25th September 2023
If an officer has arrested you for suspicion of DUI in Fargo, North Dakota, you’ve probably been through a terrifying experience. Knowing that it happens to thousands of people across our state every year doesn’t make you feel any better. You’re scared of what might happen next and its impact on your life.
A Sand Law attorney can work to help ease your stress. While we can never make any promises, we can guarantee that we’ll try to either reduce your penalties or have your charges dismissed. We have a lot of experience in this area of the law and a long track record of helping clients in your exact situation.
What to Expect When You’re Pulled Over for Suspected DUI in Fargo, North Dakota
If you’re pulled over and charged with DUI, law enforcement officers will likely conduct various tests to determine your level of impairment. These tests may include field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn test or the one-leg stand test, as well as a preliminary breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
It’s important to note that you have the right to refuse these tests. However, doing so may result in consequences such as the suspension of your driver’s license.
Like many other jurisdictions, Fargo also conducts DUI checkpoints, where law enforcement officers stop vehicles at predetermined locations to check for signs of impaired driving. You must provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance at a checkpoint. However, you don’t have to answer any questions. You have the right to remain silent.
What to Expect if You’re Arrested
After a DUI arrest, the officer will likely take you into custody and transport you to the local police station or county jail for processing. After your arrest, you may need someone to bail you out of jail unless the officer releases you on your own recognizance.
Bail guarantees that you will appear in court for your scheduled proceedings. The amount of bail will vary depending on the circumstances of your arrest and prior criminal record, if any.
Upon arrest, you have certain rights that must be upheld. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, and the right to be informed of the charges against you. It’s crucial to exercise these rights and avoid making any self-incriminating statements. In fact, you should avoid making any statements until you have an attorney by your side.
What Happens Before My Trial?
Before your trial, there will be several essential steps in the DUI process. You’ll need to attend an arraignment, where you will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Please consult with an experienced DUI attorney before entering a plea. Your attorney can provide guidance on the best course of action based on the specifics of your case.
Following the arraignment, there will be a pretrial conference where your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to reach a plea agreement. This conference may involve discussions about potential reduced charges or sentencing recommendations. If your lawyer and the prosecutor agree, they may resolve your case without going to trial. If no agreement is reached, the case will go to court.
What to Expect If Your Case Goes to Trial
If your DUI case goes to trial, the prosecution will present evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This evidence may include the results of field sobriety tests, the preliminary breathalyzer test, and any other relevant evidence collected during the arrest.
Your attorney will be able to challenge the prosecution’s evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and present your defense. During the trial, a judge or a jury will determine your guilt or innocence. If the court finds you guilty, the case will proceed to sentencing.
Sentencing and Fines for DUI in Fargo, North Dakota
The sentencing for a DUI in Fargo, North Dakota, will depend on several factors. These include your prior DUI history, your BAC level at the time of the arrest, and any aggravating circumstances. Possible penalties for a DUI conviction can include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs, probation, community service, and even imprisonment.
North Dakota follows a tiered penalty system, where the severity of the penalties increases with higher BAC levels. For example, a first-time offender with a BAC below .16 may face a Class B misdemeanor charge and a $500 fine. If your BAC were .16 or higher, you’d face two days in jail, a $750 fine, and a 91-day license suspension.
The penalties can be more severe for repeat offenses or higher BAC levels.
- Second DUI – 10 days in jail and a maximum $1,500 fine
- Third DUI – 120 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine
- Fourth and subsequent DUIs – 366 days in jail and a minimum $2,000 fine
Other factors will determine the penalties you face. For example, if you caused an accident while impaired that led to a severe injury or fatality, you’ll have to spend much more time in jail. Your fine will also be much higher. An attorney can tell you precisely what your penalties may be.
Implications of DUI for Commercial Drivers
Commercial drivers in Fargo, North Dakota, face stricter standards when it comes to DUI offenses. Holding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) means that the allowable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is typically lower than for non-commercial drivers.
A DUI conviction can lead to the suspension or revocation of the CDL, jeopardizing the driver’s livelihood. Additionally, commercial drivers might be required to notify their employer of the arrest, even before a conviction. It’s crucial for CDL holders to consult with an attorney familiar with commercial driving regulations after a DUI arrest.
DUI Charges for Out-of-State Drivers in Fargo
If you’re an out-of-state driver arrested for DUI in Fargo, North Dakota, the consequences can be complex. While the immediate legal proceedings will occur in North Dakota, your home state might also take action against your driver’s license.
The Interstate Driver’s License Compact ensures that member states share information about traffic violations, including DUIs. It’s essential to consult with an attorney who understands the nuances of handling DUI charges for out-of-state drivers to navigate both the immediate and long-term implications.
DUI Convictions and Insurance Impacts
A DUI conviction in Fargo, North Dakota, can have a significant impact on your auto insurance. Many insurance companies increase premiums for drivers with DUI convictions, given the perceived higher risk.
In some cases, the insurer might choose to drop the policy altogether. It’s essential to understand these potential consequences and explore options like SR-22 insurance, which is a form that proves you have the minimum required insurance after certain traffic violations, including DUI.
How Can an Experienced DUI Attorney Help You?
Navigating a DUI case can be complex and overwhelming. An experienced DUI attorney can provide valuable assistance throughout the legal process. They can review the evidence against you, identify any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances. They’ll advocate for your rights, challenge the admissibility of evidence, and cross-examine witnesses during the trial if necessary.
Sand Law attorneys have a deep understanding of North Dakota’s DUI laws. We’ll use that knowledge and our experience in the Fargo court system to your advantage. You’ll receive the guidance and support needed to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.