South Dakota’s Traffic Violation Point System

The penalties and point schedule associated with South Dakota’s demerit point system.

In order to identify problematic drivers, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) keeps track of all moving violation convictions (even if committed out-of-state). The DPS assigns a certain number of demerit points for traffic offenses. Drivers who accumulate too many points face license suspension.

How Points Are Acquired and Reduced

Here are the points assigned to some of the most common traffic violations. Multiple violations arising out of the same incident will only result in the assessment of points for the highest point-total violation.


Points Assessed

Driving while intoxicated


Reckless driving


Eluding an officer


Drag racing


Failure to yield right-of-way


Improper passing


Driving on wrong side of roadway


Stop sign or stop light violation


Most other moving offenses


Speeding, seatbelt, and parking violations are not included in the list above because they are zero-point offenses.

Consequences of Accumulating Too Many Points

The DPS is authorized to suspend the license of any driver who accumulates 15 points in 12 months or 22 points in 24 months. A driver who is halfway to earning a suspension will usually receive a warning letter explaining the point system and possible penalties. Once a driver reaches the point level for suspension, the DPS will send a notice of suspension outlining the suspension period and appeal rights.

The driver will generally be suspended for a period of 60 days. A driver who has previously been suspended for excessive points will be suspended for six months. Drivers with two prior point-related suspensions face a one-year license suspension.

Before beginning the suspension, the driver is permitted to request a hearing before the DPS to contest the validity of the record of past violations and suspensions.

Limited Driving Privileges

A restricted license is available for drivers with no prior point-related suspensions. With a restricted license, the motorist is limited to driving in certain locations and at certain times—generally, as necessary for going to any from places like work and school.

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