Like every other state, North Dakota outlaws the act of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Motorists who are found guilty of this offense face punishments that vary from time served in jail to loss of their drivers’ licenses.
People planning on driving in North Dakota need to be aware of what the legal blood alcohol content limits are for each category of driver. They also can benefit by knowing what kind of penalties that DUI convictions can lead to in North Dakota.
DUI in North Dakota
The per se definition of driving under the influence in North Dakota is having a blood alcohol content or BAC of 0.08 percent or higher while operating a motor vehicle. This BAC applies to drivers who are 21 years of age and older. It also applies to drivers who operate privately owned vehicles like cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Holders of commercial drivers’ licenses or CDLs are held to a lower BAC standard than the per se DUI definition. The allowable BAC limit for commercial drivers is lower than 0.04 percent. If they drive with a BAC higher than that limit, they can be arrested for DUI.
Minors likewise are not allowed to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They are subject to a DUI arrest if they have a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher.
In North Dakota, it is also possible to be arrested for DUI even if the car is not in motion. The driver needs to be found in actual physical control of the vehicle in which he or she is found. If the key is in the ignition, the driver is in the driver’s seat, the engine is turned on or the headlights are illuminated, the driver can be arrested for DUI even if the car is not moving.
DUI Penalties in North Dakota
North Dakota charges DUI as either a misdemeanor or felony. The first three DUI offenses in the state are charged as misdemeanors. They carry with them lesser punishments than felony charges.
A first-time DUI in North Dakota is punished with a jail term of up to 30 days and a fine of $500 to $1500. If the offender has a BAC of 0.16 percent or higher, the fine can increase a minimum of $750, and the jail term can require a minimum of 48 hours served.
A second DUI in North Dakota can result in a jail term of 10 to 30 days in jail and a fine of $1500. A third DUI leads to a longer jail term of 120 to 360 days and a fine of $2000 to $3000.
Misdemeanor DUIs in this state also carry with it a mandatory sentence in a court-approved drug treatment program. Completion of the program can reduce the amount of time that an offender has to spend behind bars.
Fourth and subsequent DUIs in North Dakota are charged as felony offenses. They carry with them harsher penalties. The jail term can be as long as 15 years, with at least 366 days in jail being mandatory, and a minimum fine of $2000.
A DUI will be charged as a Class C felony if the offender had a minor passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense. It is also a Class C felony if the DUI offender caused serious bodily harm to someone else. This type of felony can carry penalties like up to five years in jail and a fine of $10,000.
If the DUI offender caused the death of someone while driving under the influence, he or she will be charged with a Class A felony. It carries a prison term of three to 20 years and fines totaling up to $20,000.
Drivers’ licenses Penalties for DUI in North Dakota
In addition to paying fines and serving time in jail, DUI offenders can also have their licenses suspended. Failing a BAC test leads to a license suspension of:
- 91 days for a first-time conviction
- 365 days for a second conviction
- Two years for a third conviction
Failing a breathalyzer test with a BAC of 0.18 percent or higher or refusing to take a breathalyzer or chemical test results in a suspension of:
- 180 days for a first conviction
- Two years for a second conviction
- Three years for a third conviction
People who have their licenses suspended because of a DUI conviction can apply for a hardship or restricted license during the suspension period. To qualify for a restricted license, they must agree to use an ignition interlock device or IID on their vehicle.
They also must be enrolled in 24/7 sobriety program and complete at least 14 days of their license suspension sentence. If they do not take part in a sobriety program, offenders must not have any prior DUIs on their record, and they also must complete at least 30 days of their license suspension sentence.
North Dakota addresses the crime of driving under the influence with a myriad of penalties like license suspensions and jail sentences. This crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Both carry with them consequences that are designed to dissuade drivers in North Dakota from driving after drinking or using drugs.