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Know the Laws: South Dakota

UPDATED November 8, 2016

Protection Orders due to Domestic Violence

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A protection order is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family or household member.

Basic information

back to topWhat is a protection order?

A protection order (sometimes called a restraining order) is paper which is signed by a judge and tells your abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences.  It offers civil legal protection from domestic abuse to both women and men victims.  A protection order can protect you for up to five years.*

* SDCL § 25-10-1(3)

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of domestic abuse in South Dakota?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a protection order against domestic abuse.

Domestic violence in South Dakota is when a "family or household member" does any of the following to you:

  • causes physical harm or bodily injury;
  • attempts to cause physical harm or bodily injury;
  • inflicts fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury; and/or
  • stalking.*
As a general rule, the legal definition of domestic abuse does not include verbal and/or emotional abuse unless they cause fear of physical abuse.  However, threats of physical harm may be seen as domestic abuse in South Dakota law.

Note: Under South Dakota law, domestic abuse does not include property damage.

To read the exact wording of the law, please see the SD Statutes page.

*SDCL § 25-10-1(1)

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back to topHow can a protection order protect me?

A protection order can:

  • order the abuser to avoid all personal contact with you;
  • order the abuser to move out of and/or stay away from your home, business, school or other locations;
  • order the abuser to stop all harassing, threatening and violent behavior;
  • order temporary custody and/or visitation;
  • order temporary child support;
  • order the abuser to attend counseling;
  • order parenting classes by the Dept. of Social Services;
  • order the abuser to surrender all firearms, and bar him from buying or transporting firearms;
  • order the abuser to do anything else you ask for and the judge agrees to.*
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

* SDCL § 25-10-5

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back to topIn which county can I file for a protection order?

You can file a petition in the county where you live, or in the county where the abuser lives.*

* SDCL § 25-10-2

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