Driving Without a Valid (or on a Suspended) License in South Dakota

Read about the penalties for unlicensed driving in South Dakota.

Like all states, South Dakota issues licenses for the operation of vehicles on its highways. Driving without a license or on a suspended or revoked license can result in a myriad of penalties. This article explains the different types of violations and the possible penalties for unlicensed driving.

Driving Without a License in South Dakota

Subject to a few exceptions, state law requires a driver's license to operate a motor vehicle on a South Dakota highway. (S.D. Codified Laws § 32-12-22.)

Penalties for Unlicensed Driving in South Dakota

Driving a motor vehicle while never having been issued a license is a class 2 misdemeanor. The offender will face a maximum of 30 days in jail and may have to pay up to $500 in fines.

Penalties for Driving Without a South Dakota License in Your Possession

A driver who has a license but was not carrying it while driving (or who refuses to present it when requested by an officer) can be charged with a petty offense, which carries a $25 fee. However, the charge will be dismissed if the driver presents a then-valid license in court. Likewise, a driver with an expired license (within the last 30 days) can present the renewed license to the court to avoid any charges.

Exceptions to South Dakota's Driver's License Requirement

Non-resident drivers (who are at least 16 years old) with a valid driver's license from their home state or country can drive in South Dakota without an in-state license. However, most new residents must obtain an in-state license within 60 days of establishing residency. Military personnel and United States government employees driving official government vehicles are exempt from state licensing rules. And farmers moving farm equipment between fields generally don't need to be licensed so long as their license wasn't revoked or suspended.

Driving While Suspended or Revoked in South Dakota

A licensed driver can be suspended or revoked for many reasons, including driving under the influence, acquiring too many traffic violation points, and uninsured driving. Driving while suspended or revoked will lead to jail, fines, and license penalties. (S.D. Codified Laws § 32-12-65.)

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License in South Dakota

Driving while suspended or canceled is a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500, and/or a maximum of 30 days jail. The driver's suspension period will also be extended for an amount of time equal to the original suspension duration. For example, a driver initially suspended for six months will be suspended for another six months even if their original suspension was almost finished.

Penalties for Driving on a Revoked License in South Dakota

Driving with a revoked license (often from an impaired driving incident) is a class 1 misdemeanor. A class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum of one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. The revocation period will also be extended for one year.

Talk to a South Dakota Defense Attorney

Unlicensed driving carries serious penalties in South Dakota. If you're facing criminal charges, you should get in contact with an experienced defense attorney. A qualified lawyer can advise you on the law and help you navigate the legal system.

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