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Your Guide to Navigating North Dakota DUI Laws

Knowing how DUI laws work can help you navigate your legal situation and stay within the law. Here’s what you need to know about North Dakota DUI laws.

Getting a DUI, or being charged with driving under the influence, is a very serious offense. According to the organization MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), approximately 37 people die in an accident resulting from drunk driving every day in the United States.

Understanding the laws and how they work can help you navigate the system if you’re facing DUI penalties.

Read on to learn more about key North Dakota DUI laws, so you can be prepared if you’re planning to go to court.

DUI in North Dakota

A DUI is defined as driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two. North Dakota DUI laws are listed under the state’s Century Code 39-08-01.

In this state, drivers over the age of 21 with a BAC or blood alcohol content of .08 percent can be charged with a DUI. For drivers under the age of 21, it’s .02 percent and the limit is .04 percent or higher for commercial drivers. 

If a law enforcement official finds that you can no longer operate a vehicle safely and you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can receive DUI charges. This applies even if you are tested and your BAC is under the listed legal limit.

North Dakota DUI Laws: Penalties

DUI penalties in North Dakota vary, and the penalties typically increase if you’ve had a prior DUI conviction on your record. For first-time offenders, the penalty is up to 30 days in jail, fines of $500-$1,500, and your license will be suspended for 91 days.

If it’s your second offense, you could spend 10 to 30 days in jail, pay a $1,500 fine, and have your license suspended for 365 days (one year). Third-time offenders face between 120 and 360 days in jail, a $2-$3,000 fine, and a 360-day suspension of their license.

For fourth-time offenders, the jail time is at least 360 days and the fine is a minimum of $2,000 with at least 360 days of a suspended license. Whether it’s your first or third time, all DUI offenders must complete an additional treatment program evaluation in North Dakota. They must also follow all of the recommended treatments including random testing and taking part in 24/7 sobriety programs.

While these penalties are to serve as a guideline, it’s important to remember that each case is different. If you had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the infraction or you had a BAC over .18, you may face even more severe penalties. 

Implied Consent

An important component of the laws for DUI in North Dakota is the state’s implied consent law. So, what does the term implied consent mean in this case? If an officer suspects that you’re under the influence and asks you to take a breathalyzer test, you may say yes or no.

However, if you refuse to take the test, the officer can arrest you immediately. In North Dakota, if you get behind the wheel, you’re automatically agreeing to submit to a test to determine your BAC if an officer suspects you’re driving under the influence.

There are also automatic fines and other penalties in North Dakota for refusing to take a breathalyzer test. These may include license suspension and mandatory jail time upon your refusal. The “automatic” penalties are in addition to whatever penalties you face if you’re charged separately with a DUI.

Fighting a License Suspension

Once you’re arrested for a DUI in North Dakota, you must deal with two different issues. First, the criminal act of DUI is addressed in court and includes the penalties regarding fines and possible jail time.

Next, you’ll need to deal with the administrative penalty, which applies to your suspended license. This goes through NDDOT, the North Dakota Department of Transportation, which deals with suspensions and revocations of driver’s licenses.

If you want to fight your license suspension, you must ask for a hearing within 10 days after you were arrested. To fight the criminal charges, you’ll need to enlist the help of an experienced attorney who can help you in court. 

Once your license suspension period has ended, you can pay $100 to have it reinstated. However, if the license was revoked, you will need to go through some extra processes and procedures to get it back and activated. In some cases, you may be allowed to get a Temporary Work Permit (or temporary restricted license) so you can drive to and from work, but this usually depends on your record. 

Driving Record Impacts

You may wonder how long getting charged with a DUI will impact your driving record. North Dakota has a “look-back period” which is used in DUI cases to consider any prior offenses for sentencing.

This look-back period is set at seven years for the first three DUI offenses. It is designed to deter people from repeated DUIs by increasing the penalties after each subsequent offense.

If you are dealing with a fourth or higher subsequent DUI charge, the look-back period is unlimited. This means that any of your past DUI convictions will influence how you are sentenced for any new DUIs moving forward. It also means that the charges will likely impact your driving record indefinitely.

Important Information About Penalties

The penalties for DUI mentioned above don’t include other scenarios. For example, if you get a DUI with a minor in the vehicle, the penalty is up to one year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, it’s considered a crime in North Dakota. This could result in the revocation of your driver’s license for 180 days to as long as three years.

Criminal vehicular injury will result in up to five years in jail. If the charge is a felony offense like criminal vehicular homicide, you could receive up to 20 years in jail.

Know the Law and Your Rights

Once you know the North Dakota DUI laws, you’ll be better prepared to drive safely. If you are facing a charge, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney right away.

If you’re facing DUI penalties and charges, don’t leave your future to chance and contact Heartland Law Office today.