South Dakota Minor in Possession of Alcohol: Laws & Penalties

A minor in South Dakota may not buy (or attempt to buy), possess, or consume alcohol; or knowingly provide false information to obtain alcohol. (South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 35-9-2.) Nor is it legal in South Dakota for an adult to transfer or give alcohol to a minor. (South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 35-9-1.) There are few exceptions to these rules, explained below.

Exceptions to the Rule

South Dakota recognizes four exceptions to the general rule prohibiting minors from possessing or consuming alcohol.

  • Parents, guardians, or adult spouses. Minors may–while on private property, but not in an establishment licensed to serve alcohol—possess and consume alcohol while in the presence of a parent, legal guardian, or adult spouse. (South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 35-9-1(1).)
  • Special events. Minors may possess or consume alcohol at special events where an alcoholic beverage license has been issued (for example, at a wedding). (South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 35-9-1(1).)
  • Medicinal purposes. Minors may possess and consume alcohol for medicinal purposes, as long as the alcohol (or medicine containing alcohol) was prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner. (South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 35-9-1(2).)
  • Religious ceremonies. Minors may consume alcohol for religious ceremonies, as long as the alcohol is provided by an authorized adult. South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 35-9-2.)

Penalties

The consequences of violating South Carolina’s minor in possession laws depend on the violation. In addition to the following penalties, the judge may, under certain circumstances, order the violator to make restitution (pay money for damages or injuries) to someone harmed by the violation. (South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 22-6-2.)

Illegal alcohol purchase, possession, or consumption; misrepresenting age. Convictions for these violations are Class 2 misdemeanors. Penalties include a fine of up to $500, thirty days in jail, or both (as decided by the judge). (South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 35-9-2.)

Furnishing alcohol to a minor younger than 18. A violation involving a minor younger than 18 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This type of violation carries a fine of up to $2,000, up to a year in jail, or both (as decided by the judge). (South Dakota Cod. Laws. Section 35-9-1.) Other penalties may apply to adults who furnish alcohol to minors between the ages of 18 and 20.

Getting Legal Help

Because local procedures and attitude towards the South Dakota minor in possession laws vary by community, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer who is familiar with how these cases are handled in your area. This will give you a better chance of achieving the most favorable outcome under the unique circumstances of your case.

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