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Answers For Your DWI Questions

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in South Dakota. It is important to understand the different elements that constitute DWI in order to avoid facing the harsh consequences that come with a DWI conviction. I am D. Sonny Walter, and I want to help you explore the elements of DWI in South Dakota, including physical control, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit and the use of extrapolation to prove the level of alcohol in the blood. Below, find my answers to the questions that many of my clients have had about their DWI charges.

Do I have to be driving to get charged for DWI?

No. In South Dakota, a person can be charged with DWI if they are found to have physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This means that they do not necessarily have to be driving the vehicle; simply having the ability to control it is enough to be charged with DWI. For example, if an individual is found asleep behind the wheel of a parked car with the keys in or near the ignition, then they can be charged with DWI.

What is the legal BAC limit?

In South Dakota, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if a driver has a BAC of .08% or higher. If they have a BAC at or above this limit, then they can be charged with DWI. It is important to note that even if a driver’s BAC is below .08%, they can still be charged with DWI if they exhibit signs of impairment, which can be demonstrated by performance on field sobriety tests (FSTs).

How do police prove my BAC level?

Proving the level of alcohol in a driver’s blood is a crucial element in DWI prosecutions. In cases where a driver’s BAC is not measured at the time of the arrest, extrapolation can be used to estimate the driver’s BAC at the time of driving. Extrapolation is a mathematical calculation that takes into account the rate at which alcohol is metabolized in the body. This calculation can be used to estimate a driver’s BAC based on a BAC measurement taken at a later time.

What forms of BAC testing must police use?

It is important to note that preliminary breath tests (PBTs) are not admissible to prove the level of alcohol in DWI prosecutions in South Dakota. This was established in the South Dakota Supreme Court case of State v. Anderson. The court held that PBTs are not reliable enough to be used as evidence because the legal foundation for admissibility cannot be established. Therefore, a driver’s BAC must be measured using an evidentiary breath test or blood test to be admissible in court.

How can I fight my charges?

If you have been charged with DWI in South Dakota, it is important to seek the help of an experienced DWI attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you understand the elements of DWI and how they apply to your case. They can also help you navigate the legal system and work to minimize the consequences of a DWI conviction.

More Questions? Reach Out To Me Today.

It is important to seek the help of an experienced DWI attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and your case is handled properly. Call my firm, D. Sonny Walter, Attorney At Law, at 605-450-6182 or email me here to schedule your initial consultation today.