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South Dakota Arrest Records

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Are Arrest Records Public in South Dakota?

South Dakota makes arrest records available to the public under its Public Records Law. The law allows members of the public to query a law enforcement agency for a copy of an individual's arrest record. As a result, the custodial law enforcement agency must release the record of interest if a request is submitted in writing and accompanied by the requisite fee.

However, it is crucial to note that not all information contained in an arrest record is accessible to the public. For example, information containing sensitive details that may infringe on the record holder's privacy is withheld from the public.

What is Considered an Arrest Record in South Dakota?

An arrest record in South Dakota is a document containing official information about a person's arrest history. It shows whether a person has been arrested or held for investigation by law enforcement on suspicion of a criminal offense. The arrest record serves as a formal record of the booking process, and may be featured as part of a South Dakota criminal record if the arrestee is convicted.

Arrest records are kept centrally in the custody of law enforcement. Upon an individual's arrest, an arrest record will provide information about their identity, detention, disposition of their arrest, and any charges against them.

In most cases, arrest records are not considered criminal records because they do not prove one's guilt sufficiently. As a result, the records do not contain information about convictions or sentences. However, if the record holder is a repeat offender, the record may reveal that the individual has been arrested and convicted before.

What Shows Up on a South Dakota Arrest Record?

A South Dakota arrest record will provide basic details about an arrested individual. It may also contain information about the incident that led to the arrest, the arresting agency, and the officer that carried out the arrest.

The personal information and physical descriptors of the arrestee will include:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Residential address
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Age
  • Date of birth
  • Fingerprints
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Distinguishing body marks and characteristics, etc.

Other information in the arrest record include:

  • Mugshots
  • Date and place of arrest
  • Arresting officer's name
  • Arresting agency
  • Police officer's narrative
  • Bail or bond information
  • Criminal charges filed
  • Crime classification
  • Vehicle information, if applicable
  • Prior arrests (if any)
  • Other details about the charge and police interrogation

Arrest records are sent to the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation within 96 hours of an arrest for filing. The records then become part of the arrestee's criminal history if the individual is convicted.

Who Can Access South Dakota Arrest Records?

In South Dakota, a person's arrest record is public information to the extent provided by the South Dakota Public Records Law. As a result, the record can be examined and copied by members of the public, including employers and other interested parties. In most cases, an arrest record can be obtained by contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency, and in others, the record may come up in a routine background check.

South Dakota Arrest Statistics

The Division of Criminal Investigation through the Criminal Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) aggregates crime data in South Dakota every year. The data, compiled from the submissions of law enforcement agencies across the state, is published in Crime in South Dakota reports. Sheriff's offices, police departments, the Highway Patrol, and the Division of Criminal Investigation are among the organizations that make up the South Dakota law enforcement community.

The 2020 Crime in South Dakota report breaks down the state's arrest statistics by offense, the arrestee's age, gender, race, the type of arrest, and more. According to the report, a total of 18,665 arrests were made for Group A offenses, such as murder, robbery, burglary, animal cruelty, welfare fraud, and extortion. On the other hand, 19,116 arrests were recorded for Group B offenses, which include bad checks, curfew violations, runaways, drunkenness, and other offenses.

South Dakota Public Arrest Records Search

A South Dakota arrest record search may be performed by law enforcement agencies or members of the public to review the arrest history of a person for investigative or intelligence purposes. Arrest searches typically entail checking public databases to obtain information about an individual's past arrests and any potential connections to ongoing investigations or criminal activities.

How Do I Lookup Someone's Arrest Records in South Dakota?

Law enforcement authorities (often the local police department or county sheriff's office) create and maintain arrest records in South Dakota. To obtain these records, interested parties must submit a formal request to them. Also, because arrest records are part of one's criminal history, members of the public can order a person's criminal record through the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to view arrest records.

The South Dakota Department of Investigations provides criminal records via the Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system. This system stores the details of anyone arrested for a misdemeanor or felony. The system can also be used to conduct background checks on individuals seeking employment or a license. These checks are based on fingerprints only.

Obtaining a copy of a criminal record in South Dakota entails the following steps:

  • Contact the DCI's Identification Department at (605) 773-3331 to obtain a state applicant fingerprint card at no cost.
  • Complete the fingerprint card with the applicant's personal information.
  • Fill out an Authorization and Release form and sign it. The address to which the response should be sent must be included.
  • Ensure that all ten fingerprints are captured on the card and printed at a local police station. A small fee may be required.
  • Make a $26.75 check or money order payable to the "Division of Criminal Investigation". Cash is not accepted.
  • The fingerprints, signed authorization form, and payments should be mailed to the following address:

Office of the Attorney General
Division of Criminal Investigation
1302 East Highway 14
Suite 5
Pierre, SD 57501

The DCI will return a copy of the criminal history report after the request is processed. Federal charges, juvenile offenses (unless charged as an adult), confidential records, traffic tickets, and out-of-state data will not be included in the report.

How to Subpoena Arrest Records in South Dakota

In South Dakota, a subpoena is a judicial order. It orders individuals and entities to appear in court or produce documents and evidence. A subpoena mandating the production of documents and evidence is required to obtain arrest records.

According to state law, subpoenas can be issued by clerks of courts, judges, notaries public, and other authorized public officials. In any civil or criminal proceeding, an attorney may also issue a subpoena for producing, examining, and copying records and evidence. However, this is contingent on the attorney being rightly admitted to practice law in the state and listed on the South Dakota State Bar's active roster of attorneys.

When an attorney issues a subpoena, a copy must be filed with the clerk of the court where the case is being heard. The clerk will keep a copy of the document as part of the public records of the case.

A subpoena must include the following information:

  • The name of the court or tribunal issuing the subpoena
  • The title of the action or proceeding
  • An instruction to the entity to whom it is addressed
  • The time and location when the instruction must be executed
  • Name of the party requesting documents
  • The papers sought, as well as the format in which they should be produced
  • The seal of a court, court official, or tribunal (if issued by a court or officer with a seal). This seal should be attached to the original as well as all copies.

Before a subpoena is issued, the interested party must obtain the necessary form. The clerk of the presiding court may provide a form and instructions on how to fill it out. It is a good idea to check if the court under whose authority the subpoena will be issued has any discretionary or required subpoena form on their website.

The subpoena must be issued far enough ahead of the deadline for the subpoenaed party to submit the requested papers without undue stress or burden. When the entity furnishes the requested records as directed, the subpoena is declared satisfied.

How to Search for an Inmate in the South Dakota Prison System

Individuals looking for inmates in the South Dakota prison system can check inmate records held by the South Dakota Department of Corrections. For easy access, the Department of Corrections manages an online database called the Offender Locator. Individuals who have basic information about an inmate, such as a first name, last name, and DOC number, can use the locator to search for an inmate in the South Dakota prisons.

The following information can be retrieved from the database:

  • The inmate's full name and known aliases
  • DOC (Department of Corrections) number
  • Age and date of birth
  • Race
  • Physical description
  • Current facility of detention
  • Custody status
  • Incarceration date
  • Date of the expected release
  • Convictions
  • Photograph
  • Discharge date

If the inmate is being held in a local jail, the interested party can contact the sheriff's department responsible for the facility's operation and management. If available, inquirers can check for the database maintained by a sheriff to find inmates confined in a local jail.

How Do I Find Out if Someone Was in Jail in South Dakota

The most reliable method of determining if someone has been jailed before is to run a background search on the subject and review their criminal history report.

The report will include information on arrests or citations that resulted in prison sentences. It will also reveal whether the subject is in the prison system or incarcerated in county jail.

Individuals can obtain such reports from the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation. Still, a quick search on third-party records sites may yield substantial information regarding a person's incarceration.

How Long Do South Dakota Arrest Records Stay on File?

Arrest records in South Dakota are kept on file indefinitely. However, arrest records that do not result in convictions may be expunged from the public record if the record holder submits a petition to the court.

How to Obtain Arrest Records for Free in South Dakota?

In many situations, obtaining free arrest records in South Dakota can be a fruitless endeavor. In the state, copies of arrest records are usually supplied to those who pay a non-refundable fee to assist in reproducing the papers.

Sometimes, parts or the entirety of an arrest record can be viewed for free on the websites of local law enforcement agencies in the county where the arrest happened. This is not guaranteed, however, because not all counties provide access to such databases.

How to Search for a South Dakota Arrest Record Online Using a Third-Party Search Service

Arrest records, which are considered public in South Dakota, are frequently available on third-party sites that compile public data from various sources. Because the information is not limited to records in one location, third-party search services make finding arrest records significantly simpler.

Part or all of an arrest record may be found using third-party sites that host public records databases, provided the search subject is not a minor and the record is not confidential by law. Requesters must generally provide the following information in the appropriate search fields to obtain a record:

  • The name of the record's subject
  • The subject's last known location

How to Correct an Arrest Record in South Dakota?

Suppose a record holder discovers an error or inaccuracy in their South Dakota arrest record. In that case, they have the right to contact the arresting agency that created the report to request correction. The arresting agency will be the ideal entity to guide the individual through the next steps.

In most circumstances, the person will have to verify their identity, obtain their arrest record, point out the inaccuracy, and provide the correct information. Then, the record will be reviewed and corrected by the appropriate agency. Typically, the record holder will need to contact the Division of Criminal Investigation at (605) 773-3331 for instructions on submitting a formal complaint.

If the issue is discovered on a third-party search site, the owner of the record must contact the service provider directly.

How to Expunge Arrest Records in South Dakota

South Dakota law defines expungement as the sealing of all records about a person's arrest, detention, and trial that occurred within the state's criminal justice system. Once any state court grants an expungement order, the subject of the arrest record is effectively restored to the legal position they held before being arrested, indicted, or having a criminal complaint lodged against them.

Generally, the arrest records that can be expunged in South Dakota are those of individuals who were not convicted or had their charges dismissed. According to SDCL 23A-3-27, an eligible individual may file an expungement petition with the court that would otherwise have jurisdiction over the crime for which the person was arrested, provided:

  • One year has passed from the arrest date if no charges were filed
  • One year has passed from the date the prosecutor formally dismissed the case
  • The petitioner was acquitted

Individuals who wish to have their arrest records expunged must first file a petition with the court that dealt with the criminal case. The court clerk will assist the petitioner by providing the necessary forms and instructions on how to file them with the proper authorities. A court date will be set after filing is completed. At the hearing, the court will consider whether entering an expungement order is in the best interests of the public and record holder.

If an arrest record is expunged, no one, including potential employers, schools, and members of the public, will be able to find the record through a background check. However, it is crucial to remember that an expungement in South Dakota does not bar law enforcement from obtaining the record, nor does it mean that the record will be physically destroyed.

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Charles Mix
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