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Petty Offenses, Misdemeanors, and Felonies in South Dakota

The South Dakota legislature ranks crimes and offenses in the state into three broad categories based on their severity: petty offenses, misdemeanors, and felonies. Petty offenses are the least severe category while misdemeanors are more serious and felonies are the most severe. Conviction of these offenses have different penalties as defined under the South Dakota criminal code as well as other implications on an individual’s background check records. Summarily, South Dakota crimes are tried on the basis of these categories.

What is a Felony in South Dakota?

Felonies are the most severe crimes in the state of South Dakota. Felony violations attract the stiffest penalties, harsher than those of misdemeanors and petty offenses. Felony sentences in South Dakota range from 1-year imprisonment to death sentence (given to certain felony crimes). Penalties may also include fines, probation, restitution, and other legal sanctions as prescribed in accordance with state laws (SD. Code. Law § 22–6–1)..

Category of Felonies in South Dakota

South Dakota divides felony violations into nine classes with presumptive sentence range prescribed for crimes that fall under each class (except otherwise directed by law). These include:

  • Class A Felonies: This category represents the most serious offenses in the state Penalties range from life imprisonment (without possibility of lesser sentence) to death sentence. Fines must not exceed $50,000
  • Class B Felonies: Life imprisonment (without possibility of lesser sentence), fines must not exceed $50,000
  • Class C Felonies: Life imprisonment (with possibility of lesser sentence), fines must not exceed $50,000
  • Class 1 Felonies: Imprisonment not exceeding 50 years, fines not exceeding $50,000
  • Class 2 Felonies: Imprisonment not exceeding 25 years, fines not exceeding $50,000
  • Class 3 Felonies: Imprisonment not exceeding 15 years, fines not exceeding $30,000
  • Class 4 Felonies: Imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, fines not exceeding $20,000
  • Class 5 Felonies: Imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, fines not exceeding $10,000
  • Class 6 Felonies: The least serious felony offenses in the state. Imprisonment may not exceed 3 years, fines not exceeding $4,000

In summary, classes A to C are the most severe classes while classes 5 and 6 are the least severe category of felonies. Some crimes can fall under different categories or classes depending on the degree of the crime, prior offenses, financial value, damages done, and other measurable factors surrounding the crime.

Note: People convicted of a felony may lose certain rights either temporarily or permanently.

What are some examples of felonies in South Dakota?

Some examples of crimes in South Dakota that can be categorized under specific classes of felonies are:

  • Class A Felonies: First degree murder.
  • Class B Felonies: First degree aggravated kidnapping (with bodily harm), second degree murder, and so on.
  • Class C Felonies: First degree aggravated kidnapping (victim released without harm), first degree manslaughter, first degree rape, etc.
  • Class 1 Felonies: Second degree rape (with bodily harm), second degree rape, etc.
  • Class 2 Felonies: First degree burglary, first degree robbery, first degree arson, etc.
  • Class 3 Felonies: Aggravated assault, aggravated grand theft, second degree kidnapping, etc.
  • Class 4 Felonies: Second degree manslaughter, second degree robbery, second degree arson, etc.
  • Class 5 Felonies: Incest, terrorist threat, second offense internet gambling, etc.
  • Class 6 Felonies: First offense internet gambling, bigamy, sales of child pornography, etc.

Can I get a Felony Removed from a Court Record in South Dakota?

South Dakota’s laws provide options for expunging some felony crimes, as provided in sections 23A–3–26 through 37 or under section 23–6–8.1 of the state laws. The conditions for expungement include the following:

  • If a year (365 days) has passed from the day of any arrest and no charges were filed
  • If a year has passed from the day of the formal dismissal of all charges on the case
  • An individual may make request anytime after the case is acquitted or the individual is found not guilty
  • If the individual can prove that expungement will be in the best interest of the public and the arrested person
  • If the individual was pardoned for conviction and five years has passed without the person committing subsequent crimes.
  • Juvenile conviction records can be sealed after one year of discharge and there are no subsequent charges for serious offences like misdemeanors or felonies.
  • Victims of sexual offenses may expunge records of crimes committed as a result of trafficking.
  • If the eligible individual has successfully satisfied all penalty terms like imprisonment, fines, or diversion program.

Once the court issues and forwards an expungement order, all records concerning the case like arrest, indictment, trial, or disposition will be sealed in all related agencies who have records pertaining to the expunged case.

Is Expungement the same as Sealing Court Records in South Dakota?

Yes, an expungement is more or less the same as sealing a court record in South Dakota. The Dakota law defines an expungement as the sealing of records - generated from arrest to disposition - that are maintained by any court, law enforcement agency, correctional facility, Department of Public Safety, or other agencies in the state. Moreover, expungement does not entail the destruction of records but the removal from public access. In fact, certain agencies or personnel may still be able to access the sealed records and non-public versions of dispositions may exist.

How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record in South Dakota?

Felony records remain on an individual’s record even after death as there is no automatic expungement in South Dakota. A felony record may stay on an individual’s criminal or background checks record forever as long as there has been no motion for an expungement that was filed and approved.

What is a Misdemeanor in South Dakota?

A misdemeanor in Dakota is any crime that carries a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment. Misdemeanors are less severe by nature and punishments compared to felonies but are more serious than petty offenses or ordinance violations. Excluding imprisonment, misdemeanors penalties may include fines, payment of restitution to victims, probation, or other sanctions as specified in the law. In the state of South Dakota, misdemeanors are categorized into two classes. Each class is distinguished by the penalties imposed upon conviction. They are:

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor: This is more severe than class 2 misdemeanors and may be punished by imprisonment up to 1 year in county jail, fine not exceeding $2,000, or both.
  • Class 2 Misdemeanor: This is the less serious misdemeanor category which includes certain acts prohibited by statute but that have no penalties imposed within. It may be punished by imprisonment up to 30 days in county jail, fine not exceeding $500 dollars or both.

What are some examples of Misdemeanors in South Dakota?

Some examples of crimes that can be categorized under each class of misdemeanors include:

Class 1 Misdemeanors:

  • Failure to remove a public nuisance
  • First-degree petty theft
  • Hiring a prostitute
  • Keeping a slot machine
  • Riot or unlawful assembly
  • Possession of prohibited substances for intoxication
  • Driving without a license or operating a vehicle without authorization

Class 2 Misdemeanors:

  • Conducting an unauthorized lottery or bingo game
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Misrepresentation of age by a minor
  • Petty theft (second degree)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Public indecency

Habitual offenses of certain misdemeanor crimes may lead to an increase in the charge to a class that one-level higher. For instance, repeating a class 2 misdemeanor disorderly conduct may lead to the crime being classified as a class 1 misdemeanor.

Can I Get a Misdemeanor Removed from a Record in South Dakota?

Yes, records on the arrests, charges, and/or convictions for certain misdemeanors can be expunged in South Dakota. A motion for expungement can be done under the following conditions:

  • If all charges were dropped or formally dismissed and one year has passed from the day of the arrest or dismissal.
  • A misdemeanor conviction with a penalty of not exceeding 30 days imprisonment, fines not exceeding $1,000, or both, may be automatically removed from background checks after 3 years.
  • A motion for expungement of other misdemeanor records can be filed after 10 years if all penalty conditions have been satisfied.
  • An immediate request may be made if the individual was found not guilty or acquitted of all the charges relating to a case.
  • The court decides that sealing a record will be in the best interest of the public and the arrested person.
  • Persons who were pardoned for convictions and five years had passed without the person committing subsequent crimes are eligible for expungement
  • Certain records on juvenile delinquency or crimes committed while being victims of human or sex trafficking.
  • There are no prior or subsequent convictions of serious offenses
  • All penalties and probationary conditions have been satisfied.
  • The Bureau of Criminal Statistics may authorize the destruction of records concerning people who are dead or at least 75 years old.
  • Records of offenses that are no longer classified as crimes can also be destroyed

Crimes or individuals who do not satisfy any of these conditions will not be able to expunge their records.

Can a DUI Be Expunged in South Dakota?

DUIs cannot be expunged in South Dakota. South Dakota’s expungement law does not apply to any conviction involving the operation of a motor vehicle. However, if the DUI falls under a misdemeanor category, individuals who were arrested but not charged, acquitted, or had charges dismissed may apply for record expunction under SD. Code. Law. § 23A–3–26 through 37, or under SD. Code. Law § 23–6–8.1 of the state laws.

What constitutes a Petty Offence in South Dakota?

A petty offense in South Dakota is a non-criminal violation of ordinances, city code, or prohibited acts in the state or municipality. By nature, petty offenses are the least severe types of offenses compared to misdemeanors and felonies. As such, penalties imposed on those convicted of these violations are less serious and do not include imprisonment.

Rather, penalties are mainly in the form of fines, forfeiture, or other sanctions provided by public regulatory bodies like traffic tickets or points. There are no provisions for the presumptive range of fines but the judgment amount is from $25 to $100. Moreover, the total amount (fines and surcharges) must not exceed $68.50 for violations of a statute and $62.50 for violations of an administrative rule or ordinance.

Most people simply pay the fine so a jury trial may not be necessary for petty offenses. However, if requested, it will be governed by the rules of civil procedure and proceeds from petty offense penalty payments are to be kept in the treasury of the county where the offense occurred.

If the individual does not choose to pay the penalties, the judge may decide the following sentences:

  • Execute a wage assignment
  • Schedule of time payments
  • Assign community service work
  • Assign jail term with a rate of $60 per day served

Note: Detention of persons for the purpose of serving summons is not an imprisonment.

What are some examples of petty offenses in South Dakota?

Some examples of petty offense in South Dakota are:

  • Failure to restraint child passenger
  • Occupation of a towed house trailer or recreational vehicle
  • Opening doors on the traffic side of a stopped vehicle
  • Parking on sidewalk
  • Safeguarding of unattended vehicle
  • Stopping in places where stopping is prohibited
  • Unauthorized movement of another vehicle into a prohibited area
  • Violating parking rules
  • Violation of flashing red or yellow signal
  • Violation of pedestrian control signals by pedestrian

Can Petty Offenses be Expunged from a South Dakota Criminal Court Record?

Yes, petty offenses charges and convictions can be automatically expunged from background check records in South Dakota. This is only possible after ten years have passed, all penalties are satisfied, and there are no prior or subsequent convictions of serious crimes. However, records sealed will still be accessible by court personnel or other authorized agents or persons.

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