Case Type Definitions

Civil Case Types

Civil cases are cases in which people or companies sue each other in court. They are not about breaking a criminal law. They include the following types of cases:

  1. Small claims cases: informal lawsuits between individuals or companies for $12,000 or less
  2. General civil cases: things like suing over money disputes and contracts, damage to property, or someone getting hurt. They may also include things like name changes, elder abuse, and civil harassment.
  3. Family law cases: divorce, annulment, alimony, child support, child custody, and adoptions
  4. Landlord-tenant cases: a landlord or tenant brings suit due to eviction or requests for money
  5. Probate cases: taking care of people and their personal affairs like estates, wills, guardianships, and conservatorships
  6. Juvenile cases: involving minors for things like delinquency and dependency
  7. Administrative appeals: involve appealing a decision of an administrative agency of government
  8. Mental health cases: involuntary commitments for substance abuse or mental illness, and forced medications
Get more information on case types and party roles.

Criminal Case Types

Criminal cases are cases brought by the state against a person who has broken a criminal law. Only the state may bring a criminal case, not an individual person.
  1. Infractions: minor violations, like speeding tickets, which are typically punished by a fine
  2. Misdemeanors: more serious crimes, like shoplifting, which are punished by up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine
  3. Felonies: the most serious crimes, like murder, which can be punished with prison time or even the death penalty.
Get More information about crimes in South Dakota.