DUI Laws and Penalties in North Dakota

Learn about the penalties for a first, second, and third DUI conviction in North Dakota.

North Dakota’s DUI laws prohibit driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:

North Dakota defines “actual physical control” over a vehicle as “real, not hypothetical, bodily restraining or directing influence over, or domination and regulation of, its movements of machinery.” This definition doesn’t require vehicle movement, a running vehicle, or even a conscious driver for a DUI conviction.

A driver is considered “under the influence” if rendered incapable of safely driving by the drugs or alcohol ingested. Any driver with a BAC of .08% or more is considered “per se DUI” and can be convicted regardless of his or her level of impairment. The amount of alcohol needed to reach .08% can differ depending on circumstances such as the person’s gender and body size.

North Dakota DUI Penalties

The possible jail time and fine amounts for a DUI conviction depend on the number of prior DUI offenses the driver has within the last seven years. Generally, DUI convictions that occurred more than seven years in the past aren’t counted. However, prior DUI offenses that occurred in North Dakota as well as other states within the seven years are counted.

Misdemeanor DUIs

In North Dakota, first, second, and third DUIs are typically misdemeanors and carry the following possible penalties.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

Up to 30 days (minimum 2 days if .16% or more BAC)

10 to 30 days

120 to 360 days

Fines

$500 to $1,500 (minimum $750 if .16% or more BAC)

$1,500

$2,000 to $3,000

Treatment. All DUI offenders must complete an addiction treatment program evaluation and follow the recommended treatments. The recommendations may include the 24/7 sobriety program which uses alcohol monitoring, random testing, and drug patch testing to ensure sobriety.

Drug court program. North Dakota also has a drug court program. Drug court often requires additional treatment but can reduce the penalties for a DUI conviction. For instance, a third-time DUI offender who completes the drug court requirements can reduce the mandatory jail time to ten days. Completion of drug court can also reduce a felony DUI to a misdemeanor DUI for criminal record purposes and lead to a misdemeanor DUI conviction being dismissed and sealed.

Felony DUIs

In addition to the other mandatory DUI penalties, felony DUI offenders face increased jail time and fines.

Fourth DUI. A fourth or subsequent DUI offense within a 15-year period is a felony and carries at least 366 days in jail and a minimum $2,000 fine.

Serious injuries. A DUI incident that results in serious bodily harm is a class C felony, punishable by one to five years in prison (minimum two years if the offender has prior DUIs) and up to $10,000 in fines.

Deaths. A DUI that involves a fatality is a class A felony and carries three to 20 years in prison (minimum ten years if the offender has prior DUIs) and up to $20,000 in fines.

Transporting underage passengers. An over-21 impaired driver who is transporting a minor can be convicted of a class C felony. A conviction will result in a maximum five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Driver’s License Penalties

During a DUI investigation, an officer will typically ask the driver to submit to a breath, blood, saliva, or urine test to determine the presence or drugs and alcohol. And North Dakota’s “implied consent” law requires all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to agree to a chemical test request. An unlawful refusal will result in license revocation and a failed test will lead to license suspension.

The BAC threshold for a failed test is .02% for drivers who are under 21 years old, .04% for commercial drivers, and .08% for all other drivers. Here are the suspension and revocation periods that apply.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Test failure

91-day suspension

365-day suspension

2-year suspension

Test failure .18% BAC or higher

180-day suspension

2-year suspension

3-year suspension

Test refusal

180-day revocation

2-year revocation

3-year revocation

Restricted licenses. A DUI offender is generally eligible to apply for an ignition interlock device (IID) license to drive during the suspension period after completing a “hard suspension” period. Offenders who are enrolled in the 24/7 sobriety program must complete a hard suspension period of at least 14 days being applying for an IID license. Applicants who are not enrolled in the 24/7 sobriety program must be free of prior DUI convictions and complete a 30-day hard suspension before applying.

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