Davison County Commissioner Kim Weitala sentenced for second DUI, as driver's license is revoked

Kim Weitala sentenced with a $500 fine and loses driver’s license for one year for driving under the influence.

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Kim Weitala avoided jail time on Thursday for driving under the influence for the second time since serving as a Davison County Commissioner.

On Thursday, Magistrate Judge Donna Bucher sentenced Weitala with a $500 fine and revoked her driver’s license for one year. In addition, Weitala, 58, was ordered to complete recommended alcohol treatment programs and be on good behavior for a year, while participating in a 24/7 alcohol program.

Weitala was arrested for her DUI on Aug. 27 after a witness called local authorities to report that Weitala “may have struck some other vehicles” near the area of Sixth Avenue and Main Street in Mitchell and left the scene, according to court documents. The witness reported the license plate of the vehicle to local authorities, which showed it was registered to Weitala, leading to her arrest. At the time of being booked into jail, Weitala's preliminary breath test for alcohol was .208.

“I’m not here to pay lip service. I’m here to be sincere and authentic,” an emotional Weitala said. “I have been struggling with disassociation and drinking and self-medicating. As serious as the incident of what I did is, I can tell you, your honor, that it has provided the most positive turnaround in my life. I’ve been sober since the incident, and every day is a new beginning.”

Attorney Doug Dailey represented Weitala on Thursday, and highlighted her extensive community service. Weitala has served on the county commission since 2012. She is currently serving her second full term on the county commission representing District 1.


“With the exception of this, Ms. Weitala is an outstanding member of our community. She has dedicated her life serving the community,” Dailey said. “She has been involved in many community organizations and activities on a voluntary basis such as Big Friend Little Friend. She has taken this matter very seriously, and she is making every attempt to show everyone that she is doing whatever it takes to show that people can recover from this.”

In 2013, Weitala was arrested for drunken driving. After pleading guilty to her first drunk driving offense, she received a suspended imposition of sentence. Therefore, it was removed from her record because she complied with all of the terms of her probation.

While Judge Bucher said it’s very common for second offense DUI offenders to receive some jail time, she suspended 80 days of a 90-day jail sentence, with nine days being held in advance, which means they will be suspended if Weitala completes all of the alcohol programs.

Driving under the influence is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable upon conviction by up to one year in prison and up to a $2,000 fine.

“Pretty much everybody does jail time with a second DUI, but because of the pandemic it is difficult for me to say that is appropriate in this instance,” Bucher said. “It’s not because we have been acquaintances and friends for a long time, but I’m saying to you that I’m giving you the opportunity to show me that there is a different way. It will be difficult for you to do things I am asking you to do.”

Weitala will reappear in court on Feb. 11 for a sentence review.

New commissioner
As other commissioners look on, Auditor Susan Kiepke, left, congratulates new District 1 County Commissioner Kim Weitala following Weitala's swearing-in Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell. Weitala was appointed to the position formerly held by her husband, David, who died Jan. 17 of a heart attack. (Ross Dolan/Republic)

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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