Rights of Victims

Victims of crime, including victims of driving under the influence vehicle accidents, have the following rights as designated by the South Dakota Legislature:

  • Notification of scheduled bail hearings and release from custody, notification by the prosecutor’s office when the case is received and to whom the case is assigned, and notification in advance of the date of preliminary hearing and trial;
  • To be informed of what the charges mean and the elements necessary for conviction;
  • To testify at scheduled bail or bond hearings regarding any evidence indicating whether the offender represents a danger to the victim or the community if released;
  • To be protected from intimidation by the defendant, including enforcement of orders of protection;
  • To offer written input into whether plea bargaining or sentencing bargaining agreements should be entered into;
  • To be present during all scheduled phases of the trial or hearings, except where otherwise ordered by the judge hearing the case or by contrary policy of the presiding circuit judge;
  • To be prepared as a witness, including information about basic rules of evidence, cross-examination, objections and hearsay;
  • To provide to the court a written or oral victim impact statement prior to sentencing regarding the financial and emotional impact of the crime on the victim and his/her family as well as recommendations for restitution and sentencing and 23A-28-8 notwithstanding, the right to appear at any hearing during which a change in the plan of restitution is to be considered;
  • To receive restitution, whether the convicted criminal is probated or incarcerated, unless the court or parole board provides to the victim on the record specific reasons for choosing not to require it;
  • To provide written input at parole hearings or with respect to commutations of sentences by the Governor, should those options be considered;
  • In a case in which the death penalty may be authorized, to provide to the court or to the jury, as appropriate, testimony about the victim and the impact of the crime on the victim’s family;
  • To be notified of the defendant’s release from custody, which notice includes:
  • Notice of the defendant’s escape from custody and return to custody following escape;
  • Notice of any other release from custody, including placement in an intensive supervision program or other alternative disposition, and any associated conditions of release;
  • Notice of parole; and
  • Notice of pending release of an inmate due to expiration of sentence;
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