Rapid City Legal Issues Blog

3 reasons motorcyclists should be wary of DUIs

With the notorious Sturgis Motorcycle Rally approaching, bikers from around the country will soon flock to South Dakota and enjoy 10 days of biking-related festivities. In addition to the obvious riding that will take place, the fest brings food, music and general festivities. Needless to say, there will be plenty of beer available, but bikers should be especially wary of drinking and biking, lest they end up with a DUI.

There are several reasons why the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally might put bikers at risk of getting DUIs. Consider the following three reasons to be careful and avoid drinking and biking when you are at the festival. If you are charged with a DUI, consulting with a legal representative can help.

Never represent yourself in a DUI case

Whether the police arrest you for your first or eighth DUI offense, you always want an experienced attorney in your corner. Eight DUI offenses is certainly a possibility, as is the case with one South Dakota man whom police arrested on May 29th. 

If you do not have the money for a lawyer, then you may qualify to receive a public defender. However, even when money is an issue, you will always be better off with an experienced attorney fighting for you. Even one drunk driving offense could result in jail time and significant fines, and you want to take advantage of every asset at your disposal. 

Can officers search for drugs during a traffic stop?

As a South Dakota driver, you know that traffic stops are not all that uncommon. Whether you get “busted” for a broken tail light, speeding, failing to signal when you change lanes, or some other relatively minor traffic offense, things can get out of hand rather quickly if the officer who pulls you over then finds drugs in your car. But does (s)he have the right to search for drugs in the first place?

The answer is no. During a traffic stop, officers have the right and authority to do only the following:

  • Ask to see your driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration, all of which you must provide
  • Investigate the alleged traffic violation
  • Check to see if there are any outstanding warrants for your arrest and arrest you if any exist
  • Write the appropriate traffic ticket(s)

How does a DUI affect insurance rates?

In South Dakota, a person accused of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 can face arrest for DUI. However, drivers accused of having a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 in the state can still face arrest if the police believe the individual was in no condition to safely operate a vehicle.

There are many costs associated with a DUI. In addition to the state fine, a convicted party will also typically need to pay for towing and impound, ignition lock, and payment for an alcohol treatment program. Drivers can also expect their insurance rates to go up significantly.

Will a drug conviction hurt my chances of getting custody?

Are you heading for a divorce with concerns about child custody? If you are facing the possibility of a drug conviction or have a past such conviction, you probably fear that it will impact your ability to be an active parent. Will you lose all your parental rights? Or will you get visitation instead of joint custody?

These questions can be stressful and overwhelming. Here is some information on how drug crimes may affect the outcome of your custody case. 

Divorce and your adult child with a disability

With gray divorce on the rise, you may be facing a split in your 50s, 60s, 70s or even 80s. When you have an adult child with a disability, then what happens to the child could become a pressing concern. In fact, you may have stayed married as long as you did because of that child.

Issues to consider are where the child will live, how parents can best care for the child and if there will be child support payments.

An innocent online prank? What you need to know about swatting

Like most young people, you like to spend a lot of time online. Whether you catch up with your friends on social media or you are into gaming, there is nothing wrong with unwinding from the stress of your day by getting on the internet. However, it is important for you and other South Dakota residents to understand the potentially harmful and serious consequences of taking an online joke too far.

It is understandable that sometimes you might get into arguments online. Someone might say something you disagree with in a discussion room, or one of your gaming friends could mess up and cause your team to lose. There are some who take an online disagreement to extremes by making threats, harassing others or engaging in a prank that can cause actual harm.

Beware of handling someone else's prescriptions

If you are like many people, you never gave a second thought to accepting offers of leftover medication from a friend. After all, your friend had the same condition recently, and the medication helped his or her recovery. Now you may feel like you have the opportunity to get better as well.

However, it can be a crime to possess medication without a prescription, even if someone else legally obtained it. In fact, you could even, theoretically, get in trouble for taking your own prescription drugs out of their labeled bottles and putting them in pill boxes.

What are some reasons you might not pass a field sobriety test?

The holidays are here, and for many residents of South Dakota and elsewhere, this means celebrations that involve alcohol. Law enforcement is also aware of this, and they will be especially vigilant in the next few weeks to catch those who are too intoxicated to safely drive. If an officer pulls you over, he or she might ask you to take a field sobriety test. What you might not know is that even if you are completely sober, you might fail the test and receive a DUI charge.

How can you fail a field sobriety test despite not having anything to drink? First, you need to understand that the results of field sobriety tests depend on a police officer’s individual judgment. An officer will pay attention to your coordination and behavior, as well as your speech, facial expressions and eye movements. The following points illustrate a few ways you might not pass a field sobriety test:

  • You might naturally have poor balance and coordination.
  • You could be nervous or tired and have difficulty understanding or performing instructions.
  • Allergies, medication and fatigue might contribute to your eyes looking red and puffy, which an officer could misinterpret as signs of intoxication.
  • You could have an injury, illness or impairment that affects your speech or mobility, making you appear as if you had too much to drink.

How effective are drug courts?

Though not currently available everywhere, drug courts are programs that are sometimes available to those who receive convictions for drug crimes. Typically, drug courts offer treatment and counseling to participants who must make regular appearances before a judge in conjunction with regular drug testing, and if you take part in one, it may help you beat your addiction once and for all.

In addition to helping addicts stay out of prison and curb their addictions by essentially forcing them to abstain from drugs, drug courts, per the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, offer numerous additional benefits. More specifically, drug courts:

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