South Dakota State Laws

South Dakota Law

The Missouri River divides the state of South Dakota into two halves that almost segregates its residents. The people are divided into West River residents and East River residents and are socially and geographically different. Those residing on the East River often tend to the crops and make up a majority of South Dakota’s population. Those residing on the West River often come from ranching communities.

Though most state residents live on the east side of the river, the west side of the river is known for tourism and brings in non-residents on a regular basis. Many prominent landmarks dot the western half of the state and include Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Wild Cave, the Badlands, Custer State Park, and Deadwood.

These two halves make up a whole that is kept by one state government. The state government of South Dakota makes and keeps laws for the safety and peace of its people. These laws include labor laws, divorce laws, expungement laws, bankruptcy laws, gun laws, felony conviction laws, and others.


South Dakota does not have its own laws in regards to family leave, medical leave, or maternity leave. Instead South Dakota uses the federal laws for its employees. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take necessary leaves of absence for personal reasons. Many of these include caring for elderly parents, caring for ill children, hospitalization, and other psychological or medical necessities.

Each year employees are given twelve weeks of unpaid leave that cannot be broken into several months. While on leave the Family and Medical Leave Act protects the individuals from termination and guarantees them employment when the twelve weeks have concluded. Maternity leave and paternity leave are covered under this federal act and includes allowing adoptive parents time to bond with their new children.


In South Dakota, citizens who are under eighteen years of age are not legally allowed to possess pistols or handguns. Minors are only permitted to handle firearms under the supervision of a parent, a guardian, or an instructor. The reasons for handling firearms come in specifics and include the purposes of ranching, farming, target shooting, and while on private property.

Those who have felonious records are also not permitted to possess firearms. This is the same for those who have committed violent offenses while using firearms. These individuals may regain their rights to bear arms after their probation has ceased for fifteen years.


Felony offenses are normally punished through incarceration in state prisons, while misdemeanor offenses are served in county jails. The extent of a crime, as well as the sentencing, will be dictated by the severity of the crime and any previous crimes. Felony punishments also often include fines of several thousands of dollars as well as probation.

Depending on the offense, an individual can be sentenced to life in prison for a Class A Felony or as little as two years in prison for a Class 6 Felony. Multiple sentences can be extended at one time. For instance an individual can be sentenced to two felony offenses and one misdemeanor offense for the same crime.

South Dakota Law Articles


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