South Dakota prostitution law

One of the briefest sets of statutes that prohibit prostitution and related crimes in the U.S., South Dakota’s legal system specifies that prostitution is illegal. A brief definition of prostitution is included, but most of the laws are open to interpretation. However, South Dakota does impose fairly stringent punishments for those who are convicted of the crimes covered in its statutes denying the legality of prostitution.

Prostitution definition

In South Dakota, a prostitute is defined as anyone who engages in or offers to engage in any sexual act in exchange for a fee. “Sexual act” includes sexual penetration and other contact that can be considered sexual. Patronization of a prostitute (or hiring a prostitute) is illegal, as well.

Both crimes are treated as class 1 misdemeanors and carry sentences of up to 1 year in the county jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.

Promotion of prostitution

Categorized as a class 5 felony, promotion can be summed up as any crime that helps to progress the crime of prostitution. Specifically, South Dakota includes three scenarios that may result in promotion convictions.

Someone who encourages or causes another to become a prostitute may be guilty of promotion. This encouragement must be purposeful. Also, if someone is persuaded to remain in the business of prostitution, this is considered promotion.

When an individual promotes the prostitution of a minor, he is committing an unlawful act that is punishable by the offense of promotion.

Finally, someone who is found guilty of promoting the prostitution of a dependant, such as one’s child, spouse or ward, may find themselves spending considerable time behind bars in South Dakota.

Pimping or house or prostitution regulation

Several offenses fall into this category, according to the South Dakota legislature. They each deal with a particular aspect of prostitution as a business or enterprise.

Someone who finds customers for prostitutes or provides prostitutes for customers may be guilty of pimping. Additionally, anyone who provides transportation for or transports someone into or within the state of South Dakota for the purpose of acts of prostitution being committed may be considered a pimp.

Any individual who owns or controls a place (such as a house, apartment, trailer, vehicle or other conveyance) and allows that location to be used regularly for prostitution may be found guilty of a prostitution-related crime. If one who owns a location regularly used for prostitution fails to make reasonable efforts to stop such use, he may also be convicted of an offense.

The laws also indicate that anyone who receives money or other benefits in exchange for performing any of these crimes will be convicted of a felony.

All of these crimes are class 6 felonies and punishable with time in jail for up to 2 years and/or fines that may reach $3,000.


The following Nevada counties have their own laws and regulations on prostitution:

Prostitution laws in US cities:

Prostitution laws in Canada