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Sentence Enhancements for DUI in South Dakota

There are sentence enhancements for DUI violations in the state of South Dakota.  South Dakota, along with many other states, provides for harsher penalties for those defendants with particularly high blood alcohol content at the time of the violation.  In South Dakota the enhanced penalty BAC level is 0.17; significantly higher than the state’s BAC level for a DUI generally (0.08).  The enhancement penalties allow the court system to give a harsher penalty to a defendant who is a repeat offender or who lacks remorse for their actions.  Specifically, enhancement in South Dakota can lead to a misdemeanor charge resulting in a class 6 felony, or a class 6 felony charge to a class 5 felony charge.  Further, defendants who are found to have a BAC of 0.17 or higher must go through a court ordered evaluation by a health professional to determine their chemical dependency on drugs and alcohol, and the defendant must pay the cost of this program.  Such enhancement penalties serve the purpose of deterring reckless behavior and promoting public health at the same time.

In South Dakota, sentence enhancement may occur when the defendant has previous DUI convictions within 10 years of the violation at issue.  Whereas before the court would consider only the previous five years of activity for enhancement of penalty purposes, in 2001 this was amended to reach back 10 years.

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