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South Dakota Court Records

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Are Criminal Records Public In South Dakota?

Criminal records in South Dakota are available to only authorized persons, such as law enforcement agencies and employers, at the state repository, based on the South Dakota Codified Laws 23–3–16 and 23–5–2. The state repository is the Office of the Attorney General, Division of Criminal Investigation. Authorized entities may also access certified criminal records at the county level by querying the sheriff and the county court clerks in the county where the case was heard.

What Is Included In A Criminal Record In South Dakota?

A criminal record is an official document, also referred to as a rap sheet, which contains details on a person’s criminal history in the state. The document encapsulates a person’s criminal activities ranging from arrests to convictions. South Dakota criminal records are generated by law enforcement agencies, courts, and detention centers in the state. Here are some of the details documented in a criminal record in South Dakota:

  • Full name of the person named on the record, including aliases
  • Date of birth
  • The dates of all arrests and convictions
  • The county court where the criminal cases were heard
  • The disposition for each case, including the sentence, probation, and parole
  • Past criminal offenses
  • A set of fingerprints
  • Physical definers of the subject, including race, body weight, height, hair, and eye color
  • Mugshot
  • Conviction records

How To Look Up My Criminal Records In South Dakota?

In South Dakota, requestors may access criminal records by querying the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), which is the central repository that handles the collation and preservation of criminal records in South Dakota. The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) processes background checks in either of these two ways:

  • State of South Dakota only
  • State/FBI Background Check

State of South Dakota only

This includes self background checks and background checks for specific employment. The Division provides fingerprint kits at no cost, interested persons may obtain this and the fingerprint card by contacting the ID Section of the Division at (605) 773–3331. Requestors must include the applicant’s name, date of birth, social security number, and gender, on the fingerprint card without leaving out any of these required details. If the necessary information is not completely provided, the requests will be sent back to the requestor.

Requestors should also appropriately complete and sign the Authorization and Release Form, which may also be found at the back of the card. It is necessary to include the right address where the result should be delivered. Also, the fingerprint card must include a fully rolled set of fingerprints. Requestors should then take the fingerprint card to their local law enforcement agency (Sheriff’s Office or Police Department) for printing. These agencies may charge an additional fee to cover the cost of fingerprinting.

Alongside the fingerprint card, necessary information, and signed authorization, requestors should send a check or money order for $26.75. Cash payment will not be accepted.

Send requests to:

Office of the Attorney General

Division of Criminal Investigation

1302 E. Highway 14, Suite 5, Pierre, SD 57501

(605) 773–3331

The results sent by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) may contain a copy of the criminal history requested, or a letter explaining that no criminal history was found. Also, the results do not include federal charges or out of state information, sealed records, minor traffic violation juvenile offenses (except if charged as an adult). Fingerprint cards are destroyed after requests and will not be returned with the results.

State/FBI Background Check

This background check is only available to school employment, Board of Bar Examiners, Board of Nursing, Division of Banking and Municipalities, etc. For this check, there is a unique state and FBI applicant fingerprint card. Both fingerprint cards may be obtained from the requesting agency. On the FBI fingerprint card, there is a preprinted ORI, assigned by the FBI; this can be found in the contributor block on the card. The requestor should indicate that the reason for fingerprinting is for employment.

These fingerprint cards must be submitted to the law enforcement agency (Sheriff’s Office or Police Department) for printing. These agencies may charge an additional fee to cover the cost of fingerprinting. Requestors must include the applicant’s name, date of birth, social security number, and gender, on the fingerprint card without leaving out any of these required details.

The required fee is $43.25 per request, including $19.25 FBI charges fee for each request, while the Division charges $24. Requestors should submit required fees, all necessary information, fingerprints, and signed Authorization and Release Form. The Division will then send the request to the FBI and perform a state criminal history search. Fingerprint cards are destroyed after requests and will not be returned with the results.

Alongside the fingerprint card, necessary information, and signed authorization, requestors should send the required fee of $26.75, payable by check or money order. Cash payment will not be accepted.

Send requests to:

Office of the Attorney General

Division of Criminal Investigation

1302 E. Highway 14, Suite 5, Pierre, SD 57501

(605) 773–3331

It takes the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), five business days plus mail time to process a background search and return the results.

How To Search Criminal Records For Free In South Dakota?

The law does not make any provisions for the dissemination of criminal records free of charge in South Dakota. Criminal records may be obtained by mail or online at a $26.75 fee. However, the Sex Offender Registry is available for use online, for free. The Office of the Attorney General maintains the registry, and it contains information on convicted sex offenders in the state.

How To Search Criminal Records Online In South Dakota?

Criminal records are available online via the South Dakota Public Access Record Search (PARS) system. The Public Access Record System contains information on the docket entries in criminal, stalking protection orders, domestic protection orders, and foreign protection orders.

Persons interested in using the Public Access Record Search (PARS) system may register or login to an existing account before searching. Interested persons may also Search as a Guest. The information required to search includes the full name and date of birth of the record’s subject. The fee for each search is $20.00 and must be paid when the search is submitted. Note that the fee is non-refundable even if the search does not return any records for the requested search.

Make payment for the fee with either of these two options:

  • Credit card: Pay as you go for each search with a “Search as Guest.”
  • Drawdown account: Request access to an existing drawdown account or set up a drawdown account by contacting the PARS support at UJSPARSsupport@ujs.state.sd.us. For large volume or several name record searches, use a drawdown account.

After a search is conducted, the PARS system will send the record search report to the email address provided by the requestor. For the electronic delivery of search reports, requestors should verify the accuracy of the email address provided before submitting a request.

Dockets are updated regularly during normal working hours. Still, if the search results do not reveal the latest information on filings or orders available at the Clerk’s Office, requestors may contact the appropriate Clerk of Courts Office to request a change or addition. The contact information of the Clerk of Courts can be found on the Help Page.

The PARS Support team is available via email at UJSPARSsupport@ujs.state.sd.us, Monday to Friday from 8:00 am—5:00 pm (except for holidays)

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In South Dakota?

According to South Dakota Codified Laws, 23A–3–26, expungement refers to the sealing of all records on file within any court, correctional facility or detention, criminal justice agency, law enforcement agency, or Department of Public Safety, pertaining to an individual’s arrest, detention, trial or disposition of a crime within the criminal justice system. Expunged records are not physically destroyed.

Also, under section 23A–3–34 of SD codified laws, there is automatic removal of charges or convictions arising from the following cases after ten years:

  • A Class 2 misdemeanor,
  • A municipal ordinance violation, or
  • A petty offense

This removal is premised on the person fulfilling all court-ordered conditions. However, the case record will remain available to court officials or persons authorized by order of the court.

Individuals with arrest records may apply to the court with jurisdiction over the accused crime, under the following conditions:

  • One year has passed from the arrest if no accusatory instrument was filed.
  • The prosecuting attorney gives consent at any time, formally dismissing the entire criminal case on the record, or at any time after an acquittal is granted.

Persons convicted of misdemeanors and felonies, as well as DUI offenses, may be eligible for an expungement if they are at least 75 years old, or they completed all the terms of the sentence not less than ten years before applying.

If the individual qualifies for expungement, two weeks before the scheduled hearing on the expunction, a copy of the motion is given to the local prosecuting attorney with jurisdiction over the crime. The prosecuting attorney may oppose the motion in writing and at the hearing on the motion. If this happens, the court may fix a time and place for a hearing on the motion.

Petitioners are to pay a specified fee to the court where the motion is filed. Usually, the fee equals the filing fee for a civil action. However, If the petitioner is without a doubt indigent (as determined by the court) and cannot afford to pay the fee, the court may waive the filing fee under section 23A–3–28.

If satisfied that the expungement meets the ends of justice and is in the best interest of the public, the court may enter an order of expungement. The order of expungement will be reported to the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), and the court will send a nonpublic record of disposition to the DCI. The criminal records will then be sealed along with other records on the petitioner’s arrest and conviction. However, the records will be retained solely for use by prosecuting attorneys, law enforcement agencies, and courts in convicting the petitioner for subsequent offenses.

After the expungement, the petitioner’s status before the expungement will be restored, and they can lawfully state that they were not convicted of the expunged crime.

Juvenile criminal records may be also be expunged, although expungement may be disapproved if:

  • The court orders that the records remain open
  • The court orders that the minor be held for criminal proceedings
  • There is a criminal conviction or investigation
  • The minor’s parents decide to send the records to the US military for enlistment purposes.

Petitioners may visit the court where the conviction took place to access expungement forms and pay the required fee.

Who Can See My Expunged Criminal Record In South Dakota?

After a criminal record is expunged, the records are sealed from public access. However, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation will still have access to the records; this is to enable future investigations where necessary.

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