Fargo Second DUI Defense Attorney
In North Dakota, it’s not much of a stretch to say having a second DUI within seven years is a case of “two strikes and you’re out.” The penalties are incredibly harsh, and the long-term consequences can be even worse. Not only are you looking at the possibility of a lengthy jail term and a significant fine, but you might also eventually find it hard to keep your job – or even find another one.
That’s why fighting your charge will be so important. The attorneys with Sand Law will be ready to provide the most aggressive defense we can on your behalf. Our team will closely examine all the circumstances surrounding your arrest and work to reduce your potential penalties. We’ve sometimes even helped our clients by convincing the court to throw out their cases entirely.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs in Fargo, North Dakota
Anyone caught driving a vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) level of .08% or higher will face a DUI charge. But impairment isn’t limited to driving under the influence of alcohol. There are several drugs that can lead to a DUI arrest as well, including the following:
- And many others
Understanding DUI Checkpoints in Fargo, North Dakota
DUI checkpoints, where law enforcement sets up stations to check drivers for impairment, can be a contentious issue. In Fargo, as in many places, these checkpoints are designed to deter drunk driving and catch offenders.
However, there are specific guidelines and rules that law enforcement must follow when conducting these checkpoints. If these rules aren’t adhered to, any arrests made at the checkpoint might be challenged in court. Being aware of your rights and the legality of these checkpoints can be crucial if you’re arrested at one.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in North Dakota?
Like many states, North Dakota uses a “look back” period to assess DUI penalties. The state looks back at your previous seven years when determining what penalties you face.
Suppose this is your second DUI, and your first was five years ago. Since that second arrest is within seven years, your penalties will be more severe than if there had been 10 years between arrests.
You’ll lose your license for one year if you’re 20 years or younger and have two DUIs within five years. It’s also important to note that the BAC threshold for younger drivers is much lower, and those 20 or younger can face a DUI charge with only a .02% BAC level.
Court-Ordered Alcohol or Substance Evaluation After a Second DUI
Everyone charged with a DUI must undergo an alcohol or substance evaluation. They must then follow whatever recommendations result from the evaluation. This could mean you’ll have to enroll in a 24/7 sobriety program. You could also have to participate in random drug testing or an alcohol monitoring program. You might be able to reduce your potential jail sentence if you agree to participate in inpatient rehabilitation. Your attorney can tell you if this will be an option in your case.
License Restrictions, Suspensions, & Revocations From a Second DUI
If your BAC was less than .18% at the time of your arrest, you’ll face a one-year loss of your driver’s license. If it was .18% or higher, you’ll lose your license for two years. In addition, you may need to agree to allow authorities to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle before you can get your license back. This device measures your BAC. If your level is too high, you won’t be able to start your car.
What are the Penalties for a Second DUI in Fargo, North Dakota?
North Dakota state law classifies a second DUI as a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by 10 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Other penalties include having to participate in the 24/7 sobriety program for 360 days, the loss of driving privileges for one year, and also having to undergo an addiction evaluation.
Additional Penalties Related to DUIs
There are so-called “aggravating circumstances” that could elevate a second DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony.
For example, if someone is impaired and causes an accident that results in a severe injury, that’s a class C felony. The penalties include a 2-5 year jail sentence and up to a $10,000 fine. If the accident results in a death, that’s a class A felony, punishable by 10-20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000. If a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the DUI offense, that’s also considered a class C felony.
The Broader Impacts of a Second DUI Conviction
Beyond the legal penalties, a second DUI conviction can have profound effects on one’s personal and professional life. Relationships might strain due to the stigma associated with multiple DUIs. Professionally, individuals might face job loss, especially if driving is a job requirement.
Future job prospects can also be limited, as many employers conduct background checks. Additionally, a second DUI can lead to increased insurance premiums and even challenges in securing housing. Understanding these broader consequences underscores the importance of seeking experienced legal representation.
Exploring Alternative Sentencing Options for Second DUI Offenders
While a second DUI carries severe penalties, some jurisdictions might offer alternative sentencing options. These can include alcohol education programs, community service, or even house arrest in lieu of jail time.
Additionally, some courts might consider rehabilitation programs as part of the sentencing, especially if the offender is struggling with alcohol addiction. Working with a knowledgeable attorney can help explore these alternatives, potentially leading to a more favorable outcome and a chance for the offender to address underlying issues.
Do You Have to Submit to a Breathalyzer or Chemical Test After Being Pulled Over for Suspected DUI?
North Dakota is an “implied consent” state, meaning you can’t refuse a breath or chemical test if pulled over for a DUI. If you have a driver’s license, in the eyes of the law, you’ve already consented to submit to a test. The penalty for refusal is a suspension of your license for two years.
What are Your Rights When Being Arrested?
It’s always important to realize you have rights as a U.S. citizen after being arrested for a second DUI. The most important is the right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer questions from a law enforcement officer without having an attorney by your side. You also have the right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure of your property or person.
Were Your Rights Violated Before or During Your Arrest?
There’s a chance the court could throw out your case if an officer violated your rights before, during, or after your arrest. There might not have been sufficient cause to pull you over, or the officer may have made mistakes when administering your field sobriety test. Someone could have mishandled the equipment used in your breathalyzer or blood test. There might not be enough evidence to convict you.
Should I Hire a Fargo Criminal Defense Lawyer for My DUI Charge?
Hiring a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible will be your best chance of having your case dismissed. Officers may have violated your rights, or other extenuating circumstances could invalidate the arrest. A skilled attorney will determine the best strategy to dismiss your case or reduce your penalties.