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North Dakota Drunk Driving Laws: How to Fight a License Suspension

North Dakota Drunk Driving Laws: How to Fight a License Suspension

A suspended license can wreak havoc on your work, life, and family. Here is how you can fight for your rights within the North Dakota drunk driving laws.

North Dakota is no stranger to drunk driving incidents. With the second-highest rate of DUI arrests in the country, North Dakota’s courts have begun incurring punitive measures like fines, community service, and even jail time. These consequences can be hard to deal with, especially if you’re also dealing with bodily harm, property damage, and financial repercussions.

However, there’s one consequence that makes things even harder: a license suspension. Under North Dakota’s drunk driving laws, drivers arrested for a DUI may be blocked from driving, which can make it difficult to navigate the aftermath of your arrest.

Fighting a suspension fast can be crucial if you want to retain your driving privileges. Delays can even make it impossible to contest the suspension! If you’re wondering what happens during a license suspension, how to fight one, and what to do if you’ve missed your chance, read on.

What Does It Mean to Have a Suspended License?

A driver’s license suspension involves a temporary loss of driving privileges. Your suspension will be set with a specific timeline, often 90 or 180 days for less severe offenses but up to several years for repeat offenders.

A suspended license is not the same as a revoked driver’s license, in which your driving privileges are eliminated.

Average Suspension Periods

Every case is different, as are the administrative and criminal penalties. There are a few factors that will affect your suspension period, including your BAC, the severity of the offense, and whether you submit to chemical testing.

In addition, North Dakota has a “look-back period” of seven years, meaning that any offenses within the past seven years will enhance current DUI charges. If you had an offense outside of this period, it will not count toward the calculation of your current license suspension.

With this look-back period in mind, if your BAC was between .08 and .18, you may receive one of the following suspension periods:

  • 1st offense: 91-day suspension
  • 2nd offense: 1-year suspension
  • 3rd+ offense: 2-year suspension

If your BAC was .18 or higher, you may receive one of the following suspension periods:

  • 1st offense: 180-day suspension
  • 2nd offense: 2-year suspension
  • 3rd+ offense: 3-year suspension

Under North Dakota DUI laws, if you did not submit to testing, your license may be revoked for a set period, often within 180 days and three years.

Contesting a License Suspension

After your arrest for driving under the influence, you can contest your license suspension. You’ll do this through the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), which allows you to submit a hearing request online. You can also contact their office at (701) 328-2600.

Note that you must make this request within ten days after the arrest report is issued. If you don’t already have an attorney to help you through the legal process of your hearing, get one as soon as possible.

After ten days, you waive your right to this hearing. The hearing must take place within 30 days of your arrest.

These requirements and timelines are subject to change by NDDOT, so be sure to contact them to confirm the details.

Navigating Your Driver’s License Hearing

During your hearing, you’ll have an opportunity to present your case. Counsel on both sides will go over the circumstances of your arrest, including the details of your sobriety, testing, and driving behavior.

If you’ve hired legal aid, your attorney will help ensure that there was no breach of your legal rights during the arrest. They can also help present any documents, witness statements, or evidence in your favor.

A judge will decide whether you should retain your license.

If the judge decides in your favor, your suspension will be revoked, allowing you to drive as usual again. However, this does not mean the other consequences of your DUI arrest are revoked as well. You may still have to pay fines, complete an alcohol treatment program, or fulfill other court-ordered requirements.

You will likely have to pay a license reinstatement fee as well.

If the judge decides against you, your license will remain suspended. However, your attorney can help you file an appeal if you wish to keep fighting. This can buy you more time to find evidence and strategies to overturn the suspension.

Dealing With a Suspended License

If you fail to request a hearing in time or are unsuccessful at arguing your case, you may be left with a suspended license.

Though it may be tempting to do so, never drive with your suspended license: doing so can incur strict penalties. You may be charged with a class A or class B misdemeanor, depending on the details. This may involve fines, jail time, and a lengthening of your suspension period.

Instead, seek an attorney’s help to get a temporary restricted license (TRL), also called a work permit. This is a special license you can apply for after you’ve served the first 30 days of your license suspension.

With a TRL, you can use your vehicle for specific purposes, like driving to work or school. You can also use it to perform basic household needs, like driving to the grocery.

Not all applications for a TRL get approved, which is why it can help to hire an attorney. You are more likely to receive a TRL if you had a low BAC level at the time of your arrest and the incident was a first-time DUI charge.

If your application is successful, you’ll need to have an approved vendor put an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. This monitoring service requires you to pay monthly fees.

Note that you may not be able to get a TRL if your driver’s license was revoked after you refused to submit to chemical testing during your arrest.

Get Help With North Dakota Drunk Driving Laws

Don’t navigate North Dakota’s drunk driving laws on your own. If you’re facing a license suspension, there’s no time to lose: hire an experienced attorney right away.

At Heartland Law Office, our experienced DUI attorneys are here to help you navigate any hearing or appeal you’re facing, seek a TRL, or fight the other consequences of your DUI. Call (701) JUSTICE or fill out our online form to request a case virtual evaluation.