Rapid City on pace to surpass 2012 DUI arrests
RAPID CITY (AP) — Rapid City police are on pace to make the most drunken driving arrests since 2008.
The Rapid City Journal reported officers have made 850 DUI arrests through Dec. 13.
Officials say 1,173 drivers were arrested for drunken driving in 2008 and 878 drivers were arrested last year.
Police have averaged about two drunken driving arrests daily in the past year and should have little difficulty exceeding last year’s total.
In 2009, the number of DUI arrests stood at 733, the lowest in years.
Police Chief Steve Allender said DUI enforcement is a priority.
“The fact is when you drive home tonight, you will drive by a drunk driver,” he said. “And the later you are driving, the more drunk drivers you will drive by.”
In South Dakota, a first offense for a DUI can net a maximum fine of $2,000 and a year in county jail. Third-time offenders can be sent to prison for two years. A fifth-time offender faces as many as 10 years in state prison.
Those penalties have meant crowding in county jails and state prisons, officials say.
In the Pennington County jail, 10 percent of 464 inmates are there for DUI offenses. Through November, 9 percent of the state’s 3,182 prisoners were locked up for DUI offenses.