Penalties for Misdemeanors and Felonies in North Dakota - Sand Law North Dakota
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Penalties for Misdemeanors and Felonies in North Dakota

7th December 2022

One of the most important things to know if you’ve been arrested in North Dakota is not to take your charge lightly. Even something as seemingly “minor” as a misdemeanor charge could have a profound impact on your life. Obviously, if you’re looking at a felony charge, you should be extremely concerned. In fact, it would be understandable if you’re terrified. However, you should worry about both penalties for misdemeanors and felonies.

The stakes are going to be very high, regardless of what type of charge you’re facing. That’s why you’re going to need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Sand Law attorneys have that experience. We also have the skill it takes to work to possibly reduce whatever penalties you face – or perhaps even have the case dropped completely.

Learn more about what we may be able to do for you by calling 701-609-1510 or contacting us online.

The following is a look at some criminal offenses, as well as the potential penalties they carry.

Assault and Battery

If someone is charged with willfully injuring another person, that’s an example of assault. Simple assault, which leads to a relatively minor injury to the victim, is considered a Class B misdemeanor. This can result in a fine of up to $1,500 or up to 30 days in jail. Assault is a more serious offense, typically involving substantial injury or committed using a firearm or some other type of weapon. The penalties for this Class A misdemeanor include a $3,000 maximum fine and a maximum jail sentence of a year.

But if the person causes severe bodily injury that results in permanent damage to the victim, they could be charged with a Class C felony. This is punishable by a fine of as much as $10,000 and up to five years in prison.


This is where someone either sets fire to a property or causes an explosion in order to do damage. Most of the time, it will be assumed the reason for the arson is to collect insurance money. The typical arson crime is considered a Class C felony, with penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and as long as five years in prison. If someone’s life was put in danger due to the crime, that makes it a Class B felony, punishable by 10 years and prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.


Burglary, Theft, and Robbery

There’s a lot of confusion as to the differences between these three crimes. Burglary typically involves breaking into a property with the intent of stealing something. It’s usually considered a Class C felony ($5,000 fine/five years in jail), but if someone suffered harm during the act of committing the burglary, the charge could be bumped up to a Class B felony (10 years in prison/$20,000 fine)

Theft can have serious consequences as well. If the property taken is $1,000 or less, it’s considered a misdemeanor, with fines of anywhere from $1,500-$3,000 and jail time of between 30 days and a year in jail. If the property is valued at $1,001 or more, then it’s a felony. This can result in five to 20 years in jail and a fine of as much as $20,000.

Robbery is considered to be theft by force. It could be accompanied by actual violence or merely the threat of violence. If a firearm is fired during the commission of a robbery, that’s a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.


The State of North Dakota, like all other states, takes DUI very seriously. Even a first offense could result in a$750  fine and two days in jail. For four within seven years, the result is a $2,000 fine, a year in prison, and two years of probation. After four, the charge remains the same.

Drug Offenses

The range of drug charges, as well as the penalties, are very wide. So, we’ll focus here on the penalties for possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates, LSD, and others. A first offense will typically be viewed as a Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $3,000 and a year in jail. Any subsequent violations will be charged as a Class C felony (5-year jail term/$5,000 maximum fine). If someone is found guilty of possessing a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school building, they’ll be looking at a Class B felony (10 years in jail. $10,000 maximum fine).

The penalties for intent to distribute any kind of controlled substance or illegal drug will be harsh as well. An attorney can tell you more.


Financial crimes such as fraud can also carry very harsh penalties. One of the more common examples is bank fraud. This typically entails trying to defraud a bank in some way. Examples include writing a hot check or using a fake credit or debit card. Identity theft and investment schemes are considered fraud as well. Fraud is a federal offense, potentially resulting in 30 years in prison and a fine of as much as $1 million.

Money Laundering

This basically means trying to hide the source of money. If that money was made through something illegal, such as selling drugs, that could also result in a charge of tax evasion. Insurance fraud can also be considered money laundering since criminals will often fraudulently collect money from a policy and then combine it with funds obtained legitimately.

Money laundering is also a federal crime, punishable by a prison sentence of up to 20 years. It can also result in a fine of as much as $500,000 or two times the amount being laundered, whichever is larger.

Contact Sand Law to Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

As you can see, you should never take any sort of charge lightly. Talk to a Sand Law attorney immediately so we can get to work protecting your rights. You can contact us online or call 701-609-1510.