South Dakota DMV Point System
Drivers accumulate demerit points in South Dakota for a wide range of traffic offenses. Under the rules of the state driver point system, motorists who accumulate a certain amount of SD penalty points on their driving records within a specific time period will be penalized with a license suspension. Note that, in addition to the traffic ticket penalty issued by the state Department of Public Safety (DPS), you are also subject to certain court-imposed penalties. Learn more about the DPS point system and the process of fighting a speeding ticket in South Dakota by reading the sections outlined below:
- Moving violations and points in South Dakota
- Penalties in South Dakota
- How to fix a driving record in South Dakota
- Disputing a moving violation charge in South Dakota
Moving Violations and Points in South Dakota
Per the rules of the South Dakota demerit point system, the amount of points you will accumulate after committing a traffic violation within the state varies based on the severity of the offense. In addition to assigning moving violation points for certain more serious violations, the DPS will also administer an immediate driving license suspension or revocation. For example, in addition to accruing 10 DWI points for a driving while intoxicated offense, your license will be revoked as well.
The following list outlines the SD demerit point penalties administered for several types of violations within the state:
- Common moving violations: 2 points.
- Failure to obey stop signs and red lights: 3 points.
- Improperly passing another motor vehicle: 4 points.
- Eluding a police officer: 6 points.
- Driving a vehicle in a reckless manner: 8 reckless driving points.
Note: The department does not assign speeding ticket points in SD for speeding-related offenses.
Motorists who accumulate 15 traffic violation points within a period of 12 consecutive months or 22 points within a two-year period will be penalized with a driving license suspension. The duration of the traffic ticket penalty suspension varies based on the number of point-related suspension that you have previously incurred. Accumulating an excess of driving license penalty points for the first time leads to a suspension of up to two months. Third or subsequent occurrences, on the other hand, result in credential suspensions of up to 12 months.
Penalties in South Dakota
The South Dakota traffic violation penalties that result from convictions of traffic offenses generally vary based on the severity of the violation. Also, in addition to the traffic ticket penalty administered by the DPS, the court that is processing the ticket will issue a sentence adequate to the seriousness of the violation. When issuing DUI penalties in SD to drivers who operate their vehicles while intoxicated, for example, state courts determine the severity of the penalties based on the number of previous DWI offenses that the driver has committed. The drunk driving penalties issued as a result of Class 1 DWI misdemeanors will include:
- Traffic fines of up to $1,000
- Jail sentences of up to 12 months
- Mandatory 30-day license suspensions
Note: Drivers submitted to DWI penalties in South Dakota will also be required to present proof of insurance (SR-22) for three consecutive years to the SD DPS.
How to Fix a Driving Record in South Dakota
Motorists who complete a defensive driving course in South Dakota cannot currently utilize the certificate of completion to remove penalty points from their driver’s records. However, even if you are unable to reduce license points by graduating from a traffic school course, you will still receive other benefits by enrolling in one. For example, since motorists who complete an SD driving safety course can greatly improve their safe driving practices, they will also indirectly reduce the risk of committing further traffic violations and accumulating demerit points.
Note: Certain drivers may be authorized for a ticket dismissal by the court that is processing their tickets after the completion of a defensive driving course in SD. Check with the corresponding court to learn if you are eligible for this option.
Disputing a Moving Violation Charge in South Dakota
The process of contesting a speeding ticket in South Dakota or another type of citation can be initiated by submitting a plea of “not guilty” to the court that is handling your case. Appealing a traffic ticket is a procedure that must generally be started prior to or on the date displayed on the citation. You may be able to inform the court of your decision to fight a speeding ticket in SD or another type of citation via several methods, which vary based on the type of violation that was committed and the court that is handling the ticket.
Prior to disputing a traffic ticket in front of a judge or a jury, drivers will have adequate time to prepare their defense. You will greatly increase your chances of successfully contesting a traffic ticket in SD if you hire an experienced traffic ticket lawyer at this point. Motorists who win their traffic ticket cases will be absolved of the charges and they will face no further repercussions.
Note: In certain circumstances, you may be granted the option to settle your traffic ticket issue by reaching a plea agreement with the state prosecutor.