Get Answers to Your Highest Priority South Dakota Legal Questions

Swier Law Firm FAQ

 

Have questions? We have answers! Our South Dakota attorneys answer the questions they hear most often from clients just like you.

  • Page 1
  • What types of cases in South Dakota are handled in juvenile court?

    All criminal cases against juveniles, except hunting, fishing, boating, park, traffic offenses or underage consumption or possession of alcohol, are started in juvenile court. After the filing of the petition alleging a child to be delinquent, the prosecutor has the option of seeking to have the case moved to adult court.

    Before a court will transfer a juvenile from juvenile to regular court, the judge will consider the seriousness of the offense, the manner in which the offense was committed, whether the offense was against persons or property, the prosecutorial merit of the complaint, the desirability of one proceeding where adults and juveniles have been charged in the same action, the prior record of the juvenile, the protection of the public, the prospects of rehabilitation of juvenile, and the juvenile's mental, physical and social history.

    If a child is 16 years of age or older and has committed murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, rape, 1st degree burglary or other serious violent felony, it is presumed that he should be transferred from juvenile court and treated as an adult.

  • What are two common mistakes people make after a South Dakota automobile accident?

    If you are hurt in an accident, one of the first things that may happen is that the other party's insurance company may call you and ask you about what happened in the accident, and about your injuries. What you say to an insurance company can and will be used against you. Often a person just injured in a car accident in particular, does not feel the full brunt of his injuries until a day or two later. However, he/she may have told the insurance company that he was "not hurt" or "not badly hurt" a few hours after the accident. Without question the most common mistake people make after an accident has occurred is in speaking to the other side's insurance professional without a lawyer -a professional of his/her own- on his/her side. We strongly recommend that you do not speak to the other party's insurance company without having retained a lawyer.

    The next most common mistake injured persons make after an accident has occurred is not seeking treatment quickly enough. It is very important for your case to have an objective track record showing that you have been injured. Therefore, it is crucial if you have been injured that you get to a doctor or another medical professional as soon as you can, after the accident. Further, it is crucial that you do not create a "gap in treatment" by missing your doctor's appointments in the weeks and months following your accident, as these are things that can be used against you by insurance adjusters and defense counsel in your case. While not indicative of the extent of your injuries, not treating soon after your accident, or missing treatment sessions creates an argument that either you were not badly injured at the time of the accident, or you were healed fairly soon after the accident.

  • I live in Sioux Falls. My husband lives in Brookings. Where can I file my South Dakota divorce action?

    A divorce action may be started in the county where either party lives, but the defendant has the right to change the place of the trial to the county where the defendant resides.

  • Has Watertown banned texting-while-driving?

    Yes.  Watertown has a implemented a local texting-while-driving ban.  A proposed statewide ban failed in the South Dakota Legislature earlier in 2013.

  • Has Vermillion banned texting-while-driving?

    Yes.  Vermillion has a implemented a local texting-while-driving ban.  A proposed statewide ban failed in the South Dakota Legislature earlier in 2013.

  • My husband and I live in Sioux Falls and are close to retiring. We want to create an estate plan and keep hearing about the term "portability." What is "portability"?

    "Portability" allows married couples to take full advantage of each other’s unused federal estate and gift tax exclusion amounts.

    Let’s look at a hypothetical Sioux Falls couple: John and Jan Jones. 

    The Jones had $6 million in total assets, and their individual wills transferred all assets to the surviving spouse.  When John died in 2008, Jan inherited all his assets without incurring any federal estate taxes, because of the federal unlimited marital deduction.  John's federal estate tax exclusion, however, was wasted.  So, when Jan died in 2009 with $6 million in assets, her estate was able to take advantage of her personal federal estate tax exclusion only, not John's.  In 2009, the federal exclusion was $3.5 million.  As a result, $2.5 million of Jan's estate was subject to federal estate tax, at a 45% tax rate.

    Now let’s look at how this scenario would change under current law, which permits portability of any unused federal estate tax exclusion to be transferred to a surviving spouse.  If John had died in 2011, the personal representative of his estate could have elected to use the unlimited marital deduction to transfer John's unused $5 million federal estate tax exclusion to Jan.  If Jan dies in 2013 with the $6 million in assets, her estate will have a total of $10,250,000 in federal estate-tax exclusions: the $5 million transferred from John (which was not indexed to inflation after John’s death) and her own $5,250,000 exclusion amount (which was indexed for inflation).  As a result, none of the $6 million estate would be subject to federal estate tax.

     

  • Has Brookings banned texting-while-driving?

    Yes.  Brookings has a implemented a local texting-while-driving ban.  A proposed statewide ban failed in the South Dakota Legislature earlier in 2013.

  • Has Mitchell banned texting-while-driving?

    Yes.  Mitchell has a implemented a local texting-while-driving ban.  A proposed statewide ban failed in the South Dakota Legislature earlier in 2013.

  • Has Sioux Falls banned texting-while-driving?

    Yes.  Sioux Falls has a implemented a local texting-while-driving ban.  A proposed statewide ban failed in the South Dakota Legislature earlier in 2013.

  • Which cities in South Dakota have banned texting-while-driving?

    In South Dakota, as of April 2013, Mitchell, Sioux Falls, Brookings, Watertown, Vermillion and Huron have implemented local texting-while-driving bans.  A proposed statewide ban failed in the South Dakota Legislature earlier in 2013.