South Dakota Reckless Driving

Reckless driving in South Dakota carries a possible fine of $2,000, jail time up to one year, and eight points on your driving record.
Written by Maxine Boyko
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
A reckless driving conviction in South Dakota carries a penalty of up to $2,000 in fines, up to one year in jail, and eight points added to your driving record. Your license could also be revoked for up to 395 days. 
Reckless driving is a general term to describe dangerous driving behaviors that are carried out carelessly without any thought to others’ rights and safety. Getting cited with a reckless driving ticket can result in penalties ranging from costly fines to jail time. 
If you’re getting ready to take your car out for a spin in South Dakota, you should read about the state’s reckless driving laws and how they may apply to you. The
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How does South Dakota define reckless driving?

According to South Dakota law, reckless driving is a crime defined as driving “carelessly and heedlessly in disregard of the rights or safety of others” or "without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property."
Put simply, reckless driving is operating a vehicle in a manner that endangers other people or property located within the vicinity of your driving. While the law doesn’t define any specific instances of reckless driving, excessive speeding that endangers or is likely to endanger others can earn you reckless driving charges. 
Other behaviors that could be classified as reckless driving include: 
  • Tailgating
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failure to signal
  • Failure to obey traffic control devices
The easiest way to understand reckless driving is to look at it as a crime of circumstance. It’s up to the judgment of the law enforcement officer to determine whether a
moving violation
can be defined—and charged—as reckless driving.

What are the penalties for reckless driving in South Dakota?

Reckless driving in South Dakota is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This charge comes with penalties in the form of points, loss of driving privileges, imprisonment, and fines. 
Common penalties for reckless driving in South Dakota are: 
  • Fines: Up to $2,000
  • Imprisonment: Up to one year
  • Points: Eight
A first offense reckless driving conviction can lead to a license suspension of up to 60 days. For a second or subsequent conviction within one year, there is a 30 to 395-day license revocation. 
If reckless driving leads to the death of another person, you may be charged with vehicular homicide. 
Key Takeaway Reckless driving is pretty vaguely defined in South Dakota, but generally constitutes uncaring behaviors that endanger others. 

How can I remove a reckless driving charge from my record? 

Reckless driving charges in South Dakota are primed for outright dismissal, as the code definition for violation is exceptionally subjective and vague. Plea reductions are therefore extremely common practice as a way to reduce the charge—outside of truly egregious violations, or reckless driving charges that are being assessed concerning another charge, such as vehicular homicide.
Typical plea options include reducing the reckless driving charge to a lesser traffic infraction, such as a hefty speeding ticket, or pleading guilty to careless driving instead. It is not publicly disclosed
how long the ticket stays on your record
, as it may vary depending on the severity of your case. 
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety will eventually clear all points from your record after some time, although it does not offer any promises about how long this usually takes. You may contact the department for more specific information. 
Taking a defensive driving course will, unfortunately, not clear any points from your driving record. 

Will reckless driving make my insurance go up? 

On average, getting charged with a reckless driving charge in South Dakota will likely increase your insurance premium rate by 53%
To avoid increased insurance rates, you should consistently practice
safe driving habits
and be patient and courteous to other drivers. You can always review the South Dakota
traffic laws
or take a defensive driving course. 
Since the reckless driving charges in South Dakota are particularly lenient and vague, you could also shoot for an outright dismissal.

How to find affordable car insurance in South Dakota

Any changed insurance rates typically don’t take effect immediately after a reckless driving charge. While a reckless driving ticket will likely affect your insurance rates for a few years after your accident, this new rate doesn’t usually start until your policy renewal. You should be proactive by looking for new rates around the time your policy is scheduled for renewal. 
If you’ve been worked up over soaring car insurance rates due to a ticket, come back down and download Jerry. 
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brought my insurance deductible down from $2.5k to $1k without me having to switch companies. I even had a ticket on my record. If it can help me, Jerry will definitely help you save money.” —Maxwell N.
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Yes, you can go to jail for reckless driving in South Dakota, but usually not on a reckless driving charge itself. Reckless driving is usually used as supporting evidence for a more serious charge such as vehicular homicide.
The minimum penalty for reckless driving in South Dakota generally ranges from $150 to $208 in fines.
In South Dakota, aggressive driving and reckless driving are very similar and nearly the same. One could argue aggressive driving is executed more emotionally or with anger, but this is open to interpretation.
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