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Administrative Review Hearing in South Dakota

In South Dakota, any driver whose license is suspended or revoked by the department of commerce and regulation has the right to file for a hearing within 30 days of the revocation.  During the hearing that results, the court will examine the facts of the case as well as take testimony from any relevant witnesses or parties.  After such information is collected, the court will decide if the driver’s license should remain revoked or suspended.

According to South Dakota Codified Laws §32-23-11, a driver who refuses to take a chemical blood test may file a petition for an administrative hearing regarding the revocation of his license (recall that based on the South Dakota implied consent law, all drivers in the state have consented to such chemical testing).  During the hearing, the director of the division of commercial inspection and regulation will review the facts and circumstances of the situation.  The director may conclude that the arresting officer complied with all relevant laws and that the driver of the vehicle made the chemical test refusal.  In such a scenario, the director shall revoke the driver’s license for at least a period of one year.  The director has the further discretion to determine if the convicted driver will retain driving privileges with regard to employment or other commitments.  If the director determines, however, that the arresting officer did not comply with all relevant laws in the arrest, then the driver may be able to avoid the penalties associated with his conviction.  The director will review any evidence with a substantial connection to the crime and consider it relevant to the proceeding.  This includes evidence offered by expert witnesses and lay witnesses alike.  The court has the discretion to admit the opinions of expert testimony, while lay-witness opinions must further the understanding of the testimony or an issue of fact involved in the case.  In other words, the court is more skeptical of the comments made by random witnesses on the scene as opposed to expert witnesses.

In addition, South Dakota Codified Laws §32-23-11.1 defines what is required to steer clear of a license revocation for failure to adhere to a chemical test.  In order to avoid revocation, the driver of the vehicle must plead guilty to the driving under the influence offense prior to an order for revocation.

South Dakota is one of a small number of states that does not have administrative license suspension or revocation for DUI convictions.  Any administrative suspensions of a licensed are part of the criminal trial for DUI.  However, the South Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles does have the right to suspend a driver’s license for 90 days for a first offense, one year for a 2nd offense, and three years for a 3rd offense.

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