then taken to the local jail, formally charged, processed and released after they have sobered up. Should the case include aggravated circumstances, such as an accident or injury due to drinking and driving, an exceptionally high BAC percentage, or having a minor in the vehicle, it is possible for individuals to be held in jail with a set bail. This means that offenders, someone they know or a bail bondsman, has to pay bail in order for them to be released, which could cost as much as $50,000 or more.
At some point, offenders receive the date of their first court appearance. Most often, individuals should seek the help and guidance of a knowledgeable DUI attorney to help try their case and ensure they get a fair trial with the best possible outcome. All DUI attorneys have different rates that they charge clients, as well as different means in which they get paid such as an hourly rate or a base fee. Generally, the cost of a good attorney is rather high, and offenders should be prepared to pay between $1,000 and $2,500 or more for the help of a good attorney to try their case.
Financial Repercussions After Conviction in South Dakota
Once offenders have gone through their trial, they are either found guilty of DUI or the charges against them are dismissed. Should they be found guilty, they then have to pay the fines and deal with the penalties associated with a DUI conviction. Again, first and second time offenders pay fines of $1,000, and third time offenders will see their fines jump to $2,000.
Car Insurance Rate Increases in South Dakota After a DUI Conviction
Another financial repercussion that many offenders do not consider is the increase they will see to their current car insurance rates after they have been convicted of DUI. It is important to keep in mind that each individual insurance company has its own formula for how much it raises individuals’ car insurance rates, so there is no way to determine an exact rate of increase. With that being said, car insurance providers in South Dakota are more lenient than other states when it comes to raising insurance rates – on average, offenders can expect their rate to increase by about 65 percent, adding just over $50 to their monthly premium.
Avoiding the Financial Repercussions of DUI
When all of the potential costs that individuals incur when dealing with a Driving Under the Influence charge are added together, it is possible to be paying $40,000 or more out of pocket, and this does not include lost wages and other financial hits they may take. Not only is drinking and driving expensive, it is also very dangerous. In order to avoid the cost of DUI as well as the dangers to yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road, the best course of action is to always use a designated driver or public transportation after a night of drinking.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.