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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in South Dakota

Traffic tickets in South Dakota issued by police officers to road users who violate the state’s traffic rules and regulations. Recipients of these tickets must take action within 15 days of receiving the citation; they must respond by sending in a guilty or not-guilty plea. The state’s Law enforcement officials issue tickets for traffic violations such as:

  • Expired license
  • Driving without proof of insurance
  • Running a stop sign
  • Ignoring a turn signal
  • Aggressive driving

There are two kinds of traffic violations in South Dakota, namely moving and non-moving. An example of a moving offense is speeding, while a non-moving violation is parking in the wrong spot. Recently the South Dakota officers were empowered to issue traffic tickets to persons caught driving while texting, as stated on the state’s department of public safety (DPS) website. Unless in an emergency, using the GPS app, or entering/reading a person’s phone number, it is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor for road-users to use a phone when driving.

Most motorists who receive traffic tickets may decide to pay off the fine; however, such an act is considered an admission of guilt. Hence the offender is liable to strict penalties. The South Dakota statutes give drivers the privilege to contest traffic tickets in a court after pleading not guilty. Essential ticket information such as the court handling the case, charges, and so on are written on the citation. In a South Dakota traffic trial, the defendant and the prosecuting officer may settle the matter by agreeing on a plea bargain.

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 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 person resides in or was accused in.

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

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in South Dakota?

Yes, the time and effort spent fighting a traffic ticket is worth it, especially when the alleged offender has a decent case. Driver’s in the state can fight traffic tickets in either the circuit or the magistrate courts with a judge presiding over the matter. If the judge rules against the defendant, such a person would be required to pay fines, court costs, or community service depending on the offense’s gravity. However, if the judge rules in favor of the accused, the case will be dismissed and traffic points dropped.

Fighting traffic citations takes time instead of simply entering a plea of guilt and paying fines, but the reward is much better if the individual wins. Although the state does operate a points system, they do not give points when it comes to speeding violations. However, this is not to mean that a South Dakota speeding ticket can be ignored. Offenders will have to pay fines and also deal with the potential increase in insurance premiums from the provider.

The following is an overview of the points given for committing certain moving violations in the state.

  • Failure to obey red light/stop sign: 3 points
  • Inappropriate passing: 4 points
  • Driving recklessly: 6 points
  • Accruing up to 15 points in one year will lead to the suspension of that driver’s driving license

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in South Dakota

Most South Dakota courts require the alleged offender to deliver the plea in-person at arraignment. The magistrate court handles misdemeanor traffic offenses, while the circuit court has jurisdiction over felony violations.

Once the court has accepted the submitted ticket, the judge will inform the persons-of-interest of when next they are expected to appear in court for:

  • A preliminary hearing if the offense is a felony
  • A dispositional conference when disputing a misdemeanor charge.


When fighting a ticket, the concerned-party may be tried by either a jury or a judge.

However, the motorists are only allowed a trial by jury when the possibility of jail time accompanies the traffic violation on the citation.

If the person is charged with a grave offense/or multiple violations, they should consider having an experienced attorney on their side. However, those that decide to represent themselves will have to get familiar with the South Dakota traffic court procedures.

Specific courts in the state may appoint a legal advisor to a defendant if such a person can prove unable to afford an attorney.

Both the prosecuting and defending party will be permitted to present their argument, after which the judge will give a verdict. Failure to appear in court on the day of the hearing would lead to further penalties; therefore, if the accused needs to reschedule for trial, such a person should contact the court handling the case.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

In South Dakota, fighting a citation requires the accused to attend court hearings. However, this is avoidable if the defending party can successfully negotiate with the prosecuting officer to settle the dispute out of court. If both parties can strike a bargain, they should send a notification regarding that to the court so that the matter would be dismissed and the points on the driver’s license cleared.

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in South Dakota?

South Dakota residents charged with traffic offenses can get the fine on their citation reduced in a mitigation hearing. The South Dakota ticket points could be reduced and replaced with community service or some other punishment. Alternatively, offenders may get the fines on their traffic citations reduced after enrolling and completing a defensive driving course in South Dakota.

Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in South Dakota?

Yes, it is possible to get a South Dakota ticket dismissed. Depending on the driver’s history and the violation leading to the ticket, the traffic court may permit the motorist to complete a traffic school course. After this course, and if the criteria are met, points may not be added to the driver’s license, and then the case might get dismissed. Enrolling in a driving class instruction can result in the court offering the concerned-party a vehicle insurance rate reduction.

Alternatively, the officer’s failure to show up to court on the day of trial will result in immediate dismissal.

Section 32–25–3 of the state’s codes charges the motorists to operate their vehicles at reasonable speed limits, which are generally determined by the South Dakota Transportation Commission.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in South Dakota

Pleading guilty to a South Dakota traffic ticket is regarded as an admission of guilt; hence offenders are liable to monetary charges. A guilty plea to a traffic citation in the state also results in a conviction and may lead to additional points on a driver’s license. Also, most persons who plead guilty to traffic tickets do not initially consider its effect on their insurance premiums, which can be devastating.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in South Dakota

An alleged traffic violator that decides to contest a South Dakota traffic ticket increases the chances of winning by hiring an attorney. Traffic legal advisors are knowledgeable about the state’s traffic laws and are better equipped to get the case dismissed or bargain with the officers. These attorneys are available online where prospective clients can view their reviews to ensure they hire the best lawyer.

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