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North Dakota DUI Laws

Even if you think you've not had much, drinking and driving is a dangerous choice. In North Dakota, it's against the law to either drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs or have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more in your system.

In North Dakota, 39% of motor vehicle fatalities involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This is higher than the national average. To protect its citizens, North Dakota has strengthened its drugged and drunk-driving laws.

Read on as FindLaw takes you through the highlights of DUI laws in North Dakota.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Implied Consent

"Per Se" BAC Limit 0.08%
Zero Tolerance (Underage) BAC Limit 0.02%
Enhanced Penalty (Aggravated) BAC Limit 0.16%
Implied Consent to Submit to BAC Test? Yes

Select Penalties

Minimum License Suspension or Revocation (1st, 2nd, 3rd offense) 91 to 180 days, 1 or 2 years, 2 to 3 years
Mandatory Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment Assessment & Treatment
Vehicle Confiscation Possible? Yes
Ignition Interlock Device Possible? Yes, for restricted license or court order

Note: State laws constantly change through legislative, judicial, or other means. While FindLaw works hard to ensure the accuracy of its legal resources, it's a good idea to thoroughly research the law or check with an attorney to ensure you have the most recent information.

North Dakota DUI Law

North Dakota state law prohibits anyone from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle when:

  • Under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating liquor
  • Having a BAC of 0.08% or greater
  • Having a BAC of 0.04% or greater if operating a commercial vehicle
  • Impaired by a drug or substance that makes you unable to drive safely
  • Impaired by a combination of drugs, substances, or alcohol that renders you unable to drive safely
  • You refuse to submit to chemical testing of your blood, breath, or urine to determine impairment

North Dakota law's language means you don't have to be in motion for a DUI charge. If you are in a motor vehicle and could drive if you choose, you face arrest if you're intoxicated.

Per Se Offense

North Dakota has a per se law that sets a legal BAC limit of 0.08%. You are legally impaired if you are at or above this limit. The police officer does not need further evidence that you were unsafe to drive. Your chemical test results showing your BAC is 0.08% or greater is enough evidence to convict you, even if you didn't appear intoxicated or were driving well.

Implied Consent Law

Police officers in North Dakota look for several factors when determining if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol before pulling you over. Law enforcement typically looks for weaving within or outside your lane, speeding or driving too slow, driving in the wrong lane, or driving without your headlights.

Refusing to cooperate with chemical tests can be a criminal offense. By driving in North Dakota, you have given consent to chemical testing when a police officer suspects you are DUI. This is called an implied consent law. These tests can include a Breathalyzer or breath test or blood, urine, or saliva analysis.

Refusing chemical tests will not prevent your arrest. An officer can arrest you and get a warrant to force you to comply.

Refusing chemical tests will suspend your driving privileges for 180 days, up to three years.

DUI Penalties

You will have administrative penalties and criminal penalties when charged with a DUI. The North Dakota Department of Transportation handles administrative penalties. Criminal penalties go through the court system.

Criminal penalties for a DUI conviction will vary depending on your circumstances. A first and second offense are usually charged as Class B misdemeanors. A third offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor. A fourth DUI charge within seven years is a Class C felony.

If you are 21 or older, a first-offense conviction carries the following penalties:

  • $500 fine if BAC is under 0.16%
  • $750 fine if BAC is 0.16% or more
  • Mandatory two days imprisonment if BAC is 0.016% or more
  • Mandatory addiction evaluation for all convictions
  • Completion of a substance abuse treatment program, if recommended

A second DUI conviction within seven years increases your penalties as follows:

  • $1,500 fine
  • 10 days of jail time
  • 360 days of participation in a 24/7 sobriety program
  • Mandatory addiction evaluation
  • Completion of a substance abuse treatment program, if recommended

The judge may convert your jail sentence to community service for a first and second offense. Ten hours of community service can equal one day of incarceration.

A third drugged or drunk driving conviction within seven years carries:

  • $2,000 fine
  • 120 days in jail
  • 360 days of participation in a 24/7 sobriety program
  • One year of supervised probation
  • Completion of a substance abuse treatment program, if recommended

A fourth or subsequent offense within 15 years is a felony. You face one year plus one day in jail, on top of fines, probation, and substance abuse assessment and treatment.

Aggravated DUI

Certain circumstances will enhance your DUI and possible penalties. Having a BAC over 0.16% increases your fines and possible jail sentence. These penalties increase further if your BAC is 0.18% or more.

Your DUI is a Class C felony if you have a minor passenger in your vehicle at the time of your DUI and you are at least 21. This is regardless of your BAC level.

If your DUI caused another person serious bodily injury or resulted in a fatality, you are facing five to 20 years of jail time and possibly civil liability.

DWI/Drug Courts

North Dakota has a DWI/drug court program for repeat offenders who are at high risk due to substance abuse disorders. It is a voluntary program. You must meet specific criteria to qualify. A first-offense DUI may enroll, but you have to have a history of substance use. You can be eligible if you have multiple drug and alcohol-related offenses on your record. You will give regular drug tests. Job skills training, education, and job assistance are available.

Completing the DWI/drug court program can reduce your probation requirements and even dismiss your charge.

License Suspension and Restricted Driver's License

When arrested for a DUI, the police officer will confiscate your driver's license. They will provide you with a temporary permit valid for 25 days. You have 10 days to request an administrative hearing with the North Dakota Department of Transportation, which oversees driver's licenses and suspensions.

Every DUI charge carries a driver's license suspension period. After you serve a period with your license revocation, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted license. A restricted license gives you limited driving privileges, such as going to work, school, or treatment appointments. You must enroll in the 24/7 sobriety program to receive a restricted license.

For a first offense, you will lose your license for 91 days if your BAC is under 0.18%. A BAC greater than this limit, you lose your driver's license for 180 days.

A second DUI offense within seven years will suspend your license for 365 days unless your BAC exceeds 0.18%. Your license revocation period is two years at 0.18% or more.

If you are under 18 or a commercial driver, you are not eligible for a restricted license.

Ignition Interlock Device

As part of your restricted license, you must install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. An IID connects to your ignition system. You must perform a breath test with the device before you drive. If the IID detects any amount of alcohol, it will not allow the vehicle to start.

IIDs generally require periodic retests during your journey to ensure you remain sober.

North Dakota Zero Tolerance Law

In North Dakota, the legal age to drink alcohol is 21. If you are under 21 and caught drinking alcohol and driving, you are legally intoxicated if your BAC is 0.02% or more at the time of driving. This is North Dakota's zero-tolerance law. It takes only a small amount of alcohol to reach this BAC.

If you are driving with a BAC of 0.02% or more, or you have any amount of intoxicating or illegal drugs in your system, you face an infraction. Your driving privileges get suspended for 91 days. You are not eligible for a restricted license. The judge may order you to pay a fine and complete community service hours.

North Dakota DUI Resources:

Don't Face DUI Charges Alone: Contact a North Dakota DUI Lawyer

Facing a DUI or DWI charge is overwhelming. A DUI conviction can impact not only your driving and criminal record but also your ability to find a job or go to school. Consider contacting a qualified local DUI attorney to evaluate your case. A DUI attorney in your jurisdiction will be able to review the evidence against you and help you decide the best course of action.

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  • Complex DUI situations usually require a lawyer
  • DUI defense attorneys can challenge Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer or blood test results
  • A lawyer can seek to reduce or eliminate DUI penalties
  • A lawyer can help get your license back

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