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South Dakota Alcohol Laws

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Local ordinances prevail on the hours and days that alcohol may be sold in South Dakota, but such beverages are sold in private retail stores rather than state stores.

Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol

The minimum age for working in a restaurant that serves alcohol is 18, but all other employment involving selling or handling alcoholic beverages is illegal before age 21. As in all states, you must be 21 to consume alcohol in South Dakota.

Open Container Laws

Open container laws restrict drivers from carrying previously opened bottles of alcohol anywhere but in the trunk of the vehicle so that no one has easy access.

BAC Limits

Any driver tested with a BAC (blood-alcohol content) level of .08 percent or more is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ by the courts and can be charged with DUI with no other evidence required.

Drivers with higher than normal BAC levels – .17 percent or more over the legal limit – face harsher punishments.

A South Dakota driver who is under the age of 21 may operate a vehicle with a BAC level of only .02 percent or less. If the BAC is higher, the driver will be charged with DUI.


Requiring drivers suspected of driving under the influence to comply with a request by a police officer for breath, blood, or urine testing for alcoholic intoxication falls under ‘implied consent laws.’ Mandatory license suspension for up to one year is the penalty for refusing the tests.

The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) will temporarily remove a driver’s license under the minimum mandatory requirements of the law for 30 days for the first DUI conviction and one year for the second or third convictions.
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South Dakota does not support the penalty of vehicle confiscation, attachment of an ignition interlock device, or mandatory alcohol education or treatment.

DUI is considered a felony after the third conviction.