In North Dakota, the consequences of a DUI conviction depend on the circumstances of the case and often include fines, jail time, and license revocation or suspension. This article covers important definitions and the penalties you'll face for a first, second, and third North Dakota DUI offense.
North Dakota's DUI laws prohibit driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:
In other words, a DUI charge can be based on BAC or actual impairment.
North Dakota uses the term "actual physical control" in its DUI statutes. The law 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.
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.
You can jump ahead to the penalties for a:
These sections outline the specific penalties you'll face for each type of offense.
A first DUI in North Dakota is generally a misdemeanor and carries fines, license revocation, and possible jail time.
For a first DUI conviction, the offender generally faces up to 30 days in jail, but there's no minimum jail term. However, in cases involving a BAC that's at least .16%, there's a two-day minimum jail sentence.
A first DUI typically carries $500 to $1,500 in fines. In cases involving a BAC of .16% or more, the minimum fine is $750.
A first DUI conviction will generally result in a 91-day license revocation. However, for drivers who had a blood alcohol concentration of .18% or more or refused alcohol testing in violation of the implied consent law, the revocation will be 180 days.
A second DUI conviction is a class B misdemeanor and carries ten to 30 days in jail and $1,500 in fines. The driver must also complete at least 360 days in the 24/7 program.
For most second-offense DUIs, the state will revoke the driver's license for 365 days. However, for drivers who had a blood alcohol concentration of .18% or more or refused alcohol testing in violation of the implied consent law, the suspension will be two years.
A third DUI conviction is a class A misdemeanor and carries 120 to 360 days in jail, $2,000 to $3,000 in fines, and 360 days on probation. The driver must also complete 360 days in the 24/7 program.
For most third-offense DUIs, the state will revoke the driver's license for two years. However, for drivers who had a blood alcohol concentration of .18% or more or refused alcohol testing in violation of the implied consent law, the suspension will be three years.
Typically, a first, second, or third DUI conviction is a misdemeanor in North Dakota. But when a driver has three or more prior convictions that occurred within the past 15 years, the next DUI (fourth or subsequent) will be a class C felony.
A fourth or subsequent DUI carries at least 366 days in jail and a minimum $2,000 fine.
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.
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.
A DUI offender is generally eligible to apply for an ignition interlock device (IID) restricted 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.
An underage DUI violation isn't considered a criminal offense. But drivers who are younger than 21 years old and are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more generally face a 91-days license suspension.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence in North Dakota, you should seriously consider talking to a DUI attorney. A qualified DUI lawyer can review your case, let you know if you have any good defenses, and help you decide on the best course of action.