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

On Behalf of | May 17, 2019 | criminal defense |

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)?

When a chemical test is permissible

First, you need to know when police have the right to demand a chemical test. This can only happen following arrest for DUI, and they must have a reason to arrest you. Most of the time, breath tests are the popular choice, unless you are unconscious or are under the influence of drugs instead of alcohol.

South Dakota’s implied consent law

Like many states, South Dakota has an implied consent law. This means that your choice to drive a car is automatic consent to the withdrawal of bodily substances for analysis. However, court rulings have decided that using force or doing it without your knowledge and express consent is illegal. Implied consent is insufficient.

You also have the right to refuse. It can come with administrative consequences but not criminal punishment. Refusing results in immediate license suspension that will last a year. You can dispute this within 120 days of your arrest. In order to still get a blood sample from you, the officer must secure a warrant first to make you take the test. A warrant is not necessary for breath tests.

Should you comply?

As you can see, there are pros and cons to taking the test. The pro is that you are more likely to retain your license and deal with less legal drama. The con is that it can provide incriminating evidence. Even so, there are ways to invalidate test results.