South Dakota





Worker whose off-duty driving while under influence of alcohol (DUI) conviction precluded him from further duties as employer’s truck driver, and who left employment with employer altogether after unsuccessful attempt to operate grinder, sought unemployment compensation benefits. Department of Labor denied benefits, and the Circuit Court, affirmed. Worker appealed. The Supreme Court held that: (1) worker’s DUI conviction constituted “work-connected misconduct,” and (2) worker’s inability to operate grinder, not his DUI conviction, led to discharge from employment.  Reversed.


HOFER v. REDSTONE FEEDERS, LLC., 870 N.W.2d 659 (2015)

Claimant, who worked as a truck driver for a family-owned farming business, sought workers’ compensation benefits from his employer. The Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of employer. Claimant appealed. The Supreme Court held that: (1) a “farm or agricultural laborer,” for purposes of statute exempting employers of those laborers from obtaining workers’ compensation insurance, was someone who engaged in physical labor for a farm or agricultural operation; (2) test for determining claimant’s status examines nature of claimant’s work and nature of employer’s business; and (3) claimant, who worked exclusively for employer and hauled nothing other than agricultural products, was an “agricultural laborer” and thus was exempt from coverage.  Affirmed.


STATE v. KAUFMAN, 877 N.W.2d 590 (2016)

Defendant filed a motion to reopen his case and allow him to withdraw his guilty plea. The Circuit Court denied defendant’s motion, and he appealed.  The Supreme Court held that it did not have jurisdiction to consider defendant’s appeal.

“Defendant pleaded guilty in South Dakota to driving under the influence and admitted to being a habitual offender. After entry of the judgment of conviction, the State of Nebraska suspended defendant’s commercial driver’s license. Defendant filed a motion in a South Dakota circuit court to reopen his case and allow him to withdraw his guilty plea under SDCL 23A–27–11. He claimed the loss of his commercial driver’s license constituted a manifest injustice. The circuit court denied defendant’s motion, and he appeals. The State asserts that this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider defendant’s appeal. We agree and dismiss for lack of appellate jurisdiction.”


ERICKSON v. DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY, 904 N.W.2d 352 (2017)

Licensee appealed decision of the Department of Public Safety disqualifying him from operating commercial motor vehicles for one year after licensee pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while his blood alcohol content was 0.08 percent or more. The Circuit Court reversed. Department appealed.  The Supreme Court held that pleading guilty to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more constituted a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol sufficient to support suspension of motorist’s commercial driver’s license (CDL).  Reversed.


Adoption of Federal Regulations

What Constitutes a CMV

Major Disqualifying Offenses

Major Disqualifying Offenses (Alcohol)

Serious Traffic Offenses

Identification of Conviction

Masking Convictions

10-Day Posting Requirement

Other CDL Provisions