Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Magistrate Court held in Aberdeen?
Magistrate Court is held every Monday afternoon, Wednesday and Friday mornings on the first floor of City Hall with its entrance on the North side of
the building located at 123 S. Lincoln Street, Aberdeen, SD 57401. The entrance is marked with a sign for Magistrate Court.
How do we assign judges to court cases?
The clerk in each of our counties, excluding Brown County, assigns both magistrate and circuit court cases to the judge who handles that
particular county. To view which judge handles a particular county, please click on
. The only exception to this rule would
be if one of the parties asks that the judge be excused or if the judge happens to have a conflict with the case, the court action will
be assigned to a different judge by our Presiding Judge.
Circuit Court cases assigned in Brown County are scheduled with any one of the four circuit judges, basically whoever has the first
available time. Scheduling is done through our Scheduling Clerk, Carla Bourdon, phone number 605-626-2450 or toll free in-state 1-877-999-5613.
Our magistrate judge handles all of the magistrate court cases in Brown County and in Roberts County. Magistrate Court scheduling is done
through the respective clerk of courts offices in Brown and Roberts Counties. Please click on
What is bond and how does the judge decide the amount of bond?
Bond is the amount of money that a defendant must pay in order to be released from jail. A cash bond means that the defendant must post
the money himself or have someone post it for him. A surety bond means that a bondsman may post the bond on the defendant’s behalf.
A personal recognizance (PR) bond means that the defendant does not have to post any money to be released. When deciding the type and
amount of bond, the judge will consider whether the defendant poses a danger to the community and/or is a risk to flee. When making that
determination, the judge considers the type of charges against the defendant; whether the defendant is a resident of the community, and
if so, for how long; whether the defendant is employed; whether the defendant has family members residing within the community; and
whether the defendant has ever failed to appear before. The judge may also place certain conditions on a defendant’s bond such as not
drinking alcohol or not having contact with the alleged victim of an assault (a no contact provision is mandatory in cases of domestic
violence and cannot be lifted while the case is ongoing).
What are work and school permits?
If the judge suspends or revokes a defendant’s driver’s license, the judge may grant a permit to drive for work, school, court-ordered
counseling, or medical appointments. That includes dropping off and picking up children from daycare so that the defendant may attend
work or school. A permit does not include general household chores. The judge is not authorized to issue a permit for a Commercial
Driver’s License (CDL). The application for a work permit is obtained through the Clerk of Court’s Office or on this website, and you
must turn in a valid driver’s license and show proof of insurance to obtain a work permit. The judge is not authorized to issue a work
or school permit if the Department of Driver Licensing, not the judge, takes a defendant’s license. If a defendant receives a work or
school permit and drives outside of that permit, the defendant will be charged with a new offense, and the judge will not re-issue a work
permit. A defendant who has had his driver’s license taken for DUI or no insurance must file an SR22 form with the state and should
contact his insurance agent to find out how. A defendant may call the Department of Driver Licensing (1-800-952-3696) to find out how
to get his license back after his suspension or revocation has expired.
How are fines, court-appointed attorney’s fees, and restitution paid?
Fines, court-appointed attorney’s fees, and restitution are all paid for at the Clerk of Court’s window, although the payment arrangements
for each may be made differently. A defendant must make a payment agreement for fines with the Clerk of Courts Office, but a defendant
must make a payment agreement for court-appointed attorney’s fees and restitution with either the Clerks of Courts Office or Court Services
Office, depending on the county. When making a payment at the Clerk of Court’s Office, a defendant must be sure to indicate to what file
the money should be applied and what the money is for (fines, court-appointed attorney’s fees, or restitution). A defendant must pay at
least $25 per month, and that amount may be more depending on the defendant’s resources and the amount owed.
What are the maximum possible penalties?
Class A - death or mandatory life imprisonment and/or $50,000 fine
Class B – mandatory life imprisonment and/or $50,000 fine
Class C – life imprisonment and/or $50,000 fine
Class 1 – 50 years imprisonment and/or $50,000 fine
Class 2 – 25 years imprisonment and/or $50,000 fine
Class 3 – 15 years imprisonment and/or $30,000 fine
Class 4 – 10 years imprisonment and/or $20,000 fine
Class 5 – 5 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine
Class 6 – 2 years imprisonments and/or $4,000 fine
Class 1 – one year county jail and/or $2,000 fine
Class 2 – 30 days county jail and/or $500 fine
Petty offense - $25 fine
*Certain offenses also require the revocation or suspension of a defendant’s driver’s license or may have additional consequences.