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Who qualifies for the suspended imposition of a DUI sentence?

The criminal courts in South Dakota oversee quite a few driving under the influence (DUI) cases on any given day. Judges hand down sentences based on the circumstances of the incident that led to someone’s arrest and also the record of the motorist accused of impairment at the wheel.

In some cases, judges may order someone to pay large fines, sentence them to incarceration and suspend their driver’s license. The maximum penalties for a first DUI where no one gets hurt or injured is usually up to a year in state custody, $2,000 in fines and at least 30 days without a driver’s license.

Avoiding these penalties is often the first priority of someone recently arrested on allegations of impairment at the wheel. One of the ways people minimize the lasting consequences of a DUI is to request the suspended imposition of a sentence after entering a guilty plea.

Those without a prior record could be eligible

The suspended imposition of a criminal sentence is a form of relief for those who may not pose much threat to the public. In general, it is usually only those involved in technical DUI infractions as opposed to offenses that result from a collision where someone gets hurt or dies will be eligible for deferred imposition of their sentence. The courts are less likely to show lenience when someone’s choices have direct consequences for others.

In addition to the offense itself having minimal impact on others, there is a requirement related to someone’s prior criminal record. Specifically, those hoping to qualify for the suspended imposition of a DUI sentence generally have to have a blemish-free criminal record. Prior criminal offenses or DUI convictions will usually make someone ineligible, and any prior suspended imposition will leave someone permanently ineligible for the same option in the future.

For those who have been recently arrested for the first time and who are worried about how DUI charges could affect their future, seeking a suspended imposition of a sentence could be one option when responding to pending charges in South Dakota. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about the alternatives to the standard criminal justice process may benefit those facing allegations of impaired driving or similar offenses.