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Criminal Law in South Dakota

Whether you’re innocent or guilty, a qualified South Dakota criminal defense attorney will skillfully analyze your criminal case, create effective legal strategies, provide advice and guidance, and aggressively defend you in court. If you feel overwhelmed and uncertain of the next step, this article was written for you.

Your criminal defense lawyer will provide the specifics you need to know about the criminal charges you are facing; in the meantime, we’ll discuss:

  • South Dakota criminal laws;
  • What you need to know about criminal defense in South Dakota; and
  • How to work with your South Dakota criminal defense attorney.

South Dakota Criminal Laws

South Dakota criminal laws are found in Title 22 of the South Dakota Codified Laws.

This criminal code include sall state crimes, including disorderly conduct, theft, falsifying evidence, embezzlement, money laundering, bad checks, bigamy, arson, incest, weapons crimes, computer crimes, stalking, abduction, harassment, DUI, and child abuse.

Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred.

For example, in South Dakota, the statute of limitations for:

  • Assault and Battery (S.D. Codified Laws В§ 23A-42-2).
  • First and Second Degree Murder are unlimited (S.D. Codified Laws В§ 23A-42-2).

South Dakota judges have full discretion in handing down sentences. The state does not have sentencing guidelines.

Jail time, fines, restitution, loss of driver’s license, community service, probation, and counseling are all possible punishments. In addition, South Dakota does have the death penalty, though no one has been executed in the state since 1976.

What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense

Here’s the criminal law bottom line:

  • Ask to be represented by an attorney, even if you’re just being questioned. Always seek legal counsel.
  • Asking for an attorney doesn’t indicate that you’ve done anything wrong.
  • Regardless of whether you’re innocent or guilty, you need to be represented by a South Dakota defense lawyer.
  • Do not speak with the police, except to provide your name and ask for a criminal defense attorney.
  • Be honest and open with your attorney, even if what you have to say looks bad.

How to Work with a South Dakota Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your lawyer is your best defense and, besides you, your only advocate. Always keep this in mind when you choose how to act or react.

This is what you need to do for your own strategic defense:

  • Follow your lawyer’s advice, even if you don’t want to.
  • Tell your attorney exactly what happened- include the details you’d rather forget and those that make you look guilty.
  • Return all law firm phone calls or emails promptly.
  • Provide all requested information right away.
  • If your phone number or address changes, update your attorney’s office immediately.
  • Answer questions. It’s okay for your attorney to question you, even challenge you.
  • Be patient and understanding. It’s professional, and appropriate for your attorney to be polite and cooperative with police officers, investigators, witnesses, alleged victims, and the district attorney (or other prosecutor).

Bottom Line: To find a South Dakota criminal defense attorney, search our site,, or ask your friends or the bar association for a referral. Your next step is to call a criminal defense attorney now.

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