South Dakota Hit and Run Laws: What happens if someone leaves the scene of an accident?
- South Dakota Hit and Run Laws: What happens if someone leaves the scene of an accident?
- South Dakota hit and run laws explained
What happens if you leave the scene of an accident in South Dakota
Under chapters 32 to 34 sections 32-32-3 through to 32-34-23, South Dakota hit and run laws; you are guilty of a misdemeanor if you leave the scene of an accident without fulfilling the requirements in section 32-34-3. If anyone suffers injury or death, leaving the scene is a felony.
Quick take: Leaving the scene of an accident in SouthDakota
- South Dakota is an at-fault state.
- You may transport the victim to a hospital upon request.
- Refusing a sobriety test will result in license suspension for up to one year.
- You have three years to file a personal injury claim.
- The law requires you to report any accident that results in death, injury, or property damage above $1000 via the quickest means of communication.
- 32-32-3: Duty of vehicle operator to stop in case of accident–Information given–Aid to injured persons.
- 32-34-23: Repair of vehicle with reportable damage prohibited unless required notice affixed–Violation as misdemeanor.
South Dakota hit and run laws explained
Under state law, a hit and run occurs when a driver is involved in a traffic collision and leaves the scene without exchanging information or offering reasonable assistance. If the accident results in property damage, and you knowingly leave the scene, you are guilty of a misdemeanor according to section 32-34-2.
What that means is to avoid criminal charges after an accident. Section 32-34-3 says that you must do the following:
- Immediately stop your vehicle and remain at the scene until you fulfill the statutory obligations below.
- Give your name, address, contact information, and license number to the struck person or property owner.
- Offer reasonable assistance to anyone who needs it.
- Upon request, or if it is apparent that the victim requires immediate medical assistance, you may transport the individual to a physician, surgeon, or hospital.
- If no peace officer is present at the scene, immediately report the accident if it results in death or injury. Failure to report is a class 2 misdemeanor under section 32-34-3.1.
How to avoid hit and run charges in South Dakota
An accident turns into a criminal offense if you fail to report it, offer reasonable assistance, or leave without exchanging information. Consequently, if you are involved in an accident, you may avoid charges by doing the following:
- Stop your vehicle without interfering with traffic more than is necessary.
- Immediately call the police.
- Remain at the scene until a peace officer clears you to leave.
- Exchange information. If the victim is unable to receive your information, you may give it to a passenger from the struck vehicle or a person attending to the victim/passenger.
- Do not admit fault.
- If the accident results in serious injury or death, call a lawyer and do not say more than you need to.
- Only leave the scene after exchanging information or if you have a good reason.
Can you leave the scene of an accident if you feel threatened?
Yes. But you must make sure that you immediately report the accident to the nearest police station. Why?
Threatening bodily harm to another is a criminal offense. Consequently, if someone points a weapon at you, acts aggressively, or harms you, you have the right to protect yourself. But remember, it is up to the investigating officer to determine if the threat was credible. Therefore, collect evidence of the aggression before you leave.
Is leaving the scene of an accident a misdemeanor in South Dakota?
Yes. In South Dakota, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage is a misdemeanor. You are also guilty of a misdemeanor if you do the following.
- The passenger or occupant of a vehicle must notify law enforcement if the driver is incapable. Failure may result in misdemeanor charges.
- Failure to furnish information to the struck property owner is a misdemeanor.
- Repairing a vehicle that has “reportable damage” is a misdemeanor.
You may also face misdemeanor charges for driving while distracted and reckless driving. In other words, a single set of facts may lead to multiple convictions.
What happens if you hit an unattended vehicle or property in South Dakota?
Under section 32-34-4, “duty to stop after accident with unattended vehicle,” if you are involved in a traffic collision with an unattended vehicle or property, you have a legal obligation to make a reasonable effort to locate the struck property owner.
If you cannot locate the owner, you may securely attach a note on a conspicuous section of the struck vehicle. The note must contain your name, vehicle registration, address, and contact information. Failure to find the property owner or leave a note constitutes a class 2 misdemeanor.
What is a reportable accident in South Dakota?
Under section 32-34-7, in South Dakota, “reportable accident” refers to an accident that results in death, serious injury, or property damage above $1000. The statute reads, quote:
“The driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in bodily injuries or death to any person or property damage to an apparent extent of one thousand dollars or more to any one person’s property or two thousand dollars per accident shall immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of the accident to the nearest available law enforcement officer who has jurisdiction.”
Failure to report a reportable accident in South Dakota is a class 2 misdemeanor.
How long do you have to report an accident in South Dakota?
South Dakota law requires you to report immediately after an accident; if you cannot, anyone in the vehicle may file a report.
Is leaving the scene of an accident a felony in South Dakota?
In South Dakota, you are guilty of a class 6 felony if you fail to stop at a scene of an accident involving death or serious injury. Upon conviction, the law requires the state’s Department of Revenue to revoke your registration receipt.
What is the penalty for DUI hit and run in South Dakota?
South Dakota’s “implied consent” laws state that all drivers in the state consent to sobriety tests once they enter a vehicle. Because of that, if you refuse a sobriety test, it will result in automatic license suspension for up to one year.
Remember section 22-16-41 defines vehicular homicide as quote,
“Any person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or substances in a manner and to a degree prohibited by § 32-23-1, without design to effect death, operates or drives a vehicle of any kind carelessly and thereby causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, is guilty of vehicular homicide.”
Vehicular homicide is a class 3 felony.
What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in South Dakota?
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage: class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by less than one year in prison and a maximum fine of $2000.
- Hit and run involving death or serious injury: class 6 felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $4000.
- Hitting unattended vehicle: class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
- Vehicular homicide/fatal DUI: class 3 felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a $30000 fine.
Civil and administrative penalties
If you are the victim of a hit and run, you have the option to settle or file a lawsuit. To begin the settlement process, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the defendant. If negotiations fail, the case may go to trial.
On top of that, the court may impose punitive damages on the accused.
If you fall victim to a hit and run, doing the following will increase the odds of a successful claim.
- Do not leave the scene without collecting evidence, including car make, colour, driver description, license plates, and anything else that may aid the police.
- Do not admit fault. Admitting fault may cost you your compensation.
- Seek medical attention and do not comment about your health at the scene.
- File a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
- Consult with a lawyer.
Is South Dakota a fault state?
Yes. South Dakota is an at-fault state. Because of that, the at-fault party is responsible for paying damages to the injured party.
The state has a comparative negligence rule that allows claimants to collect if their share of responsibility is lower than the other party. In other words, you cannot collect damages if you are 51% responsible for the accident.
What is the statute of limitations on hit and runs in South Dakota?
The statute of limitations on personal injury in south Dakota is three years. For property damage, you have six years to file a claim. You have three years to file a wrongful death claim.
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