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What is a Criminal Record in South Dakota?

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, the majority of 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.

Are Criminal Records Public in South Dakota?

Yes, criminal records are public in South Dakota. According to South Dakota Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws, the following records or information relating to public safety are public records: 

  • Arrests
  • Convictions
  • Sentencing information
  • Case disposition reports

However, keep in mind that not all information in these public criminal records are available for public view. Some information containing sensitive details that may violate the privacy of the record holder will not be available to the public.

Most criminal records include general information such as the:

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

Criminal records, considered public in the United States, are made available through some third-party aggregate sites. Searching with third-party websites is often easier as the information is not limited to geographic record availability. Information found on third-party websites can serve as a jumping off point for parties searching for a specific record or multiple records. Typically, requesters must provide the following information to gain access to these records:

  • The record subject’s name, unless the subject is a juvenile.
  • The record subjects’ last known location, including cities, counties, and states.

Third-party websites offer these search services, but they are not government sponsored. Availability of records may vary.

How to Obtain Criminal Records in South Dakota?

To access these records, one must submit a written request to the police department involved with the case. Performing a criminal record search to obtain a copy of a person's criminal record will require that person to sign a release form. Typically, parties can request a copy of someone's criminal background, which is public information. In South Dakota, parties have to have their written consent before requesting this information from the Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI), and the fee for obtaining this information is $10 per name searched. Although it is possible to perform a free public criminal record check, standard search and copy fees will apply.

What are Arrest Records in South Dakota?

A South Dakota 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 Codified Laws. While police records include arrest records and information, arrest records do not include all police records.

According to South Dakota state law, any person arrested for a "crime" must be fingerprinted at the time of arrest. This is required so that the results of these fingerprints can be sent to the FBI and checked against its records regarding previous arrests. The FBI then sends this information back to the local police department and the person's fingerprints and criminal record (if any) will be recorded in their arrest record. The arrest record includes: 

  • name and address of arrested person
  • date, time and place of arrest
  • nature of offense
  • history of prior convictions (if any)
  • police officer's narrative (containing statement of offender)
  • instructions as to bond or release from jail (if applicable). The crime is said to be "charged." These documents must be sent to the Department of Criminal Investigation within 96 hours after arrest for filing.

Are Arrest Records Public in South Dakota?

Yes, arrest records in South Dakota are listed under Section 1-27-38 of the SD Codified Laws. As such, the free public access statutes state that a person, relative, or successor may make a written request to a law enforcement agency for a copy of an individual's public arrest record. These records can be used for the purpose of obtaining employment, educational services, or other benefits. The law enforcement agency must release this information if the arrest search request is made in writing and is accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $10.00. The law states that the agency must release this information within 24 hours. Free arrest records may be obtained from various sources, but the information in the record may be incomplete or outdated.

What are Arrest Warrants in South Dakota?

An arrest warrant in South Dakota 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. While South Dakota does not have a statewide database to perform a warrant search, active warrants can be found through the DEA Fugitive Search tool or the U.S. Marshall's Warrant Information System. In order to perform a local active warrant search, parties can use the websites of the local county sheriff.

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 Inmate Records in South Dakota?

South Dakota inmate records provide general information about the status of a past or former offender. These records are typically maintained and updated by the SD Department of Corrections. Known as the Offender Locator, the statewide online database contains information like:

  • 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

The online inmate lookup is only accessible to requesters that can provide the first name, last name, and DOC number of inmates housed in the state’s correctional facility.

What Is The South Dakota Sex Offender Registry?

A sex offender registry 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 of South Dakota. The Sex Offender Registry, informed by Megan’s Law, is open to the public and can be used to search for offenders by name or address.

While offenders are not required to notify neighbors, SD Codified Law 22-24B-10 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 a DUI in South Dakota?

A DUI in South Dakota refers to the crime of driving under the influence. Also known as drunk driving, a DUI charge means that a driver was caught driving under the influence of one or more substances. Impaired driving in South Dakota is a type of serious traffic violation, and the penalties received for DUI can be substantial. A blood alcohol content (BAC) test is often conducted to determine if one has been drinking or using drugs while operating a vehicle. If a driver's BAC level is over the legal limit, they will face penalties.

Those arrested for DUI in any state should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the laws, procedures, and penalties involved. Penalties may include license suspension, fines, an alcohol treatment program, community service of unpaid work, jail time, car impoundment, probation and registration.

After being arrested for DUI in South Dakota the law requires law enforcement to report all arrests to the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety (SDOHS). Other examples of offenses that are classified as serious traffic violations in South Dakota include:

  1. Leaving the scene of an accident
  2. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  3. Repeat traffic violations
  4. Reckless Driving
  5. Attempting to elude
  6. Not having adequate car insurance

What are Misdemeanors in South Dakota?

Misdemeanors in South Dakota, according to SD Codified Laws § 22-6-2, 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 Probation and Parole in South Dakota?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

South Dakota State Archives

Criminal Records

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • 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

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