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What Court Staff Can and Cannot Do

The court staff is here to help you in whatever way they can. Their role is to provide you with information, not legal help. They have been instructed to not answer questions if they do not know the answer, or if your question requires advice instead of information. They may refer you to other resources to help you more effectively.

WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU:

  • We can give you information on a court case, unless it is unavailable or restricted by law.
  • We can provide you with general information on court rules, procedures, and practices.
  • We can give you court-approved forms for Small Claims cases or Protection Orders. Forms are not available for other proceedings at this time.
  • We can assist you in filling out forms in Small Claims and Protection Order cases only.
  • We can give you general information on deadlines.
  • We can give you general information on scheduled court matters and how to get matters set before a judge.

WHAT WE CANNOT DO:

  • We cannot tell you what to say in court.
  • We cannot tell you what a judge will or might do.
  • We cannot provide you with any information that we would not provide to all other parties in a case.
  • We cannot tell you if you should take any particular action.

ABOUT LEGAL ADVICE:

Court staff is here to provide you with information, not legal help. Court staff cannot act as your attorney. If you choose to represent yourself, you will have the same responsibilities as an attorney.

One of your rights is to consult with a lawyer. If you can’t afford an attorney in a criminal matter, you can ask the judge for a court-appointed lawyer. If your case qualifies, you will have to fill out a financial form (available from the clerk) to make sure you are eligible. You may be required to reimburse the county for the costs of a court-appointed attorney.

A limited law library may be available at the courthouse for your use in researching case law, statutes, rules, and legal procedures. Some resources are also available through the state’s court website.

ABOUT FEES:

Court staff does not determine how much to charge a customer, nor when to collect fees. Those are set out under state law and are ordered by judges. (By the way, to us fees are not the same as fines or surcharges.) Some of our typical fees are as follows: Fees charged under SDCL 16-2-29: Filing fee in most probate cases $ 120
  • (Fee $75, Costs $45)
  • Filing fee in divorce cases $ 95 (Fee $50, Costs $45)
  • Filing fee in civil cases $ 70 (Fee $25, Costs $45)
  • Transcript of judgment fee $ 5
  • Execution fee $ 5
  • Records searches $5-15
  • Subpoenas $ 2
  • Certifying a copy $ 2
  • Supreme Court Appeals $ 150 ($50 to Circuit Court, $100 to SCT)

Fees and Costs under other statutes:

  • Law library fees $ 5
  • Appeal from magistrate court $10 & bond
  • Small Claims about $24-44 (depends on amount of claim and necessary postage; plus there may be additional fees for service of process)
  • Marriage fees (not license) $ 20
  • NSF check service charge $ 30
There are other additional fees charged according to South Dakota law. These include:
  • Variable court automation surcharges
  • Liquidated costs of $40 in criminal matters
  • Victim compensation surcharges $2.50
  • Bench warrant fee $10
  • Appearance by non-resident attorney $200 ($100 Automation - $100 State Bar Association)
  • Appeal Bonds
These amounts are effective as of the date of printing. PLEASE ASK THE CLERK what the current fees and costs are for your particular case. The clerk can also explain these fees to you or direct you to the relevant laws that apply.



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