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xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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If I knowingly let an un-licensed driver use my car, how much

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If I knowingly let an un-licensed driver use my car, how much trouble am I in if said driver has an accident or gets a DUI> What is my legal risk?

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In order for me to better assist you, please provide the following information:


Was there an accident, or did the person get a DUI or both?



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Neither has happened, I want to know what my legal responsibility and consequences are if it did happen. Then I have a good reason to tell this person why I will NOT allow the use of my car. Thank you.

Thanks for your patience.


In South Dakota the Motor Vehicle Code governs laws having to do with motor vehicles, their operation, offenses, penalties, etc.


Specifically, the below section governs at least part of the question you posed:


32-12-72. Allowing unauthorized person to use vehicle--Violation as misdemeanor. No person may knowingly authorize or permit a motor vehicle owned by that person or under that person's control to be driven upon any highway by any person who is not authorized under this chapter or in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter. A violation of this section is a Class 2



The South Dakota Codified laws defines different classes of misdemeanors. Specifically a class 2 misdemeanor:


22-6-2. Misdemeanor classes and penalties--Restitution--Misdemeanor when no penalty imposed. Misdemeanors are divided into two classes which are distinguished from each other by the following maximum penalties which are authorized upon conviction:
(1) Class 1 misdemeanor: one year imprisonment in a county jail or two thousand dollars fine, or both;
(2) Class 2 misdemeanor: thirty days imprisonment in a county jail or five hundred dollars fine, or both.
The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant who has been found guilty of a misdemeanor, shall order, in addition to the sentence that is imposed pursuant to the provisions of this section, that the defendant make restitution to any victim in accordance with the provisions of chapter 23A-28.


Further, it is the policy of the state of South Dakota that:


23A-28-1. Policy of state--Enforcement of order. It is the policy of this state that restitution shall be made by each violator of the criminal laws to the victims of the violator's criminal activities to the extent that the violator is reasonably able to do so. An order of restitution may be enforced by the state or a victim named in the order to receive the restitution in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action.


Also, if there were to be an accident, and someone was injured, the injured party may sue you civially:


23A-28-9. Civil remedies of victims unimpaired--Restitution payments set off. Proceedings under this chapter do not limit or impair the rights of victims to sue and recover damages from the defendant in a civil action. However, any restitution payment by the defendant to a victim shall be set off against any judgment in favor of the victim in a civil action arising out of the same facts or event.


So, as you can see, if you knowingly allow someone who is not authorized by law to drive, there are possibly pretty hefty sanctions. So to protect yourself, you shouldn't let an unlicensed person drive your vehicle.


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Legal Disclaimer: The answer provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The information, research and opinions set forth above are limited to the facts presented in the question and no guarantee is made regarding the adequacy or accuracy of the answer. The answer provided does not infer or imply the establishment or acceptance of any attorney-client relationship. No claim is made that I am licensed to practice law in the state or jurisdiction where this information is being provided and you should always seek legal counsel admitted to practice in your local jurisdiction for representation and advice on any legal matter.



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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you so much! Better to be sure than just hope the worst won't happen. Now I can honestly tell this person there is too much risk and I will not place myself in that position for any one Again, thank you, Joyce.

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