Bills Introduced to Strengthen, Change Domestic Violence Laws

After years of trying and failing to improve South Dakota's definitions of domestic violence laws, legislators are expecting to consider six bills addressing the issue at the upcoming legislative session.

Among other things, the bills would:

  • Define domestic violence more specifically, so it doesn't cover college roommates, for example, who get into a fight;
  • Add a new misdemeanor charge for people who commit an act of domestic abuse in the presence of a child;
  • Allow victims a delay in having a warrant served on them so that they aren't discouraged from calling in acts of domestic violence because of outstanding warrants;
  • Ensure warrants and protection orders from jurisdictions like the tribal reservations have been served before South Dakota law enforcement try to contact someone who has an outstanding warrant.

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