How Are Felony Crimes Punished in South Dakota?
- posted: Jan. 30, 2022
People who have been charged with a felony in South Dakota face the possibility of serving several years in prison if convicted. Felonies are serious crimes and are treated as such. The length of the felony sentence will depend on the type of crime and the convicted person’s prior criminal record, if any.
In South Dakota, there are nine classes of felonies, with Class A, B and C felonies being the most serious. The remaining classes are numbered 1 through 6, with 6 being the least severe.
Class A is the highest felony category in South Dakota and includes the crime of first-degree murder, the only crime punishable by a death sentence in the state. Other possible consequences include life imprisonment without the possibility of a lower sentence and a fine of up to $50,000.
If a defendant is convicted of a Class B or C felony such as manslaughter or aggravated kidnapping, the penalty ranges are almost identical to those for Class A, with the exception that the death penalty would not be an option. Class C punishment allows for the possibility of a lesser sentence than life imprisonment, while Classes A and B do not.
Penalties for Class 1 through 6 felony convictions range from up to 50 years in prison and $50,000 in fines for Class 1 to two years in jail and up to a $4,000 fine for a Class 6. If a defendant has one or two prior felony convictions, the judge may increase their sentence to the next felony level. For example, if a person with a prior felony conviction is convicted of a Class 2 felony, they will receive a punishment consistent with that of a Class 1 felony.
The law does limit the sentencing judge in that the defendant’s adjusted sentence cannot rise above the punishment for a Class C felony.
Persons with three or more prior felony convictions may have their sentencing increased two levels instead of one, again capped at a Class C felony level.
Defendants with three or more prior felonies may be sentenced at the Class C level if at least one of the felony convictions was for a violent crime.
If you have been charged with a felony crime, you could be facing the possibility of several years in prison. At Anker Law Group, P.C. in Rapid City, our South Dakota lawyers know how important your freedom is to you and will work tirelessly to defend you against charges that could put you behind bars. Call 605-519-5967 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.