If you are facing charges of driving under the influence (DUI), it’s important to understand that you have rights under the law. It’s also important to understand the potential consequences you’ll face in South Dakota if you lose your case and are convicted of criminal wrongdoing.
Even though facing charges of drunk driving can be scary, the more you know, the easier it becomes to participate in your own defense.
Sentencing can be harsh for even first-time offenders
The state of South Dakota treats DUI offenses seriously. Even if you’re a first-time offender, you’ll risk up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000 or both of these consequences if you’re convicted. You’ll also lose your driver’s license for at least 30 days and may even lose it for a solid year. If your blood alcohol concentration exceeded .16 at the time of your arrest, you’ll also be ordered to participate in a chemical dependency consultation.
If you were previously convicted of a first-time DUI offense within the last 10 years, you’ll risk the same consequences noted above, with the notable clarification that you’ll lose your driver’s license for at least one year.
The third time that a driver is convicted of a DUI offense within 10 years, they risk a term of imprisonment not to exceed two years, a fine of not more than $4,000, or both of these consequences in addition to a driver’s license suspension of at least one year. Sentencing terms for fourth and subsequent DUI offenses within 10 years are even harsher.
Additional Consequences that can affect your life
In addition to the sentencing terms that will be handed down in the event of a conviction, you’ll face other challenges as well. Once you have a criminal record, you’ll find that it is more difficult to obtain employment, housing and financing. If you’re a college student, you could be kicked out of school. If you drive for a living, you could lose your job.
Understanding the potential consequences that you may face if you’re convicted of driving under the influence can inspire you to mount an aggressive defense against the charges you’re facing. When it comes to accusations of criminal wrongdoing, knowledge is – indeed – often power.