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What Defines a Criminal Record in South Dakota?

Criminal records (also known as rap sheets) provide a formal overview of an individual's criminal history. Assembled and compiled from local and state departments, they detail any instances of arrests, convictions, and incarceration. Like many of the states in the U.S, majority the criminal records for the state of South Dakota are compiled, organized and maintained in the State's Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system, which is managed by the office of the Attorney General.

Most of the criminal information available on varies with each subject. This is because different sources often have non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes.


What’s contained in a Criminal Record?

Most criminal records provide general information such as the:

  • Subject’s name and any known aliases
  • Physical descriptors
  • Sex
  • Fingerprint
  • Charges
  • Age and race

What are Arrest Records?

An arrest record contains official information about a person’s arrest history. It details whether a person has been apprehended, detained or held for investigation following a violation of the South Dakota Code of Laws.

What is an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant is an official document that provides law enforcement officers with the authority to arrest or detail individuals named in the warrant. It’s signed and issued by a judge or magistrate. Some warrants may be issued by a grand jury.

Can Arrests be made without a Warrant?

Yes, they can. South Dakota laws permit police officers to make warrantless arrests, depending on the circumstances. For instance, police officers may conduct arrests if they witness a person committing a crime. They may also make arrests if they have a strong reason to suspect a person committed a crime.

What are Misdemeanors?

Misdemeanors in South Dakota are minor offenses that are generally less severe than felony crimes. Offenders may be punished by jail time and/or made to pay a fine. South Dakota’s codified laws distinguish among different categories of misdemeanors by organizing them into two main classes based on severity: Class 1 misdemeanors and class 2 misdemeanors

  • Class 1 misdemeanors are the more serious types of offenses. They have a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and $2000 in fines. Examples of class 1 misdemeanors include:
    • Hiring a prostitute
    • Unauthorized operation of a vessel or vehicle
    • Possession of a prohibited substance
    • First-degree petty theft
  • Class 2 misdemeanors are crimes with a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in prison and up to $500 in fines. Examples of class 2 misdemeanors include:
    • Disorderly conduct
    • Public indecency
    • Second-degree petty theft
    • South Dakota Felonies

Felony violations in South Dakota are considered more serious offenses. Crimes in this group have stiffer penalties, starting from more than one year in prison. Sentences may be served in a county jail or state prison. In some cases, a felony conviction can even be punished by death. South Dakota’s codified laws divide felony offenses into nine different levels:

  • Class A: Crimes in this category carry a penalty of life imprisonment in a state penitentiary or death and up to $50,000 in fines
  • Class B: Offenses in this category carry a penalty of life imprisonment with no option for a lighter sentence and up to $50,000 in fines
  • Class C: Offenses in this category carry a penalty of life imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines
  • Class 1: Offenses in this category carry a penalty of 50 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines
  • Class 2: Offenses in this category carry a penalty of 25 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines
  • Class 3: Offenses in this category carry a penalty of 15 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines
  • Class 4: Offenses in this category carry a penalty of 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines
  • Class 5: Offenses in this category carry a penalty of 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Class 6: Offenses in this category carry a penalty of 2 years in prison and up to $4,000 in fines

What is a Sex Offender Listing?

A sex offender listing is a public database managed by the Division of Criminal Investigation that contains the profile of offenders who have been convicted of sex-related offenses in the state. The Sex Offender Registry is open to the public and can be used to search for offenders by name or address.

Do Registered Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors?

While offenders are not required to notify neighbors, South Dakota’s legislation mandates the registration of any resident, regardless of age, who has been convicted of, adjudicated delinquent for, pled guilty or nolo contendere to a sex offense. Registration must be completed within three business days of the offender moving into any county to reside, work, or study. In addition, judges may direct offenders to register for crimes besides those covered under the sex offender registration law, if the crime they were convicted for involves sexual motivation.

What is Megan’s Law?

Megan’s Law is the unofficial term used to describe South Dakota’s sex offender registration laws. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government implemented a requirement that all states establish sex offender registries and provide the public with information about those registered.

What is a Serious Traffic Violation?

Serious traffic violations in South Dakota involve moving and non-moving traffic offenses that result in public safety, serious bodily injury, damage to property and death. Traffic ticket fines, surcharges, and court fees in South Dakota vary depending on the violation and county the offenders were ticketed in. In addition, South Dakota assesses out-of-state convictions as if the traffic violation was committed in the state. Examples of offenses that are classified as serious traffic violations in South Dakota include:

  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Repeat traffic violations
  • Reckless Driving
  • Attempting to elude
  • Not having adequate car insurance

What are Conviction Records?

A conviction record provides official information about decisions made by a court regarding a criminal case. It reveals if a charged suspect pleaded guilty or was found guilty by the court. It also contains records of persons who pleaded nolo contendere against criminal charges in a civilian or military court. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment that was deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.

What are Jail and Inmate Records?

Jail and inmate records in South Dakota contain information about an offender’s inmate status. The South Dakota Department of Corrections is tasked with the oversight of inmates and the different facilities maintained by the state. It provides public records on inmates via an online offender locator tool. Residents can conduct searches by last name, first name or a known DOC number.


What’s included in Inmate Records?

Inmate records provide general information about the status of a past or former offender. It may include:

  • Inmate Name (or any known alias)
  • Incarceration date
  • Expected release date
  • Convicted offenses and photos
  • Current facility
  • Parole Office
  • Correctional status
  • Discharge date
  • Physical descriptors

What is Parole Information?

Parole records contain official data regarding offenders who are released early, before the completion of their maximum sentence. The process and decision of parole are overseen by the South Dakota Department of Correction Board of Pardons and Paroles. The board publishes an annual schedule that’s open to the public. In addition to regular terms of supervision, the parole board may also impose any conditions of parole it deems appropriate in order to ensure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of South Dakota are served.

What are Probation Records?

Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in South Dakota to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they comply with probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case. Probation typically falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised and intensive. Intensive probation is a form of very strict probation that emphasizes punishment and control of the offender within the community.

South Dakota Juvenile Criminal Records

Juvenile criminal records provide official information regarding criminal activity committed by minors. Access to juvenile records isn’t as direct as public criminal records. In most cases, individuals or organizations seeking access to juvenile records may be required to obtain court permission. This will involve making a showing of good cause. Juvenile records may also be open to the public in cases where a juvenile is charged with a crime that would be a major felony if committed by an adult.

Are Juvenile Records Public in State?

While juvenile records in South Dakota are protected from public view, they still remain open to inspection by a group of people, some of which may include:

  • The youth
  • Parents or guardians of the youth
  • Surrogate
  • Individuals intervening on behalf of the unit during a proceeding
  • The DA’s office
  • The Juvenile department
  • Service providers on the case
  • Judge of the juvenile court or persons working under the judge’s direction

Note: Juvenile criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged.

South Dakota History and Accuracy of Criminal Records

The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. South Dakota criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s when criminal and arrest data started to be centralized and compiled into an organized database much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past, but in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer. As a result of this, the information provided on will vary from person to person.

South Dakota State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (605) 467-7467

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Police Records
  • Sheriff Records
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Probation Records
  • Parole Records
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Birth Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Personal Assets
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Political Contributions
  • Unclaimed State Funds
  • Relatives & Associates
  • Address Registrations
  • Affiliated Phone Numbers
  • Affiliated Email Addresses

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Criminal Record

Criminal Record