North Dakota has strict laws in place concerning driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The national benchmark for driving while impaired is a blood alcohol content, or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 and this is also the baseline BAC used under all the state’s DUI laws. Because there is no easy way to figure how much alcohol can safely be consumed while having your BAC remain under .08, the safest choice is to refrain from driving if you have been drinking.
Under North Dakota DUI laws, a conviction on a first DUI offense carries a mandatory minimum fine of $250. If your BAC was between .08 and .17, your license is suspended for 91 days. If above .17, it is suspended for 180 days, although a work permit may be obtained after 30 days under specific conditions. There is no mandatory minimum incarceration period although one is possible under mitigating circumstances at the discretion of the Court. You must undergo a mandatory alcohol evaluation before your license is reinstated and you must obtain SR22 insurance coverage. To obtain this type of coverage, you must prove financial responsibility by filing the SR22 form with the State. This coverage must remain in effect for a year or possibly more, depending on the circumstances of your particular conviction. Both administrative and criminal penalties are imposed upon a first conviction for DUI.
These penalties do not apply if you are under 21 years of age or hold a commercial driving license. North Dakota’s BAC minimum for commercial drivers is lower than that for the general driving public, only allowing for a BAC of up to .04 before charging a commercial driver with impaired driving. “Zero tolerance” is the standard for teen drivers.
Upon a second DUI conviction, your must pay a minimum fine of $500 and spend five days in prison or 30 days in community service. Any previous DUI conviction within five years of the second may be considered in sentencing. A BAC of up to .17 results in a one year suspension of license while one at .18 or above means a two year suspension. No work permit is possible for a second conviction. Administrative penalties include the installation of an ignition interlock device on your car for which you will bear the cost. You may also be required to attend a DUI prevention course and an outpatient alcohol program.
A third offense in North Dakota carries very significant criminal and administrative penalties. They start with a minimum fine of 000 plus associated fees and court costs. Mandatory inpatient attendance at an addiction facility is required, during which you must receive drug and alcohol counseling. The ignition interlock device must be installed and your license is suspended for two years for a BAC between .08 and .17 (three years if .18 or above). All sentences may be increased if injuries, deaths or significant property damages were involved in your charges. Your record can also be examined for the previous seven years instead of only five. A fourth offense includes all these penalties plus 180 days in jail and addiction treatment prior to license reinstatement. A fifth offense is a felony. You will spend at least five years in prison and pay up to $5000 in fines. In addition, your vehicle may be confiscated.
North Dakota also has an implied consent law. This means that refusal to submit to a test for impairment results in the immediate suspension of your license. The damage caused by impaired drivers is great and stiff DUI laws in North Dakota reflect the State’s lack of tolerance for DUIs. To drive here while impaired by alcohol is to risk your financial well being and your freedom.