Drunk Driving Laws in South Dakota in 2023: What Is Legal Blood Alcohol Level?

Drink and drive laws in South Dakota

A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% (80 mg alcohol per 100 ml of blood) makes operating a motor vehicle in South Dakota illegal. Even if your BAC is less than 0.08%, you may still be arrested if it can be established that you are driving while intoxicated.

Drivers of commercial vehicles are not allowed to operate their vehicles with a BAC of 0.04% or more. Drivers under the age of 21 are also considered legally drunk at 0.02% BAC. Violations of this state law will result in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. 

Typically, one to two standard alcoholic beverages are enough to reach or surpass a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. However, this amount should only be used as a general estimate because BAC varies depending on factors like weight and gender.

It is essential to understand that this post seeks to increase awareness about drunk driving before we continue to explore South Dakota’s laws against impaired driving. This website does not endorse drunk driving in any state or region.

According to NHTSA data, there were 141 fatal road incidents in South Dakota in 2020. Thirty-five percent of this figure concerns drivers with BACs of 0.08% or above.

As much as possible, driving while drunk should be avoided. Using an Uber, designated driving service, or a taxi is much preferable if you must travel after drinking.

South Dakota has DUI laws to help decrease accidents caused by impaired driving. The state’s law enforcement is continuously on the lookout for drunk drivers while patrolling the roads.

In addition, several law enforcement agencies undertake compliance checks on alcohol retailers. The judicial system is also combating impaired driving with creative solutions supported by the Office of Highway Safety.

It is essential to adhere to drunk driving laws to avoid legal repercussions. If you need to drive, you should test your blood alcohol content before starting the car. Using an alcohol breathalyzer, you can determine your blood alcohol level.

For more information on DUI driving limitations, we advise visiting the official website of South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in South Dakota

Alcohol can affect an individual’s judgment by slowing reaction times, inhibiting eyesight, lowering reflexes, and distorting distance and speed perception.

These things could happen even if you don’t seem or feel drunk. Alcohol intoxication symptoms can start as soon as your first drink.

Within 30 minutes to 2 hours after drinking, alcohol reaches the bloodstream. Your breathing may slow down, making it harder for you to think clearly.

Although the state’s legal BAC limit is 0.08%, keep in mind that every person responds to alcohol differently.

Your blood alcohol concentration may be affected by the following factors:

  • weight,
  • gender,
  • levels of anxiety and exhaustion
  • hunger,
  • alcohol consumption level, and
  • taking prescribed drugs.

After a few drinks, some people may pass out. They may appear normal, yet their ability to drive may be preset. As a result, it is necessary to check your blood alcohol content (BAC) before getting behind the wheel.

A BAC calculator and chart can assist you in determining how much alcohol you can consume prior to driving. However, because everyone responds differently to alcohol, these methods may not be appropriate for everyone. It is still preferable to use a certified alcohol breathalyzer to detect your BAC accurately.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in South Dakota

Blood alcohol concentrations between 0.010% and 0.029% are unlikely to induce substantial impairment. Individuals with this level of BAC do not appear to be inebriated. As BAC levels rise, however, symptoms of alcohol-related impairment become apparent.

A person is deemed to be driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor if they have 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in their blood, as determined by chemical examination of their breath, blood, or other bodily substance.

DUI laws vary from state to state. To avoid punishment, check your blood alcohol level before driving.

DUI convictions can have serious legal and financial consequences. The DUI penalties in South Dakota are as follows.

First DUI Offense in South Dakota

First-time offenders of DUI in South Dakota may face the following penalties:

  • Jail Time: Up to one (1) year of imprisonment 
  • Fines: Up to $2,000
  • License Suspension: Thirty (30) days up to one (1) year of revocation

Second DUI Offense in South Dakota

Second-time DUI offenders within ten years may face the following punishment:

  • Jail Time: Maximum of one (1) year in prison
  • Fines: Up to $2,000
  • License Suspension: At least one (1) year of license suspension

Third DUI Offense in South Dakota

Third-time DUI offenders in ten years are bound to face the following consequences of DUI:

  • Jail Time: At least two (2) years imprisonment
  • Fines: Up to $4,000
  • License Suspension: At least one (1) year of license suspension

Fourth DUI Offense in South Dakota

A driver who gets a fourth DUI within ten years in South Dakota may receive the following punishment:

  • Jail Time: Maximum of five (5) years in prison
  • Fines: $10,000
  • License Suspension: Minimum of two (2) years of revocation

Fifth and Subsequent DUI Offense in South Dakota

A fifth or subsequent DUI offense within ten years bears the following penalties:

  • Jail Time: Maximum of ten (10) years in prison
  • Fines: $20,000
  • License Suspension: Minimum of three (3) years of license revocation

Substance Abuse Evaluations in South Dakota

A second or subsequent DUI, or any DUI with a BAC of.17% or higher, will compel the motorist to undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation and may be obliged to complete specified chemical dependency programs.

South Dakota Implied Consent 

Any person driving within the state is presumed to have submitted to BAC chemical testing to assess the presence of alcohol or drugs under South Dakota’s “implied consent” law.

Drivers who refuse to take lawfully required tests will have their licenses canceled for a year. The fact that the driver declined testing could be used to prove guilt at trial.

When Can You Drink and Drive in South Dakota?

A number of factors influence blood alcohol content. Gender is a prevalent element influencing a person’s BAC level, according to studies. The BAC thresholds for men and women are different.

Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) levels in men are significantly greater than in women. The ADH enzymes regulate alcohol metabolism. As a result, men absorb alcohol faster than women.

The information provided below will help you determine how much alcohol you can consume before driving in South Dakota.

Aside from gender, various factors also influence a person’s blood alcohol content. Although research backs up the information presented below, remember that because everyone reacts uniquely to alcohol, it may not be helpful or appropriate for everyone.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in South Dakota?

Drink beer and drive in South Dakota

When you look at BAC charts, you’ll observe that a lighter person has a higher BAC.

For example, a 160-pound male (72 kilos) can have a BAC of 0.02% after drinking a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

In contrast, a woman with a similar weight who drinks the same amount of alcohol may have a blood alcohol content of 0.03%.

This distinction shows how a person’s gender influences how they process alcohol.

Given the above example, limiting your beer consumption to one to two bottles is best if you need to drive later.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in South Dakota?

A typical 5-ounce (142-milliliter) glass of wine has an ABV of 12%.

A 160-pound male can have a BAC of 0.02% after consuming one glass of wine, as demonstrated in the sample above. On the other hand, a female of the same weight and alcohol consumption could have a BAC of 0.03%.

These BAC levels can even go higher if we consider other factors such as stress levels, empty stomachs, and medication intake.

If you intend to drive after drinking, one to two glasses of wine should suffice.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in South Dakota?

The ABV of distilled alcohols, such as vodka and whiskey, is 40%.

After drinking one shot of vodka or whiskey, a 160-pound male can have a BAC of 0.02%. A female of the same weight and alcohol consumption, on the other hand, could have a BAC of 0.03%.

As explained above, these BAC levels can even increase if there are other influencing factors.

If you have to drive, stick to one to two shots of whiskey or vodka.

Sticking to DUI Laws in South Dakota

Every driver should be aware of the risks of drunk driving and make all necessary efforts to avoid it.

It is dangerous to drive when high or intoxicated. You risk losing control of yourself and your vehicle if you are intoxicated. The best and safest option is to completely avoid drinking before driving. 

If you had a few bottles or glasses of alcohol, don’t be too sure of your BAC and driving competency. Alternative ways of transportation should be considered instead of driving.

If you want to drive after drinking, ensure your driving ability is not hindered. It is also advisable to evaluate your blood alcohol content using a reliable alcohol breathalyzer.

We suggest visiting the state’s official website to understand more about South Dakota’s DUI laws.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.