Rapid City Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal Law in South Dakota
If you or someone you love has been arrested for or charged with a crime, it is critical that you seek professional legal representation right away. Your rights, your freedom, and your future are all at stake; you need a powerful legal team that can protect your best interests and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, we have more than 100 years of combined legal experience and have helped clients facing all types of serious criminal accusations and arrests. We work directly with our clients, providing personal attention and a team-based approach that allows us to pool our collective knowledge, resources, and skills to develop innovative legal strategies and build solid defenses. We are aggressive when it comes to protecting our clients’ rights, and our team is prepared to do whatever it takes to defend your best interests during pre-trial proceedings, as well as in the courtroom.
Types of Criminal Cases We Handle
Our firm represents clients throughout Pennington County and across South Dakota who are under investigation for or have been charged with all types of criminal offenses.
We regularly handle criminal defense cases involving:
- Drug crimes, such as possession, distribution, and trafficking
- Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs (DUI)
- Property crimes, including vandalism, arson, burglary, and robbery
- Violent crimes, such as assault, domestic violence, homicide, and murder
Regardless of the seriousness of your charges, our team is here to help you understand and protect your rights. We recommend that you contact us as soon as possible so as to avoid making any mistakes that could jeopardize your case—and your freedom.
What to Do If You or a Loved One Is Arrested
If you or someone you love is arrested—or is even merely under investigation for a criminal offense—it is important that you know your rights. Regardless of the accusation or charges, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself and limit mistakes that could threaten your future and your freedom.
If you are arrested for a crime in South Dakota, be sure to do the following:
- Stay Calm: Remain as calm as possible to avoid risk to yourself. Make sure you keep your hands where the arresting officer can see them and do not resist arrest. Do not lie or provide false information to the police but remember that you do not have to provide any information beyond identifying yourself.
- Stay Silent: The best thing you can do if you are arrested is remain silent. Inform the arresting officer that you wish to enact your right to stay silent and do not answer any questions aside from providing your name. You do NOT have to answer any questions about where you were born, what you were doing, where you live, etc.—nor should you. Do not try to explain yourself or give any details but instead, clearly and directly state your desire to remain silent.
- Do Not Consent to a Search of Your Property/Belongings: You do NOT have to allow the arresting officer to search your vehicle, home, or personal belongings. However, the officer may conduct a pat-down if they suspect you are carrying or have a weapon. Even if you object to a search of your property/belongings, the officer may still conduct one. By making a timely objection, you can protect yourself at future criminal proceedings.
- Contact an Attorney: You have the right to an attorney, and you should enact this right as soon as possible. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for you. You should avoid speaking to law enforcement and never sign anything without your attorney present.
The sooner you reach out to a criminal defense attorney, the sooner they can begin protecting your rights and building your case. We encourage you to contact our criminal defense lawyers in Rapid City if you or someone you care about has been arrested or accused of a crime anywhere in Pennington County or throughout South Dakota.
What Penalties Do You Face If You Are Convicted of a Crime in South Dakota?
Different types of crimes correspond to different penalties. Additionally, the severity of the alleged offense, as well as the existence of a criminal record, play a key role in determining the penalties you may face if convicted.
That being said, many criminal offenses are associated with the following penalties:
- A sentence in county jail or state/federal prison
- Hundreds to thousands of dollars in fines
- Court costs and other associated fees
- Restitution to victims
- Mandatory community service
In some cases, you may also face certain administrative penalties. For example, if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), your driver’s license will be suspended for anywhere from 30 days to 1 year or more.
In any case, a conviction can seriously affect your rights, your reputation, and your freedom. Additionally, if you are convicted of a criminal offense in South Dakota, you will have a public criminal record, which can affect your ability to obtain or maintain employment, secure housing, attain loans and lines of credit, and more.
Request a Free, Confidential Case Evaluation with Our Team
If you have been arrested on drug possession charges, charged with DUI, or are under investigation for a serious violent offense, do not hesitate to reach out to our team at Beardsley, Jensen & Lee today. With over a century of combined experience, our Rapid City criminal defense attorneys are prepared to immediately begin an investigation into your charges and start gathering supporting evidence to build your case.
We provide confidential consultations free of charge; call (605) 777-7466 to schedule yours today.
Q:What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
A:South Dakota has two main classifications of criminal offenses: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors simply because they are punishable with prison time in a state penitentiary. Depending on the class of felony, a person convicted can face anywhere from two years imprisonment and a fine of $4,000 up to life imprisonment and fines up to $50,000. Some Class A felonies in South Dakota are punishable by death. Misdemeanors, on the other hand, have fewer subclasses and generally carry less severe penalties. Imprisonment sentences for misdemeanors are carried out in county jails rather than state facilities and can range anywhere from 30 days up to one year, along with a fine of up to $2,000. If you are accused of any type of crime, whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony, know that your future is at stake. Our attorneys are prepared to do everything within our power to guard your rights and freedoms.
Q:Do I have to answer the police's questions?
A:No. Other than providing basic information about your identity, you do not have to answer any questions the police may ask during an interrogation or while under arrest. You have the right to remain silent and the right to retain legal counsel before answering any questions.
Q:I have a warrant out for my arrest. What should I do?
A:Get in touch with a skilled attorney from our firm as soon as possible if you have a warrant out for your arrest. We can review your charges, the details of the warrant, and help build an overall strategy for your case. We can advise you of your legal rights and the best course of action moving forward.
Q:Do I have to return to court after being released on bail in South Dakota?
A:Yes. When you are released on bail, the court will set a hearing date you must attend to avoid having a warrant issued for your arrest. If you have not already retained legal representation, it is important to do so before your court appearance.
Q:Do I need an attorney if I plan on pleading guilty?
A:Regardless of how you plan to plead, it is important you retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer to guard your rights. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you better understand the charges against you as well as collateral consequences to a guilty plea. An attorney will protect your rights and may be able to help you negotiate a better plea bargain.