Search public records

Background Checks in South Dakota

Table of Contents

Need more information? Check out our guides to South Dakota arrest records and South Dakota public records.


What is a background check?

A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history. 

Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.

For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.  

How do I run a criminal background check in South Dakota?

South Dakota does not have an online criminal history information search available to the general public. However, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation does outline a process for obtaining a copy of your South Dakota criminal record, which will include arrest records. 

Follow these steps to obtain a copy of your South Dakota criminal record:

  1. Obtain a state applicant fingerprint card by calling the DCI Identification Section at 605-773-3331.
  2. Fill out your personal information on the fingerprint card.
  3. Fill out and sign an Authorization and Release form. 
  4. Have all ten of your fingerprints taken on the fingerprint card at a local law enforcement agency. This may require a fee. 
  5. Prepared a check or money order for $26.75 payable to “Division of Criminal Investigation”.
  6. Mail the fingerprint card, authorization form, and payment to the following address:

Office of the Attorney General

Division of Criminal Investigation

1302 E. Highway 14, Suite 5, Pierre, SD 57501

After the DCI processes your request, they will return a copy of your South Dakota criminal history. However, juvenile offenses, sealed records, traffic violations, and federal charges will not be included. 

What can I do if my South Dakota criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?

If your South Dakota criminal history record errors or incomplete information, call the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Identification Department at (605) 773-3331 for instructions on how to submit an official challenge. 

How do I search for South Dakota court records online?

South Dakota court records are available through the statewide Record Search program. There are two main searches for different types of records.

UJS Public Record Search (PARS)

  • Allows users to search a database of criminal and civil case records. Criminal case records from 1989 to the present are available along with civil case records from 2003 to the present.
  • Each search costs $20 which can be paid using a credit or debit card.
  • Users have the option of registering or using the search as a guest.

UJS Civil Judgment Record Search

  • Allows users to search a database of civil money judgment case records from the past 20 years and inactive money judgments from 2004 to the present.
  • Users must register and set up an account with a debit or credit card to use the search.  

Where can I find South Dakota driving records online? 

South Dakota driving records are not available online. Instead, individuals must send a request through the mail or visit a South Dakota DPS location, present valid identification and pay a $5 fee per record. 

How to request a South Dakota driving record through the mail

  1. Complete the appropriate form for the type of driving record you wish to obtain.
  2. Have the form notarized by a notary public.
  3. Prepare a check for the appropriate fee payable to “Driver Licensing”. Alternatively, you can pay with a credit or debit card over the phone by calling 605-773-6883.
  4. Mail the form and payment to:

Driver Licensing Program

118 West Capitol Avenue

Pierre, SD 57501

How do I look up South Dakota vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?

Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request. 

Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check. 

The South Dakota Department of Health Office of Vital Records enlists the services of the third-party vendor Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories. 

Available vital records include: 

  • birth certificates
  • death certificates
  • marriage records
  • divorce records

Click here to place an order with Vital Chek.

For more information, contact the South Dakota Department of Health Office of Vital Records at 605-773-4961.

How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in South Dakota?

Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in South Dakota are required by law to register as sex offenders. Additionally, offenders in the registry are required to notify law enforcement as soon as possible in the case of a physical address change or email address change, or they will be labeled “non-compliant”.

The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation makes the South Dakota Sex Offender Registry available online to the general public in the interest of public safety. Users may search by name, city, area, or email address/internet name. However, certain low-risk offenders may not be viewable in the online database.

Click here to perform a search of the South Dakota Sex Offender Registry. It’s important to stay informed about potential threats in your neighborhood in order to take the necessary precautions. 

How do I perform a credit history background check in South Dakota?

Performing a credit check in South Dakota follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:

In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureaus, you must provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth 
  • Social security number