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By Bettmann Hogue Law Firm, Aug 15 2019 08:23PM

We’re all used to the usual laws that we abide by everyday—but what about laws that seem like they’re from a different era? Even with today’s modern legislature, there are some laws that seem to have stuck around. Here’s one from our very own state of South Dakota that will make you think twice: According to SDCL §§ 22-25-13 and 22-25-14.1 (2017), it’s illegal to own a slot machine. The catch? The manufacturing and distribution of these machines is still legal in the state of South Dakota. What’s more, this legislation has a loophole—if your slot machine is 25 years or older then it’s considered an “antique,” and can be considered exempt in the name of preserving their “esthetic interest and importance in South Dakota history.”

By Bettmann Hogue Law Firm, Aug 1 2019 02:29PM

According to the National Safety Council, over 5,000 motorcycle riders died in fatal crashes in 2017 alone. That might not seem substantial, but considering motorcycles make up 3% of all registered vehicles and only represent .6% of all miles traveled in the U.S., the numbers begin to add up. However, that’s not a good reason to keep from enjoying the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Instead, keep these safe riding tips in mind and let the good times roll!

1. Always wear a helmet. It might not seem like fun, but wearing a helmet is the best way to protect yourself against serious head injuries and brain trauma. And while wearing a helmet is not enforced by law in South Dakota, keep in mind that a motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a serious head injury.

2. Ride defensively. It might seem like the other drivers on the road are well aware of your presence, but considering the minority of drivers that motorcyclists make up, that’s not always the case. Instead, always assume the other drivers can’t see you as well as you can see them. Some examples for defensive motorcycle driving include always keeping your headlights on, signaling for turns and lane changes well in advance, and staying out of a driver’s blind spot. Additionally, giving other drivers more space than usual allows you time and room to stop quickly if you have to. Remember: it’s never a good idea to tailgate anyone while riding a motorcycle.

3. Gear up. Heavy leathers, gloves, and nonskid boots serve a purpose beyond just fashion. These items are made to protect you in the event of an accident, not just to help you look the part. Heavy leather helps protect a rider from road rash in an accident while boots protect your feet when starting and stopping.

4. Check the weather before taking a ride. While a rainy day or even a little snow might not mean much to someone driving a car, riders need to take extra precautions when riding in inclement weather. Motorcycles don’t have the traction and visibility that other drivers might have, magnifying the dangers of otherwise inconsequential weather and environmental conditions. Something that you might not even think about in a car—slick leaves in Autumn, for example—might make the difference between life and death for a ride.

5. Keep the knowledge coming. When riding, it’s never a bad idea to keep your safety knowledge up to date with motorcycle safety courses. A safety course will teach you the rules of the road, but will also keep you up to date on any new state laws pertaining to riding. Like any other skill or hobby, riders sometimes need a refresher. Perhaps more than other vehicles, riding a motorcycle requires skill, good judgment, and alertness—all of the things a motorcycle safety course can help you with.

By Bettmann Hogue Law Firm, Jul 25 2019 04:43PM

1) Look after your health first-

Personal injury cases may be stressful and take a lot out of you. On top of the injury, there are countless things to deal with such as time off of work, medical bills, and emotional distress. Before you dive head-first into a personal injury claim, make sure you are ready to deal with the legal processes included in a claim. What’s more, small injuries that seem harmless could turn out to be much more serious in the future. Make sure you consult any and all doctors in charge of your care to ensure that you’re aware of the full scope of your injuries.

2) Get an attorney to smooth things out-

While it may be tempting to skip out on the legal aid of an attorney, working with one makes the process easier in the long run and ensures that you get the most of your rightful compensation. Attorneys make sure to advocate for you and collect all materials necessary to state your case. Whether it’s knowing the law, helping with discovery, managing any and all witnesses, or just keeping things organized, an attorney’s services are an absolute must for a successful personal injury claim.

3) Get your facts straight-

When meeting with your attorney for your personal injury claim, make sure you have collected as much relevant information as possible to help the process go smoothly and to start off on the right foot. It’s important to prepare a detailed account of what happened, collect witness information if there were witnesses around, and obtain a copy of the police report if there is one. Having all of this information clears up some confusion and makes sure you and your attorney go into the process with all of the tools you need to succeed.

By Bettmann Hogue Law Firm, Jul 10 2019 10:05PM

After a winter that seemed like it would never end, summer has finally come to the Black Hills. With the hot weather and sunshine come an abundance of outdoor activities such as picnics, parties, and trips to the lake. Rapid City is conveniently placed near beautiful lakes such as Pactola, Custer State Park, and Angostura. But before you head out to make the most of your summer, make sure to remember these things while boating in South Dakota.


1) Safety Equipment– Just as you would make sure your passengers are safe in a car, passenger safety in a boat is equally as important. Make sure you have all required safety equipment on board before you sail off for the day. Lifejackets, fire extinguishers, navigation lights, emergency whistles, and personal flotation devices are all important to ensure everyone on board can enjoy their day in safety.

2) Flotation Devices- No matter what type of boat you’re in, a properly sized life jacket is an absolute must for every person on board. This even includes smaller vessels such as kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, and inflatable rafts.

If you’re short on life jackets, there’s a Life Jacket Loaner Program run by Game Fish and Parks (GFP) that can loan them out to you at no extra cost. Check with your local GFP office or look online to see where the closest participating office is near to you.

3) Don’t Overdo It- Always make sure to check the weight capacity of your boat, located on the capacity plate. This tells you how much you can carry, up to how many people can be on your boat at one time, and the maximum horsepower.

If you’re on a vessel under twenty (20) feet in length then you can use this simple rule of thumb to figure out if you’re in the clear to safely carry your passengers:

Number of people = (vessel length x vessel width) / 15

4) Avoid a BUI – Did you know alcohol is the leading factor contributing in recreational boater deaths? As mentioned before, a boat is just like any other vehicle. While it might be fun to relax on the water with a couple of cold ones, make sure you’re still cautious when operating a boat. Just like a DUI, a BUI –Boating Under the Influence—is taken very seriously. South Dakota state law prohibits operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled drug or substance to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or operating such a boat. (South Dakota Codified Law § 42-8-45).

Much like driving, the legal limit for operating a vessel under the influence is .08. If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver ahead of time.

5) Keep it Safe—While not legally required to operate a boat in South Dakota, a boater’s safety course is never a bad idea. There are a lot of factors that play into boating, and it never hurts to be prepared. Below is a list of course options available to you in South Dakota:

Boat Ed South Dakota Online Course

Boat US Foundation South Dakota Online Course

Boater Exam South Dakota Online Course

By Bettmann Hogue Law Firm, May 11 2016 02:36PM

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