South Dakota Reckless Driving Laws

The state of South Dakota addresses reckless driving as a criminal offense, which carries the potential of incarceration and fines. However, reckless driving arrests also incur administrative penalties with the South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles, most notably the potential of automatic license suspension.

Reckless Driving in South Dakota

Per South Dakota Codified Laws, 32-24-1, reckless driving is defined as any operation of a motor vehicle that displays negligent or intentional disregard for others or their property, including operation without use of due caution, as well as acts encompassing excessive speed to the point of endangering others.

Reckless Driving Penalties in South Dakota



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless Driving

Class 1 Misdemeanor

Incarceration of up to one year, with fines not to exceed $2,000


License suspension possible, lengths at discretion of courts, but typically up to 60 days for a first offense

Impact on Your Driver's License

In South Dakota, a single offense of reckless driving incurs the potential of automatic license suspension, which is handed down on a case-specific basis. The application of eight points to a license also creates the possibility of license suspension in the future, if the driver accumulates 15 or more points in a one-year period.

Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in South Dakota

Options for addressing a pending license suspension initially entail appearing at a DMV hearing, which will be used to determine the applicability or length of any automatic license suspension, while also addressing any points-based suspensions that may occur. From an administrative perspective, South Dakota employs both a driver education program that can reduce point totals, as well as a hardship licensing program, which may afford a driver limited driving privileges on a restricted basis.

In terms of the criminal issues at stake, reckless driving cases are ripe for outright dismissal, as the code definition of the offense is highly subjective and vague. Save for egregious cases, or reckless driving charges assessed incident to causing an accident, reduction of the charge via a plea option is a common practice. Common plea options involve reducing the reckless driving charge to a lesser traffic violation, such as a high-grade speeding ticket, or at worst, pleading guilty to careless driving, a Class 2 misdemeanor.

When to Get a Lawyer

A South Dakota reckless driving lawyer should be involved in your case immediately following arrest, as the DMV hearing concerning your license will likely occur prior to the completion of the pending criminal case. A lawyer should definitely be involved if your license is a stake in a matter that concerns employment, or if the reckless driving charge is incident to an accident causing property damage or injuries to others, because conviction can promote the idea of fault and liability for damages in any related civil litigation. For more information, consult with a South Dakota reckless driving attorney.

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