South Dakota DWI law

DWI law
DWI law

What is DWI Law?

DWI Law in South Dakota applies to drivers who are caught driving while intoxicated. Upon stopping you, officers will test you for alcohol or drug use through ignition interlock devices. If your rating is higher than the acceptable limit, your car will be confiscated and you will be arrested and will have to appear in court. Driving a vehicle while being impaired by the effects of excessive alcohol or drug violation is a crime in every state and criminals have to go through strict punishments. In most states, DWI Law is also known as DUI Law, however, there is no difference in the ruling. 

What is the punishment for the first DWI in South Dakota?

If you are above the age of 21, you will get arrested if your blood-alcohol level (BAC) is 0.08% or above. If you are below the age of 21, you can even get arrested if you have a BAC of 0.02% or more. If you have a BAC of 0.18%, you will be charged with Aggravated DWI, and the punishments for this offense are more severe. 

If it’s your first South Dakota DWI law offense, you will be fined a minimum of $500, you’ll spend 1 year in prison (maximum), and your driving license will be revoked by the state for a minimum of 6 months. In the case of Aggravated DWI, you will be fined a minimum of $1000 and you’ll have to serve up to 1-year in prison.

What happens on your first DWI in South Dakota?

Police officers cannot stop you straight away for an Ignition interlock device test. Officers have to follow a set of protocols before stopping the car for checking whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other sedative substance. Police officers have to follow and observe a car for a minimum of 30 minutes before asking the driver to pull over. If they have a strong suspicion that the driver’s ability is impaired due to alcohol or drugs, the officers will ask the driver to pull over and will check his/her blood-alcohol content using an Ignition interlock device test. 

After they get the test results, officers will determine the severity of the offense and will decide whether the driver should be charged under DWI, DWAI, or DWI Aggravated. Each of these offenses has different punishments and fines. Also, in these cases, your driving license will get revoked and if the offense is much severe, you’ll face a lengthy driving ban, apart from other punishments. If you have been booked with DWI for the first time, you won’t face very severe punishment. However, 

What are the elements of DWI in South Dakota?

DWI penalties
DWI penalties

There are a number of things that officers have to observe before asking a car to pull over for DWI test.

What are the signs of DWI in South Dakota?

Here are some actions that come into the observation of officers following your car that make them test you for DWI:

  • Braking unpredictably and dangerously
  • Driving at suspiciously low speeds
  • Rash driving
  • Drinking inside the vehicle
  • Being too close to the windshield while driving
  • Holding their face too close to the windshield 
  • Facing difficulty in staying in one lane
  • Driving at an unstable speed
  • Not being able to drive in a straight lane and wobbling around other lanes.
  • Hit and run
  • Driving at night without headlights
  • Accelerating rapidly
  • Making improper turns
  • Struggling to stay on the road
  • Crashing into road signs
  • Stopping at signs such as green light. 

What are DWI penalties and punishments?

If you are charged with DWI and this is your first offense, you will face a minimum fine of $500, up to a year of prison, even though people rarely get imprisoned for their first DWI conviction, and thirdly, your driving license will be revoked for 6 months. On a second DWI offense, you’ll be charged a minimum fine of $1000, will suffer up to 4 years in jail and you’ll lose your driving license for at least a year. If it’s your third DUI or DWI conviction, you will face a minimum fine of $10000 and you will have to serve up to 7 years in prison and permanent revocation of your driver’s license.


DWI is an offense that can result in severe legal punishments and the revocation of your driving license for a limited or unlimited period, depending upon the number of offenses and the severity of the offense. To fight off a DWI case in court, it is important to hire a DWI lawyer. Apart from costing thousands of dollars in fines, DWI offenses can also ruin your criminal record, which you don’t want to ruin if you are a young teen or an adult who has a bright future ahead of him/her.