Open Container Laws in South Dakota

Under South Dakota’s open container law, you can receive $500 in fines or up to 30 days in jail for having an opened container of alcohol in your car.
Written by Mariza Morin
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Under South Dakota's open container law, you can expect to receive a $500 fine or up to 30 days in jail for possessing an unsealed alcoholic beverage in an operating vehicle. 
Open container laws in the United States differ greatly from state to state, so knowing your state’s laws is absolutely necessary to avoid major penalties. 
Car insurance
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is here to help guide you through open container laws in South Dakota for drivers. In this article, we’ll explore the law, some key exceptions, and we’ll also look at how you can avoid a violation to keep your
South Dakota insurance rates

What is the open container law in South Dakota?

Section 35-1-9-1
of the South Dakota Codified Laws deals with “Consumption or possession of alcoholic beverage in a vehicle.” According to this law, you have committed a violation if: 
  • You have an open or unsealed container containing any amount of alcohol in the passenger area of the car
  • You are on a public highway or state park roads 
In essence, it’s illegal to have any kind of container of alcohol in your car while driving in South Dakota unless it’s sealed or stored in the trunk, a locked glove box, or behind the back seat. It doesn’t matter whether the container belongs to the driver or a passenger—the law applies to all.

What counts as an open container?

Generally, an open container is defined as an alcoholic beverage that has been previously opened, has a broken seal, or has some of its contents removed. It is illegal for you to drive your vehicle with an open container present in your vehicle—even if you’re sober.
In South Dakota, an alcoholic beverage is defined to include any distilled spirit, wine, and malt beverage. Some N/A beverages may be permitted, but alcoholic wine or beer picked up from the grocery store on the way home needs to be properly sealed to transport in your car.

Exceptions to South Dakota’s open container law

Most rules have their fair share of exceptions—there are a couple of key exceptions to South Dakota’s open container law.
Passengers are permitted to have an open container of alcohol in a statutorily authorized for-hire vehicle as long as the container remains outside the driver compartment
Additionally, South Dakota allows the transportation of partially-removed alcoholic beverages after dining at a restaurant. However, the bottle must be resealed by the restaurant and placed in a sealed bag with a dated receipt
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Penalties for violating South Dakota’s open container law

Violating South Dakota’s open container law is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, and it’s subject to a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. 
The penalties can increase greatly if you are under the influence at the time of the offense or if you decline a breathalyzer test. Refusing a BAC chemical test can land you with an automatic license suspension. 
If you’re convicted of a first-time DUI offense, your driving privileges will be revoked for up to 30 days or longer, depending on the circumstances, and you can expect a fine of up to $2,000
Whether you get a DUI or not, an open container violation will go on your criminal and driving which will make your insurance rates spike drastically. Knowledge of open container laws in your state can help you keep your insurance rates from going through the roof.

How to save money on car insurance in South Dakota

Understanding South Dakota's open container laws will help you avoid paying too much for car insurance. Another way to do that is by downloading the
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Either you or your passengers—or both—can receive citations for open container violations on South Dakota roads.
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in South Dakota, your license can be suspended.
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