North Dakota DUI laws dictate that persons under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 percent or greater, persons older than 21 with a BAC of .08 percent or greater and commercial drivers with a BAC of .04 percent or greater may be charged with DUI. Like other states, North Dakota has an implied consent law that dictates that anyone who drives on its roads and is suspected of driving under the influence agrees to a chemical test of his or her blood, urine or breath.
North Dakota laws also provide for one to plea bargain on a DUI charge and have the charge reduced to reckless driving involving alcohol, which is also known as “wet reckless.”
North Dakota DUI Laws Governing 1st Offenses
The minimum fine for a first offense is $250, and there is no minimum jail term for a first offense, but a license suspension is imposed based on one’s BAC. If one’s BAC is .17 percent or less, his or her license suspension is for 91 days. If one’s BAC is greater than 0.17 percent, this is considered an aggravated DUI, so the license suspension period will be 108 days.
Convicted drivers are subjected to a mandatory alcohol evaluation as well, and they may receive a restricted license and apply for a work permit 30 days after their trial.
The penalty for refusal to consent to a chemical test, according to North Dakota DUI laws, on a first offense is a one-year license suspension. If one’s license is suspended for refusal to consent, he or she is not eligible for a restricted license.
North Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Program
North Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Program was implemented in select jurisdictions Jan. 1, 2008, and by August 2010, it had expanded statewide. Enrollment in the program is required for anyone convicted of a second or subsequent DUI that occurred on or after the date upon which the program went into force. It requires these individuals to abstain from alcohol use and submit to mandatory breath alcohol tests at a designated location twice a day. They pay $1.00 for each test.
Should any of the tests reveal the presence of any alcohol in one’s system, he or she is immediately taken into custody. The North Dakota Attorney General reports that more than 98 percent of those placed in the program pass all of the tests and thus successfully complete the program.
North Dakota’s Lookback Period and Felony DUI
After a first DUI conviction, the state considers all other offenses within a certain timeframe known as the “lookback period” when weighing the severity of penalties. The lookback period for second and third offenses is five years in North Dakota while the lookback period for fourth and subsequent offenses is seven years.
A driver convicted of a fifth offense is guilty of a Class C felony. The maximum fine for a fifth offense is $5,000, and the maximum prison term is five years.
Recent Changes to North Dakota DUI Laws
In April 2013, North Dakota’s governor signed House Bill 1302, which made several comprehensive changes to existing laws, and it took effect July 1, 2013. The bill significantly increased the duration of mandatory sentences for individuals convicted of multiple DUIs and assigned two classes of felony offenses, Class A and Class C, to drivers who cause another person’s death during a DUI-related incident or causes serious injury, respectively.
The bill also created a new charge of aggravated DUI for first-time offenders whose BAC exceeds .16 percent, and individuals convicted of multiple DUI offenses were required to enroll in the state’s 24/7 Sobriety program as well. $360,000 was also allocated for DUI education outreach statewide.