Motorists with revoked or suspended drivers licenses in South Dakota must complete the drivers license reinstatement process prior to resuming their driving activities within the state. The state Department of Public Safety (DPS) issues drivers license suspensions for a wide variety of both driving and non-driving offenses.

The requirements to reinstate drivers licenses in SD generally vary based on the type of the committed offense and the penalty issued as a result. Depending on your circumstances, you may also be required to fulfill certain court conditions when reinstating your credential. Learn how to reinstate driving licenses in South Dakota in the following sections.

Reinstating a South Dakota Suspended License

Drivers must complete the SD drivers license restoration process as soon as they meet the eligibility criteria to do so, as driving with a suspended license may lead to further penalties. For certain types of drivers license suspensions, motorists may have the option of requesting a hearing prior to the starting date of their penalty.

For instance, motorists who are at risk of a suspended driving license for an excess of negative points can submit a hearing request with the purpose of reducing the DPS punishment. Since the South Dakota driving license reinstatement procedure varies based on the issued penalty, you can order your driving record online and obtain the information necessary to successfully complete the process.

How to Reinstate a South Dakota Suspended Drivers License

When reinstating drivers licenses in South Dakota, motorists will be required to complete several steps, which typically vary based on the type of violation that was committed and the ensuing penalty. Drivers who are restoring revoked drivers licenses in SD, for example, will be required to meet more complex restoration criteria, such as retaking the driver’s exams and reapplying for a new SD license to drive.

To successfully complete the SD driving license restoration procedure, penalized motorists will generally be required to complete the following steps:

  • Surrender their suspended or revoked driving license to the SD DPS.
  • Complete the penalty period of their suspension or revocation.
  • Meet any court-set criteria (if required).
  • Pay the SD driving license reinstatement fee.
  • Submit proof of car insurance coverage (if required).
  • Apply for a new driving license (if required).

Depending on your circumstances, you may also be required to complete other drivers license restoration steps, as the department reviews reinstatement applications on a case-by-case basis.

Suspension Periods in South Dakota

Drivers who were penalized with a drivers license suspension in South Dakota will generally be required to wait out a certain time period before initiating the driving license reinstatement procedure. While minor offenses result in shorter suspensions, more serious violations may lead to suspended or revoked drivers licenses of several years.

The following list outlines several offenses and the duration of the resulting SD driving license suspension or revocation:

  • A conviction for failure to maintain proof of financial responsibility: A 30-day to a one-year suspension of driving privileges.
  • A first offense for an excess of demerit points: A suspended driving license for the maximum duration of 60 days.
  • Second point-related offense: A suspension of driving privileges for the maximum duration of six months.
  • Second DWI violation: A drivers license revocation of one year.

Apart from the driving license suspensions and revocations outlined above, which have a set ending date, certain penalties may also be of an indefinite nature. To learn more about your suspended or revoked driving license and the duration of their penalty periods order your SD driving transcript via the internet.

South Dakota Point System

The department also issues suspended drivers licenses in South Dakota to drivers who accumulate a large number of penalty points on their driving records. The DPS Point System allows the department to identify high-risk motorists and issue the necessary penalty to correct their unsafe driving behavior.

Driving license suspensions are administered when a motorist accrues 15 points within a 12-month period or 22 points within a 24-month period. Review several types of traffic offenses and their corresponding point penalties under the SD Point System:

  • Failure to obey a road sign: 3 negative points.
  • Improper passing: 4 demerit points.
  • Eluding a police officer: 6 penalty points.
  • Reckless driving: 8 points.
  • Driving While Intoxicated: 10 negative points.

Note: If you commit multiple violations in a single traffic incident, the department will only assess the points of the most serious offense.

Drivers are at risk of a point-related suspended driving license in SD even if they commit traffic violations outside of the state. If you were convicted of driving on the wrong side of the roadway in a state other than South Dakota, for instance, the state DPS will still assign four points on your SD driving record.

Traffic School in South Dakota

Drivers may have the option of avoiding a South Dakota driving license revocation or suspension for an excess of negative points by completing a state-approved defensive driving course. Before enrolling in an SD traffic school, however, contact a local DPS location to learn whether or not the department removes points or grants point credits to drivers who obtain a driving course certificate.

If you are unable to avoid a point-related drivers license suspension in SD by completing a traffic school program, you can still enroll in one to receive other benefits. Drivers who complete a defensive driving course, for example, will refresh their knowledge of the state motor vehicle laws and improve their driving skills. By doing so, they will reduce the risk of committing traffic offenses and incurring further demerit points.

Types of South Dakota Driver’s License Suspensions

The state DPS administers several types of driving license suspensions in South Dakota, which differ based on the severity of the offense that was committed. Note that certain serious offenses are sanctioned with revoked driving licenses, instead of credential suspensions.

You must complete additional drivers license reinstatement steps when restoring your credential after a license revocation. The following list contains several reasons leading to different suspension and revocation penalties in South Dakota:

  • Providing false information during the driving license application procedure.
  • Using the license of another driver when operating a motor vehicle in SD.
  • Driving with a suspended license in South Dakota.
  • Committing a felony while driving an automobile.
  • Failing to pay restitution costs after an adverse financial judgment.

South Dakota DUI Suspensions

South Dakota revoked driving licenses of varying length are issued to drivers who commit DWI offenses within the state. Driving while intoxicated offenders are generally penalized with driving license revocations instead of suspensions due to the severity of the violation. Note that alcohol and drug-related infractions in SD also lead to certain court-imposed penalties.

In addition to revoked drivers licenses, for instance, drivers convicted of DWI will also be sanctioned with steep fines and jail sentences. The severity of the administered penalties varies based on factors such as the driver’s age and whether he or she has committed similar offenses in the past.

Drivers Older Than 21

To successfully complete the South Dakota driving license reinstatement process after a DWI conviction, drivers will be required to fulfill the requirements set forth by the state courts and the SD DPS. Per state law, revoked driving licenses in SD are issued to motorists who were apprehended for operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.

Per the state implied consent law, drivers license suspensions or revocations may also be incurred by refusing to undergo the chemical alcohol test at the time of arrest. Several DWI violations in SD and their corresponding penalties are outlined in the following list:

  • First DWI offenses are Class 1 misdemeanors which result in a revoked drivers license for the minimum duration of 30 days, a $1,000 fine and/or a one-year jail sentence.
  • Second DWI violations are also Class 1 misdemeanors which lead to SD driving license revocations of at least one year, a $1,000 fine and/or a one-year imprisonment sentence.
  • Third DWI infractions are Class 6 felonies which incur a minimum of one year of loss of driving privileges, a $2,000 fine and a jail sentence of up to two years.
  • Fourth DWI offenses are Class 5 felonies that result in a revoked driving license in SD for the duration of two-years, as well as increased fines and jail sentences.
  • Fifth and subsequent DWI violations are treated as Class 4 felonies which lead to drivers license revocations of no less than three years. Note that the time spent imprisoned does not count toward completing the penalty period.

When completing the process to reinstate revoked drivers licenses in SD, DWI offenders will be required to wait out their penalty period, pay the corresponding reinstatement fee, submit proof of insurance (Form SR-22) and apply for a new SD license.

Note that repeat offenders may also be required to meet other state-set requirements prior to initiating the restoration procedure. Drivers who have committed a third or subsequent DWI offense, for example, will be required to complete a chemical dependency counseling program.

Note: If you are convicted of driving during the period of your penalty, you will be required to complete an imprisonment sentence in a county jail, which cannot be suspended.

Drivers Younger Than 21

The department issues revoked driving licenses in South Dakota to drivers younger than 21 years of age who have committed a DWI offense under stricter rules and regulations. Young motorists are in violation of the law even if they were apprehended while driving with a BAC of .02 percent.

Drivers license revocations for the duration of 30 days and certain fine penalties are issued to first-time offenders. Second or subsequent DWI offenses committed by young drivers are Class 2 misdemeanors which also result in certain fines, as well as license revocations of 180 days.

Car Insurance Suspensions in South Dakota

The state DMV also issues drivers license suspensions in South Dakota to motorists who fail to maintain a valid car insurance policy within the state. The department recognizes several forms of financial responsibility. To avoid a suspended drivers license in SD for a no-insurance offense, drivers will be required to have one of the following forms of coverage:

  • A vehicle liability insurance policy.
  • A certificate of self-insurance.
  • Bonds of a surety company.
  • Securities of $50,000 deposited with the State Treasurer.

Regardless of the type of financial responsibility you have obtained, you are required to carry the corresponding proof in your vehicle at all times. You must also present your proof of insurance upon request from a law enforcement officer.

The SD driving license suspension penalty administered as a result of a no-insurance offense ranges from 30 days to 12 months. Motorists will also be penalized with a 30-day jail sentence and/or a $100 fine. Even after completing the driving license reinstatement procedure, motorists must continue filing the SR-22 form for three consecutive years.

Traffic Summons or Failure to Pay

Suspended drivers licenses in South Dakota are also issued to drivers who fail to settle an SD traffic ticket on time. Note that driving license suspensions for ticket-related offenses are generally administered once the presiding court reports the issue to the department. Drivers who pay their tickets are admitting their guilt, and the department will add points to their records.

In such cases, you may inadvertently incur a suspended driving license in SD for an excess of negative points. If you believe you were not at fault for the ticket, you can avoid a drivers license suspension by contesting the citation with the corresponding court. Drivers who win their case will not accrue points on their records, since the ticket will be dismissed by the court.

The amount of the ticket fine varies based on the type of moving violation that was committed. Since traffic tickets are processed through separate county courts, the available paying methods may differ as well. Depending on the practices of the presiding court and the type of traffic ticket that you have incurred, you may be required to appear at court and settle the issue in person.

South Dakota Hardship Drivers License

Drivers who are currently completing a South Dakota drivers license suspension or revocation may be eligible for a state-issued hardship license, which will allow them to operate a vehicle under certain restrictions. Motorists who were penalized with suspended or revoked driving licenses in SD for certain types of offenses, for instance, may apply for the DPS Restricted Work Permit, which authorizes them to travel to and from school or their place of employment.

Since the department reviews requests for restricted licenses on a case-by-case basis, contact a branch office of the SD DPS prior to submitting your application to learn whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria to apply for one.

Applying for a South Dakota Hardship License

While completing the suspension period of a suspended driving license in South Dakota, drivers eligible for a restricted license can submit their applications in person or by mail to the department’s Driver Licensing Office. The DPS work-restricted credential can be obtained with the Application for South Dakota Restricted Permit.

After obtaining the application form, fill out the applicable fields and submit it along with proof of SD vehicle insurance coverage and any applicable fee payments. When issuing restricted licenses to drivers penalized with SD driving license suspensions, the department generally considers the following factors:

  • Whether or not the applicant is unable to walk to his or her destination due to a physical handicap.
  • Whether or not the affected driver has any other means of transportation at their disposal.
  • The distance between the motorist’s residential address and his or her school or work location.

Note: Depending on your reason for applying for a restricted license, either your employer or your school administrator will also be required to provide their information and legal signatures.

Fees to Reinstate a South Dakota Drivers License

To finalize the procedure to reinstate drivers licenses in South Dakota, motorists will generally be required to provide payment for several drivers license reinstatement costs. The base cost to reinstate revoked or suspended driving licenses in SD ranges from $50 to $200.

More serious offenses incur a larger reinstatement fee. Note that, prior to providing the payment for the restoration fee, drivers may also be required to pay certain court-imposed costs. The following list reviews several SD driving license restoration fees:

  • Standard suspensions and revocations: $50.
  • Convictions of reckless driving: $100.
  • Eluding a law enforcement official: $100.
  • Vehicular battery and vehicular homicide conviction: $200.
  • First driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction: $75.
  • Second DWI offense: $125.
  • Third and subsequent DWI violations: $175.

Drivers can pay the cost to reinstate driving licenses in SD with cash, check, money order or credit or debit card. To learn more about the reinstatement fees applicable to your case, contact a local DPS office in SD.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.