Attorney General Marty Jackley Proposes Aggravated Vehicular Battery for South Dakota

jackleyheader2 Marty JackleyAttorney 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. The proposed amendment is anticipated to be heard on February 18 at 8:00 a.m. in Senate Judiciary.


6 thoughts on “Attorney General Marty Jackley Proposes Aggravated Vehicular Battery for South Dakota

  1. Gregg Spindler

    Through the past 31 months we have found Marty Jackley and the entire staff of the AG’s office to be of of the very few bright spots in the tragic death of our daughter Maegan, killed by a drunk driver at highway speed, during daylight while standing in a parking lot. Also killed was Dr. Robert Klumb. They have been honest, kind and compassionate advocates for the victims of violent crime.

    Jackley was obviously repulsed by the violent nature of the crime. When Judge Bruce Anderson bent over backwards to acquit Ron Fischer of Manslaughter. Fischer received a “headline” sentence of 30 year, but actually means only 9 years because of automatic, presumed parole at 30%. Jackley then announced that he would advocate changing of the Vehicular Homicide statute.

    Our family is grateful for Mr. Jackley’s honesty and principled actions over the past 31 months.

    We should note that the Governor’s office, for whatever reasons, seemed to be a stumbling block in bringing this forward. There have been months of negotiations. The end result is Mr. Jackley’s proposal. Unfortunately it has taken 31 months to get to this place. Our family has attempted to motivate the Governor to be more proactive with DUI reform since July 2013.

    SB 44 is incremental progress and we are grateful to see it. We hope the legislature passes SB 44. But ultimately the Governor and Legislature seems ideologically opposed to improving public safety through changes in law for comprehensive DUI reforms. Our family will push to have voters decide through the initiative process.

    This is a right-to-life issue. Nothing more, nothing less.

  2. Troy Jones


    With the deepest empathy and condolences, I am so sorry for your loss of Maegan and my heart breaks contemplating what you live with every day. Just know that the burden of the loss doesn’t get any easier but your legs will get stronger. The grayness of life doesn’t go away but you develop new senses which allow you to see good and some days you will even recognize Maegan at work in this world making a difference and touching her dad’s heart.

  3. Anonymous

    It’s important that we consider this bill carefully from the mountain of fairness of justice and not from the valley of vengeance and retribution.

    Too often understandable emotions overwhelm good public policy and effective lawmaking. While I’m not opposed to this law, I think that we need set aside the emotions as much as we can and focus on whether this law is necessary, and if it will do what its proponents claim.

    Whether it’s DUIs, civil forfeitures, homicide, or the death penalty, we need to ensure that vengeance and retribution and other emotions are not in play.

    Like I said, I’m not opposed to this law but we need to ensure that there the moral, ethical, and efficacy issues are properly addressed and debated.

    Having known similar pain, I suspect that’s what Dr. Klumb would work for too.

  4. Anonymous

    Mr. Spindler:

    Your tragedy is our tragedy. Having gone through a similar situation, I assure you that the loss will always remain, yet with every new day comes new strength to bear the loss. The darkness of that horrible day will slowly melt to a new dawn. Memories of lost loved ones are always with us, and will fill the void–every time we think of them, or how & when they did this or that, or smile at all the times she annoyed her dad, and yes, long for the cold times that there is no one to hold or help or hug.

    Dear Lord, we pray that you cradle Maeghan and Robert in Your arms, offer them Your Mercy, care for their Souls, and Comfort those who knew & loved them well and were left behind.

    Let us pray:

    In company with Christ,
    Who died and now lives,
    may they rejoice in Your kingdom,
    where all our tears are wiped away.
    Unite us together again in one family,
    to sing Your praise forever and ever…

    from our lips to Your ears we Pray,


  5. Springer

    IMO a car in the hands of a drunk person is a weapon and should be treated as such. Especially if the person driving has been convicted twice or more before of DUI.