Rapid City Legal Issues Blog

How to avoid a DUI around the holidays

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's should be a joyous time of year. You do not want to ruin such a memorable and happy occasion by getting a DUI

South Dakota consistently has the highest rate of DUIs in the country. There are approximately 938 arrests for DUI out of every 100,000 people. There is no reason for anyone to contribute to that number, so now that the holiday season is here, it is vital to understand some tips to avoid an arrest. 

The state legislature set to address meth epidemic

Possession of a controlled substance is a crime in South Dakota, but that does not seem to stop the parade of methamphetamine users going to lockup. Over 80% of people incarcerated for drug offenses are there because of meth addiction.

Getting help with handling a meth problem is something the state legislature is set to tackle. Thus far, the efforts of law enforcement agencies across the state have failed to stop this growing epidemic. What needs to change amid this crisis? Take a look at some of the ways the state wants to help you or a loved one escape this cycle of addiction.

What can impact Breathalyzer accuracy?

The cost of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is severe. However, a recent study showed that South Dakota actually has the most lenient DUI laws in the country. A wide variety of factors came into consideration for this study, including first, second and third DUI penalties

When the cops pull over a driver on suspicion of DUI, it is common for them to perform a breath test. They use a device known as a Breathalyzer to see if there are any traces of alcohol on the person's breath. Although South Dakota has lenient laws, you still never want to find yourself in a courtroom defending yourself. If you do, there are several defenses you can make for why a Breathalyzer would give a false positive. 

DUIs down and felony charges up at last year's motorcycle rally

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people hop on their bikes and make the trip to Sturgis, South Dakota. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally draws roughly half a million bikers each year with the promise of scenic tours, races, concerts and camaraderie. It's an internationally famous party of epic proportions, and every year some people take their partying just a bit too far.

Every year, dozens or hundreds of bikers get arrested for DUIs and drug charges. The good news is that there were fewer DUI arrests in 2018 than in 2017. The bad news is that felony drug arrests in 2018 were up by 67%.

Are you eligible to enroll in a South Dakota drug court?

When South Dakota authorities catch you possessing, selling or planning to sell drugs within state lines, you can anticipate some pretty hefty consequences. If you are like many other drug offenders, you may wind up spending time behind bars. If you meet certain requirements, though, you may be able to avoid some traditional criminal penalties that typically come with South Dakota drug convictions by enrolling in one of the state’s drug courts.

In addition to helping you potentially avoid other criminal penalties, such as time behind bars, South Dakota’s drug courts can essentially force you to take a good, hard look at your life and what prompted your criminal behavior. Drug courts have strict compliance requirements that typically include undergoing regular drug testing and counseling. For many offenders, this forced accountability gives them the structure they need to kick their habits.

Why you should never represent yourself in a DUI case

Drivers in South Dakota need to do more to avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol. The state ranks the third worst state in the entire country for DUIs. Nearby states like Wyoming and North Dakota similarly ranked poorly in the study performed in 2017. 

A lot of people in South Dakota end up in court for drunk driving. If this ever happens to you, then you need to know precisely what steps to take to increase your chances of having a successful outcome. The one mistake you want to avoid at all costs involves representing yourself in court. 

Do you have to take a chemical test in South Dakota?

Sometimes judgment is poor, and you may make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or another drug. You have no intention to harm; you simply think you are fine because you only had a few drinks. Next thing you know, a police officer pulls you over.

At a DUI stop, law enforcement often ask you to participate in a field sobriety test, which reveals common signs of impairment. This test is not mandatory for you to take. However, what should you do if police require you to provide a chemical sample (breath, blood or urine)?

Can a drug conviction impact financial aid eligibility?

While it is not at all uncommon for some college students across South Dakota to experiment with alcohol or drugs, doing so as a recipient of federal financial aid has the potential to cause you considerable financial hardship. Similarly, if you are the parent of a South Dakota college student and your student receives a criminal charge for a drug-related crime, you may face substantial financial repercussions if that charge ultimately leads to a conviction.

Why? These days, just about any type of drug conviction can impact a student’s financial aid eligibility, and if your child receives a conviction for a drug charge, you can pretty much count on him or her losing financial aid access for a certain period.

Common mistakes people make in DUI cases

No one should ever run the risk of driving while intoxicated. One drunk driver in South Dakota ran her car into a school bus in February, leading to her arrest and one student sustaining injuries. 

Regardless of how much you actually drank before the arrest, you need to take the process seriously. Some people are completely clueless about how to proceed, so they end up making serious mistakes. Here are some of the biggest errors you need to avoid if you are facing a DUI arrest and trial

How many drinks do you need to reach a BAC of 0.08?

All states have a blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 percent. However, it is vital to remember that under South Dakota law a police officer can still arrest you for DUI if he or she believes you are a danger to yourself or others. 

A lot of people think they are fine to drive because they only had a few alcoholic beverages that night. You could still end up with a DUI, and the truth of the matter is that it does not take much to hit 0.08. You need to be extremely cautious if you drank anything in the hours before driving, and you need to keep the following in mind. 

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