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Getting charged with a state criminal offense like fraud or DUI can be concerning and you are probably trying to figure out what to do. You may be wondering who will listen to your side of the story, what your rights are, what affect this may have on your personal life, and where you can turn for help.
As soon as you can, you should speak with a lawyer. Having a South Dakota criminal lawyer on your side can help eliminate costly mistakes and lessen the chances of harsh consequences. Remember, it is totally within your rights to speak with a criminal lawyer before you speak with authorities. The sooner you can meet with a South Dakota criminal attorney, the better off you will be. Keep in mind that not everyone who is charged with a state offense will be found guilty. Having a qualified and professional criminal lawyer can protect you and your family by explaining the options you have, including your rights. Many attorneys will even offer free advice at the start so you can more easily plan your next steps.
Do you Need a Professional Criminal Lawyer for State Charges?
Our professional, veteran criminal lawyers have experience in a wide variety of cases ranging from drugs to fraud to domestic violence. We have highly-qualified lawyers on our team that focus in areas criminal defense such as aggravated assault, theft, kidnapping, probation violations, manslaughter and many more.
There is really no time to waste. It doesn’t matter if you have already been charged or even if you have done something that you are expecting charges for, the longer you put off getting an attorney on your side the fewer options you will have. Our South Dakota attorneys understand the way state laws work and can give you excellent advice during your consultation.
We Can Help You with DUI Charges
One of the most common charges that are placed against someone is a DUI charge. The consequences of such a charge can really run the gamut and can include anything from a night in jail and a forced alcohol education class to a heavy fine and loss of your driver’s license. Our attorneys have the knowledge of state laws that is needed to fight for you in a DUI case. We can help you do things like figure out whether or not you qualify as a first offender, explain any fines and other penalties you may face, discuss how this charge could affect other parts of your life like your job or insurance standing, and explain how you can plan a great defense along with expert assistance from our attorneys.
We Focus on Particular Areas of the Law
One thing that we can offer to our clients is our intense concentration in certain areas of the law. Our South Dakotacriminal defense lawyers focus on specific areas which allow them to build a very strong knowledge base and extensive experience in particular case types. Our attorneys have the knowhow that is needed when it comes to South Dakota laws regarding your personal criminal case, and they will determine a good strategy for your defense based on this knowledge. We will be able to partner you with the top criminal defense lawyer to meet your needs.
Wondering What to Expect from Your Lawyer?
You will be able to get a free initial consultation with your criminal lawyer during which you will meet with him or her to talk about your case. Your lawyer will share their knowledge with you about the charges at hand and talk about your defense options. It is important that during this consultation and at all subsequent meetings with your lawyer that you are honest. Your lawyer will keep all information given to them confidential and their duty is to represent your best interests. You should take the advice of your lawyer and understand that you may need to be patient during this process in order to optimize your defense.
We Have the Reputation You Need
In cases like this, reputation will definitely count. Our criminal lawyers are members of various professional associations like the National Associate of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Their professional histories are easy to track and you will be able to view their successes just by doing a small amount of research. Our lawyers have been painstakingly vetted in order to provide high quality service for our clients.
We are Lawyers That You Can Trust
When choosing a lawyer you should find one who will competently and earnestly fight for your best interests. He or she will build trust with you, only engage in ethical practices and always show confidence in your case. Our South Dakota attorneys will present you with several methods to handle your case.
Avoid more problems by finding a South Dakota attorney as soon as you can. Their expert assistance will not only protect your rights but give you increased peace of mind as well. Call us today.
Are You Facing Criminal Charges in South Dakota?
If you are charged with a crime in South Dakota, it is normal to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of dealing with all of the laws and legal proceedings that lie ahead of you. While navigating the criminal justice system in South Dakota might feel insurmountable, it really isn’t. With a better understanding of crime in South Dakota and the support of a competent defense lawyer to represent you, it is possible to build a strong defense against your criminal charges.
All crimes in South Dakota are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Felonies are the more severe and substantial crimes which warrant a term of imprisonment over one year. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes that can still be punished by incarceration, but their sentences will not exceed one year. A single offense, such as assault, can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending upon whether it is egregious and substantial in terms of harm to the victim.
Further, both felonies and misdemeanors are more narrowly classified based on the severity of the crime. Felonies are classified as either class A, B, or C and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Convictions for each of these classes will result in the court imposing penalties up to its corresponding maximum punishment. For example, an individual who is convicted of the most serious crimes – Class A felonies – will receive the maximum punishment, which is either life in prison without parole or the death penalty. The other classes of felonies have the following maximum sentences:
Similarly, although misdemeanors are also divided into narrower classifications, there are just two classes: Class 1 misdemeanors and Class 2 misdemeanors. The difference lies in the severity of the crime committed and the maximum potential jail sentence. Conviction of a Class 1 misdemeanor will result in a maximum sentence of one year in jail, while a Class 2 conviction cannot be punished by more than 30 days in jail.
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Five Common Crimes Charged in South Dakota
It is important for a criminal defendant, as well as the general public, to know about the various crimes that are committed in South Dakota and to have a basic apprehension of their potential consequences. Information on South Dakota criminal laws provides more understanding of the criminal justice system and the potential ramifications of committing a crime.
Even so, no explanation of these statutes can tell a defendant how the relevant law will be applied in his or her specific case. For that reason, questions regarding application of the laws in these specific scenarios – or about any other criminal laws in South Dakota – should be directed to South Dakota criminal attorneys.
In South Dakota, the unauthorized possession, sale, manufacture, or trafficking of a controlled substance is a criminal offense. Individuals who are convicted of engaging in any of these activities will face steep penalties and punishment in the state. However, the seriousness of the charges – and the severity of the penalties imposed by the courts – under South Dakota drug possession laws will depend on the specific type of controlled substance.
South Dakota has entered information about each controlled substance on a schedule and ranked them in categories identified as Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV drugs. The rankings indicate the seriousness of addiction and danger to society of each controlled substance, with those appearing higher on the schedule – in Schedule I or Schedule II – being the most dangerous.
Conviction of a first-time offense for possession of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II is a Class 4 felony, and it can mean up to 10 years in prison. As a Class 5 felony, a first-time conviction for possession of a Schedule III controlled substance has a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison, while possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance is a Class 6 felony and can mean a maximum two-year sentence.
Subsequent offenses for possession of these controlled substances could be punished with higher levels of severity. The possession of marijuana, however, is handled differently than other illegal possession offenses in South Dakota.
The severity of a marijuana possession charge is based on the amount found in the possession of an accused individual. Amounts less than two ounces will garner a misdemeanor charge, while possession of up to two pounds of marijuana is a felony that is punishable by up to one year in jail. An individual charged with possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana, however, faces a serious felony which can be punished by a maximum of 10 years in prison.
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South Dakota law defines robbery as the intentional taking of the property of another person by force, while in the presence of that person and against their will, through the use of force, by coercion, or by threat. This crime is a property crime in South Dakota because the intent of the robber is to take property – but it is still a crime that directly affects its victims. For this reason, a robbery robbery conviction carries substantial criminal penalties. If you are charged with robbery in the state, you are strongly advised to engage a robbery lawyer from South Dakota.
South Dakota law addresses two distinct degrees of robbery. First-degree robbery is armed robbery. That means a deadly or dangerous weapon was used or threatened in order to force the victim to relinquish possession of the property. Robbery accomplished by any other means or in any other circumstances is charged as robbery in the second degree.
Robbery in the first degree is a Class 2 felony. The maximum punishment for a Class 2 felony is 25 years in prison and/or $50,000 in fines. As a lesser offense, robbery in the second degree is designated as a Class 4 felony, and the maximum punishment for a Class 4 felony is 10 years in prison and/or up to $20,000 in fines.
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An entire chapter in the South Dakota Codified Laws is dedicated to homicide. Homicide is the killing of another human being, and it includes both unintentional and intentional killings. Murder is a subset of homicide which emcompasses only homicides in which the actor intended to kill the victim without justification.
There are two degrees of murder. In South Dakota, homicide is murder in the first degree when:
If a murder in the first degree is carried out during the commission of certain separate felonies, it is referred to as felony murder. In South Dakota only certain felonies qualify a killing as a felony murder. They include arson, rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or explosive.
Under South Dakota law, the less serious degree of murder is referred to as second degree murder. Homicide is second degree murder if the defendant acted in a way that was imminently dangerous to others and dangerous to human life, but without premeditation or preplanning. Therefore, what separates first- and second-degree murder is the determination as to whether or not the acts were preplanned.
Murder in the first degree is a Class A felony – the highest and most egregious type of crime in South Dakota. A convicted individual can be punished by either capital punishment or life in prison. Second degree murder is a Class B felony that is punishable by life in prison.
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The assault and battery laws in South Dakota cover both the causing of physical harm to another individual and the attempt to cause such harm. These two types of assault are categorized as simple assault and aggravated assault and battery and, of the two, simple assault is the less serious charge.
An assault is considered simple assault when the person committing the act:
Simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor in South Dakota. That means the sentence cannot exceed one year; however, if an individual has three or more convictions for simple assault, he or she can be charged with a felony and be punished by a prison term of two years or more.
More egregious assault and battery is called aggravated assault and battery. In South Dakota, this is a felony and it is defined as assault when the actor:
Because of the aggravating circumstances, charges for aggravated battery are separate and the consequences are more serious. These charges are brought, not only for the attempt or threat of harm, but also for the actual infliction of physical injury.
Assault and battery rises to the level of aggravated battery when the individual:
Upon conviction, both aggravated assault and aggravated battery result in substantial consequences in terms of incarceration and fines. Both of these are Class 3 felonies which carry a maximum punishment of 15 years. Under certain circumstances, however, they can be charged as Class 2 felonies.
Circumstances that will elevate aggravated assault and/or aggravated battery to felonies include:
Both of these offenses are punishable by a maximum 25 years in prison.
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Driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as the operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance. In South Dakota, the impairment of a driver is determined by assessing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the individual. If a person is shown to have a BAC of 0.08% of higher, he or she is considered to be impaired. For individuals under the age of 21, the legal BAC limit is 0.02% and, if they are found to be operating a vehicle with a BAC at or above 0.02%, these drivers can be charged with DUI.
Under South Dakota laws, a driver can also be charged with DUI even if their BAC read at least 0.05% or higher and there was evidence of impaired driving – for example, if the driver were observed to be swerving or running a stop sign. Additionally, South Dakota interprets operating a motor vehicle to include a broad range of actions, including simply sitting behind the wheel of a car which is not moving.
The punishment for a conviction of DUI in South Dakota is based on whether or not the individual has prior convictions for DUI within the past 10 years. If so, the punishments are heightened. A first-time DUI offender is unlikely to serve time in jail; however, if aggravating circumstances are present, it is possible for an individual to serve up to one year in jail for a first offense.
Because a second DUI offense is also a misdemeanor, conviction can result in a sentence of up to a maximum of one year in jail. Further, fines and administrative penalties for a second offense are more significant. A third DUI within a 10-year is a felony, and it can mean that the convicted driver will serve a jail term of up to two years and/or pay a criminal fine of as much as $4,000.
Lastly, a fourth or subsequent DUI within 10 years is also a felony DUI in South Dakota. The maximum punishment for this felony is imprisonment of up to 10 years, and the court can also assess substantial fines of as much as $20,000.
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Each South Dakota criminal lawyer within Criminal Lawyer is prepared to defend a variety of crimes in South Dakota. Our experience is not limited to the most common crimes in the state, and extends to defense of federal crimes and appellate level defense. Whether you are seeking a lawyer for defense against such serious charges as murder, or for a less severe misdemeanor such as possession of a controlled substance, we can help.
Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal charges put your freedom, finances, and future at risk. Even minor misdemeanors can have a profound and long-lasting effect on what you do and what opportunities are available to you in the future. Whether your goals include pursuing a job promotion or spending quality time with your children, a criminal conviction in South Dakota could interfere with much of what you want to achieve down the road. Therefore, it is essential to minimize your risk of negative consequences by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney in South Dakota.
A criminal lawyer is not only responsible for your pleadings and defense during trial, but he or she also handles negotiations with the prosecution, pursues appropriate plea bargains, brings pretrial motions, and builds an overall strategy for your case. With so much at stake, you want to place this responsibility in the hands of a qualified and top-notch lawyer.
If you don’t know where to turn for defense against criminal charges in South Dakota, turn to us.
[Disclaimer – this is not legal advice.]
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