Drunk driving is one of the major causes of crashes on the road. Even with just a glass of alcohol, your body experiences side effects that may affect your driving.
But what is considered a DUI in North Dakota?
What are the penalties?
We’re here to tell you all you should know about North Dakota DUI laws.
So let’s get started right away!
DUI Laws in North Dakota
In North Dakota, there are many laws related to DUI. These are:
- Illegal BAC levels
- Implied Consent
- Open Container law
- Drugs and driving
- Minor Consumption law
- Reporting impaired driving
Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Illegal BAC levels
When talking about DUI, a measurement called the BAC level is used.
BAC or blood alcohol content level is the amount of alcohol in your body per volume of your blood (in percentage). Your BAC level is usually what determines a DUI.
Now, in North Dakota, you will be charged with DUI if your BAC levels reach:
- 0.08% and above for drivers 21 years old or older
- 0.02% and above for drivers below 21 years old
- 0.04% and above for commercial drivers
To know your BAC level, a police officer will ask you to take a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test.
Did you know: If you have a North Dakota driver’s license, you already gave consent to take a BAC test when asked by a police officer?
Of course, since it’s only implied consent, you can refuse the test — but expect to have your license revoked for 180 days to 3 years.
Also, if you are not drunk or drugged, getting a BAC test will help you clear those allegations.
Open Container Law
Here’s one law that prevents drunk driving.
The North Dakota open container law states that…
“A driver or passenger is not allowed to carry an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle. Even if the container’s contents have NOT been consumed, as long as the seal is broken, it’s considered open.”
With this law, the driver or passengers are not tempted to drink while driving.
If you are carrying an open container of alcohol, it’s best to put it in the trunk or somewhere no one can reach it.
Drugs and Driving
Besides alcohol, drugs can also impair your driving abilities.
And no, we don’t just mean illegal drugs. Even prescription medication can affect you in one way or another.
In North Dakota, driving under the influence of a narcotic drug is illegal. It doesn’t matter what drug it is, you will be charged with DUI.
Minor Consumption Law
Since minors have little driving experience, the State of North Dakota does not tolerate underage drinking and driving.
This is why they are not allowed to purchase, drink, or even just transport alcohol.
If a minor needs to transport alcohol, they need to be with someone at least 21 years old. Plus, the alcohol container should be placed in the trunk.
Reporting Impaired Driving
Sure, you don’t drink and drive.
However, it is also your responsibility to make sure everyone is safe from drunk drivers.
So if you witness any driver showing signs of drunkenness, do not hesitate to call 911.
Some signs of drunk driving are:
- Swerving or weaving
- Driving too fast or too slowly
- Making wide turns or turning in the wrong line
- Forgetting to turn on their headlights when driving at night
- Not following traffic signals
- Making improper signals
DUI Penalties in North Dakota
What will happen if you are caught driving under the influence in North Dakota?
The table below details the penalties.
|Required Treatment/ Program
|Class B Misdemeanor
|Class B Misdemeanor
|360 days in a 24/7 program
|Class A Misdemeanor
|360 days in a 24/7 program and supervised probation
|4th or subsequent
|Class C Felony
|1 year and 1 day
|2 years in a 24/7 program and supervised probation
If you cause property damage, injury, or death, expect even more harsh penalties placed by the court. This also applies if you are a minor or if you are transporting a minor.
The 3 Factors that Influence BAC levels
Now, let’s go back to BAC levels. 3 factors influence a person’s BAC levels. These are:
- Alcohol content – alcohol content for a 12-ounce beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, or a 1-ounce glass of scotch or whiskey is the same. Mixed drinks’ alcohol content varies.
- Time alcohol was consumed – the more alcohol you consume, the longer it takes for it to leave your system. Drinking coffee is not a solution because the alcohol is still in your body. Only time will remove alcohol from your system.
- The person’s body weight – bigger people are able to dilute alcohol because they have more blood and fluids.
Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on Driving
You already know that alcohol and drugs affect your driving. But how?
Here are some ways:
- Impairs your vision
- Slows down your reaction time
- Affects your judgment, which leads you to make reckless decisions
- Makes it more difficult for you to concentrate
- Makes you feel very drowsy
You can see why these effects are dangerous when behind the wheel.
Let’s answer some of the burning questions about DUIs in North Dakota.
Do you lose your license immediately after a DUI in North Dakota?
For every DUI offense, your license will be confiscated by the arresting officer. For 30 days, you will be given a temporary license. This is also when you attend your court hearing.
If you are convicted of a DUI, your license suspension will depend on how many DUI offenses you’ve already had.
Do DUIs go away in North Dakota?
Unfortunately, you can’t remove a DUI record. However, if it’s been more than 5 years, your previous DUI convictions will no longer add up to the future DUI convictions you may have.
Is North Dakota a zero-tolerance state?
Yes and no. A zero-tolerance law means that underage drinkers are not allowed to drive a motor vehicle if there is any amount of alcohol in their system.
In North Dakota, underage drinkers’ illegal BAC level should reach 0.02%. That said, this percentage is already close to “any amount of alcohol in the system”.
Is a DUI a felony in North Dakota?
A DUI becomes a felony if it’s your fourth or subsequent offense. However, if you caused injuries or death, you may be charged with a felony even if it’s only your first offense.
And that was all you needed to know about the North Dakota DUI laws.
There are no merits to drinking or taking drugs and driving.
Not only do you endanger yourself and risk getting a conviction, but you will also endanger other people on the road.
For safety’s sake, if you are planning to drink or are taking medication, always ask someone to drive for you.
Remember, driving under the influence is never worth it.