11th May 2023
Unfortunately, North Dakota has historically been one of the worst states in the country when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. Our state had a drunk driving accident rating of 11.3 per 100,000 population in 2012. This rate is more than three times the U.S. rate (3.3). South Dakota’s rate was 5.7.
If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving before and you’re facing another DUI charge, the attorneys with Sand Law may be able to help. There could be extenuating circumstances behind your latest arrest. Or, we can work to help you avoid the maximum penalties for a second, third, or fourth DUI.
What is Chronic Drunk Driving?
Finding a clear definition of chronic drunk driving is difficult. But what’s clear is that people arrested multiple times for this crime have a severe issue that needs to be addressed. No amount of “fun” is worth risking lives and spending significant time in jail. When police charge someone with repeated DUI, that clearly indicates something is wrong. A chronic drunk driver needs to get help before their luck runs out.
How to Prevent Future Instances of Drunk Driving
Thankfully, there are steps that someone can take if they have a problem with getting behind the wheel after using alcohol. Here are just a few to keep in mind.
Ask for Support from Friends and Family
Chronic drunk drivers should never be ashamed of asking for help from the people they love and trust the most. Getting help from loved ones could be a critical step toward overcoming a potential addiction.
In many instances, people who abuse alcohol have a family history of alcoholism. Many chronic drunk drivers also say that someone in their personal support circle, such as their church, a good friend, or a family member, positively impacted their ability to stop drinking.
Get to the Root of the Problem
Support from friends and family can be powerful. But there’s no “magic answer” regarding why someone drinks too much. Everyone is different, and they react differently to different situations. If they’re going to solve their issue truly, they need to take a deep look at why they have that issue in the first place.
Habits are hard to break without having the desire to break them. Chronic drunk drivers need to take responsibility. It’s only by examining their behavior that they can ever hope to change it. Trying to operate a motor vehicle while impaired is part of a destructive pattern. Getting out of that pattern is going to take a lot of work.
Some people drink too much because of genetics. Exposure to constant, overwhelming stress can be another reason. If it takes getting professional help to deal with alcohol addiction, so be it. Getting treatment could save the chronic drunk driver’s life and someone else’s.
Install an Ignition Interlock Device
There are other steps people can take to reduce the risk of driving while drunk. One is to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle. This tool keeps a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. They need to blow into a tube connected to the device. If their BAC (blood alcohol content) is too high, the vehicle won’t start. Chronic drunk drivers don’t have to wait for a judge to make an IID mandatory. They can voluntarily install them as a preventive measure.
Purchase a Portable Breathalyzer
Another effective preventive measure is to purchase a breathalyzer that fits in a shirt or pants pocket. When someone has been out drinking, they can blow into the device. The principle is the same as using an IID. If the breathalyzer reads a high BAC, the driver can call a taxi, a ride-sharing service, or have a friend who hasn’t been drinking drive them home.
Remember, however, that a BAC level could still be high the morning after drinking heavily. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it may be. If someone seems to be driving impaired, law enforcement will arrest them.
Make a Plan Before Going Out
If you plan on drinking – even if you only intend to have a couple of beverages – you must have a plan. This means arranging for alternative transportation if necessary. Having a designated driver, calling a taxi, or using a ride-sharing service are all effective ways to avoid drunk driving. Whether you’re going to a holiday party, a bar, or just going to a friend’s house, you can’t be too careful.
Penalties for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th DUIs
Driving after drinking isn’t worth the potential costs. The consequences are severe. Here’s a brief look at the penalties for your second, third, and fourth (or subsequent) DUI:
- A conviction for a second DUI could mean a jail sentence of up to 10 days and a fine of as high as $1,500. Those convicted will also have to take part in a 24/7 sobriety program for as long as 360 days. They must also undergo an evaluation for addiction and lose their license for a year.
- The penalties for a third DUI are even worse. These include a four-month jail sentence, a $2,000 fine, and a loss of license for two or three years, depending on their BAC level at the time of their arrest. If it were more than .18, the offender would lose their driving privileges for three years.
- North Dakota law classifies a fourth or subsequent DUI (within 15 years of the third) as a class C felony. It’s punishable by a year and a day in jail, a minimum $2,000 fine, and probation for at least two years.