South Dakota Domestic Violence
In South Dakota, you can face criminal charges for domestic violence or domestic abuse if you are accused of injuring, threatening or attempting to injure a member of your family or household. It is also a crime in South Dakota to violate a domestic violence restraining order. If you are facing domestic violence charges in South Dakota, the best way to protect yourself against the charges is to retain the services of a qualified and competent South Dakota criminal defense attorney specializing in domestic violence defense. Accusations of domestic violence can destroy your family, disrupt your life and ruin your reputation, not to mention possibly subject you to hefty fines and a life-changing jail or prison sentence. Don’t wait to protect your rights; contact an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible.
South Dakota Domestic Violence Crimes and Penalties
The law that governs acts of domestic violence in South Dakota is S.D. Codified Laws § 25-10-1, which defines domestic abuse as “physical harm, bodily injury, or attempts to cause physical harm or bodily injury, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury” occurring between members of the same family or household. Each state has its own laws that dictate which individuals are legally considered family or household members and are therefore protected from domestic violence. In South Dakota, this includes spouses or former spouses, people who are currently in a significant romantic relationship or who were in one during the previous 12 months, people who have a child or are expecting a child together, parents and children (including a relationship by adoption, marriage or guardianship), and siblings (including a relationship by adoption or marriage). The following are some examples of specific criminal offenses that may qualify as domestic violence if perpetrated by one family or household member against another.
Assault – S.D. Codified Laws § 22-18-1
Simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense occurring when a person attempts to cause bodily injury to another person and has the actual ability to cause the injury; recklessly causes bodily injury to another person; negligently causes bodily injury to another person by use of a dangerous weapon; attempts by physical menace or credible threat to put another person in fear of imminent bodily harm; or intentionally causes bodily injury to another person that does not result in serious bodily injury. If you are accused of committing assault against a family or household member, you could face criminal charges for domestic assault, a crime punishable by imprisonment for one year in a county jail, $2,000 in fines, or both. If you have two or more prior assault convictions within the previous 10 years, a new simple assault offense may be charged as a Class 6 felony, a crime punishable by two years’ imprisonment in the state prison, $4,000 in fines, or both.
Aggravated Assault – S.D. Codified Laws § 22-18-1.1
Aggravated assault is a felony offense that occurs any time a person attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person or causes serious bodily injury under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life; attempts to cause or knowingly causes bodily injury to another person with a dangerous weapon; assaults another person with the intent to commit bodily injury and causes serious bodily harm; or attempts to put another person in fear of death or imminent serious bodily harm by impeding that person’s normal breathing or circulation. Aggravated assault in South Dakota is a Class 3 felony, punishable by 15 years’ imprisonment in the state prison, $30,000 in fines, or both.
Stalking – S.D. Codified Laws § 22-19A-1
S.D. Codified Laws § 22-19A-1 makes it a crime to willfully, maliciously and repeatedly harass or follow another person; make a credible threat to another person with the intent to cause that person to reasonably fear death or great bodily injury; or willfully, maliciously and repeatedly harass another person by means of any verbal, electronic, digital media or written communication. Stalking is a criminal offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony in South Dakota, depending on the defendant’s criminal history. As a first offense, stalking is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, any second or subsequent stalking conviction occurring within 10 years of a prior conviction is a Class 6 felony under South Dakota law.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders
A domestic violence protective order, also known as a restraining order, is an order issued by the court that requires a person accused of committing domestic violence against a family or household member to stay away and refrain from contacting that family or household member. A protective order can also exclude the accused from the alleged victim’s (the petitioner’s) residence or a shared residence, award temporary custody of minor children to the petitioner, require the accused to pay temporary child or spousal support, and order any other relief deemed necessary by the court. If you are arrested for violating a domestic violence protective order or no-contact order in South Dakota, you could face additional criminal charges. On its own, a first offense for violating a protective order is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and up to $2,000 in fines. However, if you commit an assault in violating the order, or if you have two or more prior convictions for violating a protective order within the previous 10 years, the crime is elevated to a Class 6 felony, in which case the potential punishment is doubled (imprisonment in the county jail for up to two years and a fine of up to $4,000).
A South Dakota Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
You can see that the state of South Dakota takes a tough stance against domestic violence crimes. If you have been charged with domestic violence or accused of domestic violence in a protective order, we recommend contacting a South Dakota domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the nature and severity of the domestic violence crime you have been accused of committing, you could end up serving many years in prison and paying tens of thousands of dollars in fines, in addition to other stiff penalties. Sadly, the consequences of a South Dakota domestic violence conviction extend far beyond jail time and fines. If you are convicted on charges of domestic assault, violating a protective order, or another domestic violence-related crime, you will be labeled an abuser and the stigma of abuse can follow you for the rest of your life.