Attorney General Headshot
Attorney General Seal

Attorney General Marty Jackley Proposes Aggravated Vehicular Battery for South Dakota

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :    Thursday, February 04, 2016 
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605)773-3215   

 

Attorney General Marty Jackley Proposes Aggravated Vehicular Battery for South Dakota


PIERRE, S.D. - In South Dakota, we average about a half dozen tragic vehicular homicides every year because of impaired driving.

“It is time to make South Dakota streets safer and to hold those that take innocent life by their drunken actions more accountable. I commend the Governor, our States Attorneys and Legislators for working with me toward implementing an aggravated vehicular homicide law to protect South Dakota,” said Jackley.

Under South Dakota’s current law, the maximum penalty for vehicular homicide is fifteen years of which a defendant may only have to serve 30% because vehicular homicide is not currently designated as a violent crime.  In order to both deter dangerous drunken driving and to hold offenders accountable for their actions, the Attorney General is proposing an aggravated vehicular homicide law to address the most serious offenders.  South Dakota’s existing manslaughter statute and vehicular homicide law would remain in effect.   The new aggravated vehicular homicide law is aimed to provide both an enhanced maximum penalty of up to 25 years and a violent crime designation for an increased parole designation of 50%. It is aimed at capturing the following three categories of homicide offenders:

 1. Persons with repeat DUIs of two or more convictions now entering the felony stage;
 2. Persons previously convicted of vehicular homicide or vehicular battery; or
 3. Persons that are at a high BAC of .17% or greater.

The Attorney General’s proposed legislation as an amendment to SB44 and is attached hereto. The proposed amendment is anticipated to be heard on February 18 at 8:00 a.m. in Senate Judiciary. 

 

 

-30-

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
    Section 1. That subdivision (9) of § 22-1-2 be amended to read as follows:
            (9)      "Crime of violence," any of the following crimes or an attempt to commit, or a conspiracy to commit, or a solicitation to commit any of the following crimes: murder, manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, rape, aggravated assault, riot, robbery, burglary in the first degree, arson, kidnapping, felony sexual contact as defined in § 22-22-7, felony child abuse as defined in § 26-10-1, or any other felony in the commission of which the perpetrator used force, or was armed with a dangerous weapon, or used any explosive or destructive device;
   Section 2. That §24-15A-32 be amended to read as follows:
Each inmate sentenced to a penitentiary term, except those under a sentence of life or death, or determined to be ineligible for parole as authorized in § 24-15A-32.1, shall have an initial parole date set by the department. This date shall be calculated by applying the percentage indicated in the following grid to the full term of the inmate's sentence pursuant to § 22-6-1. The following crimes or an attempt to commit, or a conspiracy to commit, or a solicitation to commit, any of the following crimes shall be considered a violent crime for purposes of setting an initial parole date: murder, manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, rape, aggravated assault, riot, robbery, burglary in the first degree or burglary in the second degree if committed before July 1, 2006, arson, kidnapping, felony sexual contact as defined in §§ 22-22-7 and 22-22-19.1, child abuse, felony sexual contact as defined in § 22-22-7.2, felony stalking as defined in §§ 22-19A-2 and 22-19A-3, photographing a child in an obscene act, felony assault as defined in § 22-18-26, felony simple assault as defined in § 22-18-1, commission of a felony while armed as defined in §§ 22-14-12 and 22-14-13.1, discharging a firearm at an occupied structure or motor vehicle as defined in § 22-14-20, discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle as defined in § 22-14-21, criminal pedophilia as defined in § 22-22-30.1, threatening to commit a sexual offense as defined in § 22-22-45, abuse or neglect of a disabled adult as defined in § 22-46-2, and aggravated incest as defined in §§ 22-22A-3 and 22-22A-3.1:
Felony Convictions  
Felony Class    First    Second    Third  
    Nonviolent           
Class 6               .25          .30         .40  
Class 5               .25          .35         .40  
Class 4               .25          .35         .40  
Class 3               .30          .40         .50  
Class 2               .30          .40         .50  
Class 1               .35          .40         .50  
Class C              .35          .40         .50  
    Violent           
Class 6              .35          .45          .55  
Class 5              .40          .50          .60  
Class 4              .40          .50          .65  
Class 3              .50          .60          .70  
Class 2              .50          .65          .75  
Class 1              .50          .65          .75  
Class C             .50          .65         .75  
Class B             1.0           1.0         1.0  
Class A             1.0            1.0         1.0  

     Each inmate shall serve at least sixty days prior to parole release. Inmates with life sentences are not eligible for parole. An initial parole date through the application of this grid may be applied to a life sentence only after the sentence is commuted to a term of years. A Class A or B felony commuted to a number of years shall be applied to the Class C violent column of the grid. An inmate convicted of a Class A or B felony who was a juvenile at the time of the offense and receives a sentence of less than life shall be applied to the Class C violent column of the grid.
Section 3.  That Chapter 22-16 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows: 
Any person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or substances in a manner and to a degree prohibited by § 32-23-1, without design to effect death, operates or drives a vehicle of any kind in a reckless manner and thereby causes the death of another person, including an unborn child is guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide.
Any person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or substances in a manner and to a degree prohibited by § 32-23-1, without design to effect death, operates or drives a vehicle of any kind in a negligent manner and:
1) That person has two or more convictions for a violation of § 32-23-1 occurring within ten years of the date of the violation being charged excluding any period of time during which the person was incarcerated for a previous violation, or
2) That person has at any time been convicted of a violation of §22-16-41 or §22-18-36, or
3) That person has .17 percent or more by weight of alcohol in that person’s blood as shown by a chemical analysis of that person’s breath, blood, or other bodily substance
and thereby causes the death of another person, including an unborn child is guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide.
Aggravated vehicular homicide is a Class 2 felony. In addition to any other penalty prescribed by law, the court shall order that the driver's license of any person convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide be revoked for a period of not less than twenty years from the date sentence is imposed or ten years from the date of initial release from imprisonment, whichever is later. In the event the person is returned to imprisonment prior to the completion of the period of driver's license revocation, time spent imprisoned does not count toward fulfilling the period of revocation.

Section 4.  That chapter 22-16 be amended to add a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
If conduct constituting an offense under §22-16-41 or Section 3 of this Act also constitutes an offense under another section of this chapter, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections. The defendant may be found guilty of one or both offenses but the court shall only enter a judgment of conviction for the greater of the offenses.