South Dakota Public Traffic Records

South Dakota Public Traffic Records

In South Dakota, public traffic records are official papers that present a driver's comprehensive traffic history, i.e., anything from their traffic tickets to license suspensions. These records are generated and maintained by different agencies, specifically the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the South Dakota Unified Justice System. Therefore, upon request to the appropriate agency, individuals can inspect and copy public traffic records in the state.

Are Traffic Records Public in South Dakota?

Yes, traffic records are considered public records in South Dakota. Under the state's public records legislation, all citizens interested in examining public records are permitted to do so.

However, access to certain information contained in such a record is restricted under the Driver's Privacy and Protection Act (DPPA). The DPPA, a federal legislation, prohibits the dissemination of personal information included in a public traffic record without the approval of the record holder. Personal information restricted from disclosure includes the record holder's name, address, contact number, social security number, and driver's license number.

Nonetheless, under the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), the personal information in a South Dakota traffic record is still accessible to the following parties:

  • The record holder
  • Anyone with the record holder's written consent
  • Vehicle insurance companies
  • Prospective employers conducting employment screenings
  • Civil, criminal, and administrative courts

What do South Dakota Traffic Records Contain?

A South Dakota traffic record outlines a driver's motor vehicle history within and outside the state. This record bears the following information:

  • Identifying information, such as the record holder's name, gender, and address
  • License information, including the license number, classification, status, and expiration
  • Traffic violations and convictions
  • Traffic accidents
  • License/driving privilege restrictions (if any)
  • Demerit points

Does a Citation Go on Your Record in South Dakota?

Yes, a traffic citation appears on a person's record in South Dakota. South Dakota law enforcement officers issue traffic citations when individuals disobey or disregard traffic laws within the state. Each citation, as well as the demerit points associated with it, is subsequently entered on the offender's public traffic record.

Depending on the gravity of a traffic violation, a citation and traffic conviction can also be listed on an offender's criminal record.

Types of Traffic Citations in South Dakota

Individuals can receive traffic citations ("traffic tickets") for different types of traffic violations in South Dakota. This includes speeding and parking in a prohibited area. While many citations are issued for less severe offenses (also called infractions), certain tickets may be issued for felony and misdemeanor traffic violations. For example, driving under the influence, vehicular homicide, and leaving the scene of an accident (or hit and run).

Naturally, misdemeanor and felony traffic violations can cause death, destruction of property, and permanent bodily disfigurement. However, misdemeanor traffic violations are considered lesser criminal acts. As a result, offenders are penalized with a jail sentence of up to a year, a fine not exceeding $2,000, or both.

Felony traffic violations, on the other hand, are punished more severely than traffic misdemeanors because they usually include an aggressive element, wanton behavior, or intentional conduct. Anyone convicted of a driving-related felony in South Dakota will often be subject to hefty fines and a prison sentence that exceeds a year.

South Dakota Traffic Citation Lookup

South Dakota traffic tickets/citations are resolved by two courts: the Magistrate Courts and Circuit Courts. The magistrate courts handle misdemeanor traffic citations, whereas the circuit courts address felony traffic violations.

Hence, to look up information about a citation being handled in a circuit court, an individual can contact the specific court directly. A court's contact information and street address can be obtained from the South Dakota judiciary's circuit court page.

However, suppose the presiding court is a magistrate court. In that case, the interested party will have to conduct a general search online, as South Dakota's judicial branch does not feature a directory for the magistrate courts on its website.

It is crucial to have certain information when contacting or visiting a court to search for a traffic citation. This includes the cited individual's full name, driver's license and license plate numbers, and birth date.

How to Lookup my South Dakota Traffic Records

Residents of South Dakota can obtain accident reports and traffic records from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for various reasons, including employment and auto insurance. Reviewing traffic records every few years also allows individuals to know how many points they have accumulated on their licenses.

Generally, unless a record holder requests a complete record, state law allows only the most recent three years of a traffic record to be disseminated. Anyone interested in receiving a traffic record from the DPS can request in person or by mail. Irrespective of the request method an individual uses, the party must first download, print, fill out, and notarize a Request from Record Holder form.

The appropriate request form to use depends on the type of record being sought:

When submitting the form by mail, a requester must also send a $5 check or money order to the following address:

Driver Licensing Program
118 West Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

To obtain a traffic record in person, an individual must go to an exam station with valid identification (a driver's license, a valid passport, or a certified birth certificate) and the $5 record fee. This fee is payable in cash or with a personal check. One advantage that in-person requesters have over mail requesters is that they can get their traffic records right away. The exam stations in Aberdeen, Brookings, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, Mitchell, and Yankton, in particular, are locations where records may be obtained promptly.

South Dakota traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record

South Dakota Traffic Violations

A traffic violation in South Dakota is any infraction of the state's traffic laws. These violations can range from minor offenses, such as speeding or running a stop sign, to more serious offenses, such as DUI or hit and run. Violators may be subject to fines, points on their driver's license, and even jail time. Depending on the severity of the offense, a traffic violation can also result in a driver's license suspension or revocation.

Most traffic violations are classified as misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. However, some offenses, such as DUI, hit and run, and leaving the scene of an accident, are felonies and can lead to much more severe penalties, including prison time.

South Dakota License Plate Lookup

A South Dakota license plate lookup can be done by visiting the South Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles website and entering the license plate number. If the license plate is registered to a vehicle, the owner's name and address will be displayed. If the license plate is not registered to a car, the information will not be displayed. License plate information is a significant component of traffic records and is especially useful for tracking down vehicles, motorists, and erring road users. Traffic records are also maintained by third-party aggregate sites and can be accessed for a fee.

How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in South Dakota

Traffic case records are documents relating to court proceedings held to resolve a traffic violation matter. These records are kept as part of official court documents. As such, inquirers can usually request them from the clerks of court, the custodians of such records.

Typically, traffic case records can be sought from a clerk in person, by mail, fax, or remotely through an online database. Inquirers may view these records for free, but fees for duplication ("copying") or record searches may apply.

How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in South Dakota

The length of time a traffic offense remains on a public record in South Dakota depends on the offense's severity. Notwithstanding, most convictions stay on record for 5 years, while serious violations (especially alcohol-related convictions) remain listed for 55 years.

Furthermore, if a person's traffic offense caused the addition of demerit points, those points will remain on their driver's license and traffic record indefinitely.

How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in South Dakota

According to the South Dakota Public Records Act, traffic records are public information. This means that such records are available in government-owned databases and on data broker websites. However, because the general availability of traffic records may pose privacy risks to a record holder, removing such records from public websites may be beneficial.

Interested parties may remove traffic records from public view by filing an expungement petition with the courts. An expungement entails sealing all records about a person's detention, arrest, trial, or case disposition. It constitutes sealing documents that are usually on file with the courts, law enforcement agencies, detention or correctional facilities, or the Department of Public Safety. It is crucial to note that an expungement is only possible if the record relates to an offense that did not lead to a conviction.

Once a South Dakota court approves an expungement, the effect is that the applicable record will be barred from disclosure and made unavailable to the general public. Subsequently, following an expungement, the record holder may check public websites to ensure that the records have been removed. If one's record is still being displayed, the party can request removal from site managers.

Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in South Dakota?

Motoring/traffic offenses in South Dakota can impact a driver's criminal record if criminal charges accompany a violation. Usually, this happens because an individual's offense resulted in bodily harm or property destruction or constituted a serious threat to people or property.

When a motoring offense is prosecuted as a criminal act, the offense will appear on the convicted party's criminal record.