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class 3 felony in south dakota

What Is a Class 3 Felony in South Dakota?

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The most serious felonies in South Dakota are the three classes from A to C. Those are followed by six numbered classes, Class 1 to Class 5, with Class 5 being the least serious of the group. Class 3 felonies include the following crimes:

  • Second-degree kidnapping
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated grand theft
  • Possession of more than 10 pounds of narcotics
  • Sale of at more than 1 pound of narcotics

Maximum and Minimum Sentences

The normal sentencing range for Class 3 felonies is as much as 15 years in prison and $30,000 in fines, although a fine is not mandatory for a Class 3 conviction. State law calls for a sentence between 5 and 20 years in prison for a Class 3 conviction. Class 3 felonies can trigger significant sentences and South Dakota law includes a number of exceptions to the normal sentencing range that give judges the discretion to impose stiffer sentences.

Extended Sentences

State law in South Dakota has carved out a number of exceptions for enhanced or extended sentences. For example, someone convicted of a felony with one or two prior felony convictions would move up to the next sentencing level. So, a Class 3 offender with one or two previous felony convictions could be sentenced up to 25 years in prison and fined as much as $25,000 – the sentencing range for a Class 2 felony. Someone with three or more previous felony convictions would move up two sentencing levels, but no higher than a Class C penalty. If someone convicted of a felony has three or more prior convictions for felonies, including one for a crime of violence, the sentence automatically increases to the Class C level, which is up to life in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Loss of Rights and Benefits

As soon as you are convicted of a Class 3 felony you will lose the following rights in South Dakota:

  • Hold or run for state office
  • Vote
  • Own or possess a firearm – only if convicted of a crime of violence or certain drug crimes
  • Serve on a grand jury
  • Enlist in the armed service
  • Hold state and federal licenses and permits

Once a felon in South Dakota receives a discharge from the Department of Corrections, he or she is “restored to the full rights of citizenship.” Any term of parole associated with the prison sentence must first be served.

Employment and Housing with a Felony Record

Employers and landlords in South Dakota can legally ask applicants about their criminal history and can use information gained from criminal history checks to make hiring and housing decisions. As part of the decision-making process, they can ask about your criminal history and can also run background checks to determine if you have been in jail. While some state programs encourage employers to hire convicted criminals, it will be difficult for convicted felons to get a job in South Dakota. The same is true of landlords who will see a felony conviction and may decide the risk is too great that you will be arrested again.

Clearing Your Record

South Dakota does not allow felons to have their records sealed – that option is only available for misdemeanor convictions. Expungement is possible for a Class 3 felony, but only when at least 10 years have passed after the completion of the sentence, no additional crimes have been committed and the felon is 75 years old or older. Class 3 felonies involving minors are specifically excluded from expungement. If you receive an expungement in South Dakota, your civil rights are restored and it is legal to answer no when asked if you have any previous felony convictions.

For more information on crimes in the state, see South Dakota’s Criminal Code and authorized sentences.

The information contained above is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.

 

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