11th July 2017 | Sand Law, PLLC
If you or someone you know is currently charged with a DUI/DWI offense in North Dakota, you may feel overwhelmed by the situation. DUI/DWI charges carry harsh penalties throughout the U.S., many of which are life-changing results for the offending party.
Finding a criminal defense attorney with experience in DUI/DWI cases is crucial, and for the best result, finding a firm with attorneys that specialize in that particular field is a huge boon to the defense you will undoubtedly need.
DUI/DWI Laws In North Dakota
North Dakota is in line with the national average of about 40 percent of automobile-related deaths including alcohol as a factor for one or more parties involved. This means the justice system is particularly invested in providing stiff penalties for those involved in these accidents.
The state standards for blood alcohol level are .08%. This number has nothing to do with how you might feel behind the wheel. It is an isolated measure of alcohol in your blood that correlates to your weight and comes from aggregated data on the point at which most people are unsafe drivers.
That means that not everybody who passes that hard limit thinks they had too much to drink, especially those attuned to drinking larger amounts of alcohol fairly regularly. Legally, the distinction does not matter.
In North Dakota, obtaining a license counts as implied consent to have your blood alcohol level tested on demand by police. This can be either a breathalyzer, or an actual blood test, at the discretion of law enforcement.
While you can refuse the test, under North Dakota law that automatically leads to your license being revoked for a year the first time you decline. The second time in a 5 year span, you will receive a 3 year suspension. And for a third test decline, a four-year suspension.
Blood/Alcohol Levels and Associated Penalties
North Dakota has a tiered system of minimum penalties for blood alcohol levels. For a first offense, there is a minimum fine of $500 for driving under the influence, regardless of blood/alcohol level.
There are special automatic penalties for blood/alcohol levels that lie in the .08-.17% range. Your license will be suspended for 91 days, with the ability to petition for limited driving privileges after 30 days.
If your first offense is paired with a blood/alcohol level over .17%, this is considered definitive negligence and carries an extra automatic penalty: a minimum 180 day suspension of your driver’s license.
Repeated offenses add larger penalties, with a fourth offense requiring a mandatory minimum of 1 year in prison, counting as a class C felony, paired with a fine.
For any of these offenses, points are added to your state driving record, and auto insurance costs are guaranteed to rise.
Always Seek the Best Defense
For those accused of DUI/DWI offenses, the court is generally stacked against them. The large number of deaths resulting from similar cases mean clients without a solid defense prepared will likely receive heavy penalties, not necessarily the minimums mentioned above.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI/DWI offense, seek specialized representation as soon as possible. Your defense attorney will advise you on everything you can do to help your cause before setting foot in the courtroom, as well as examine all available evidence to find anything to leverage on your behalf.
With license suspension essentially the minimum for most DUI/DWI offenses, solid representation is your best chance at successfully petitioning for limited driving privileges after 30 days of your suspension window. While this is still not ideal, it is far better than a complete suspension and a hard case to make without professional legal advisement.
Don’t hesitate to mount the best defense, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case. Servicing Watford City, Williston, Minot, and Bismark, Sand Law is the best choice for clients in need of a DUI/DWI defense. Contact us for a free consultation today.