South Dakota Domestic Violence Laws

By , Attorney · UC Berkeley School of Law

In South Dakota, a person commits domestic violence (also called domestic abuse) by injuring, threatening, or attempting to injure a family or household member. It is also a crime in South Dakota to violate a restraining order.

Family and household members include spouses; former spouses; people related by blood, adoption or marriage; people who live together or have lived together; and people who have children together.

Under South Dakota's laws, a person commits domestic abuse by doing any of the following against a family or household member:

  • inflicting (or attempting to inflict) bodily injury or physical harm
  • committing any crime of violence
  • inflicting fear of bodily injury or harm, or
  • violating a protective order.

(S.D. Codified Laws § 25-10-1.)


In South Dakota, a person commits the crime of assault by causing or attempting to cause injury to another person, or putting another person in fear of bodily harm.

(S.D. Codified Laws § 22-18-1.)

Assault against a family or household member is also domestic abuse.

For more information on assault crimes, see South Dakota Assault and Battery Laws and South Dakota Aggravated Assault and Battery.

Arrests for Domestic Abuse

If an officer responding to a domestic violence call has probable cause (reason to believe) that a crime has been committed, the officer must make an arrest. This rule is a variation from the usual rule: Normally, officers need a warrant to arrest someone in the privacy of their home, unless the suspect is fleeing or about to destroy evidence.

People who have been arrested for assault on a family or household member or violating a protective order may not be released until a judge has seen the defendant and decided whether any protective measures are necessary.

(S.D. Codified Laws § 25-10-40.)

Protective Orders

A protective order (also called a restraining order) is a court order requiring one person (the defendant) to not contact and stay away from another person (the petitioner). Under South Dakota's laws, any family or household member who is endangered by domestic abuse can file a petition for a protective order.

Usually, the petitioner files a petition for a protective order and the defendant is served (given a copy) and then there is a hearing, where both the petitioner and the defendant appear. In South Dakota, the hearing must normally be held within 30 days.

If the court finds that domestic abuse has occurred, it can issue a protective order:

  • prohibiting a family or household member from committing acts of domestic abuse
  • excluding the defendant from the petitioner's residence or a shared dwelling
  • awarding temporary custody or visitation of any children
  • awarding temporary child or spousal support
  • mandating that the defendant participate in counseling, or
  • ordering any other relief necessary to protect family or household members.

The court must order the defendant to receive instruction on parenting if there are any children involved.

In South Dakota, a protective order can remain in effect for up to five years.

(S.D. Codified Laws § § 25-10-1, 25-10-3, 25-10-4, 25-10-5.)

Temporary orders

The court may also issue a temporary protective order. This is also known as an "ex parte" order because it is made without notice to the defendant and without the defendant first appearing in court.

If the petitioner alleges an immediate and irreparable risk of injury or damage, the court may enter any order it deems necessary, including an order prohibiting acts of domestic abuse or excluding the defendant from the petitioner's residence. Usually, a temporary order is only in effect for 30 days.

(S.D. Codified Laws § § 25-10-6, 25-10-7.)


Even if there is no protective order, in any domestic abuse case, the court may order the defendant to stay away from and not contact the victim and to surrender any dangerous weapons.

(S.D. Codified Laws § § 25-10-24, 25-10-25.)

Violating a protective order or no contact order is class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If the violation is also an assault, or if the defendant has two or more prior convictions for violating a protective order or no contact order in the past ten years, then the crime is a class 6 felony, punishable by up to two years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $4,000.

Assaults that cause minor injury or no injury are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Assaults that cause serious injury and those committed by defendants with prior assault convictions are punishable by harsher sentences, including up to 15 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $30,000 in the most serious cases.

(S.D. Codified Laws § § 22-6-1, 22-6-2, 22-18-1, 22-18-1.1, 25-10-13.)

Getting Legal Advice and Counsel

If you are charged with assault against a family or household member or violating a protective order, or if someone seeks a protective against you, you should contact a South Dakota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A protective order or a conviction for domestic abuse can have serious, lasting consequences. An attorney can help you navigate the court system and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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