To avoid an DUI in North Dakota, you should know at least these five things.
I. DUI in North Dakota
IV. Field Sobriety Tests
V. Avoid Arrest
I. DUI in North Dakota
It’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Legally, that’s driving under the influence or DUI.
For those under 21, including adults 18 through 20, DUI is driving with a BAC of 0.02% or more. This is zero tolerance, although the young driver need not have a BAC of 0.00%. It can be over zero percent and still be legal.
That’s for several reasons. First, “breathalyzers” or alcohol breath testers are unreliabile. They don’t really measure BAC. (That requires alalysis of a sample of actual blood.) They only estimate it. That’s why not all states permit their use.
North Dakota reduces the chances of convicting innocent young drivers by permitting BACs under 0.02%.
These are the penalties for DUI in North Dakota.
For a first offense in seven years, it’s a license revocation for 91 days. A second offense in that period increases the license revocation to 365 days. For a third conviction in seven years, the revocation is doubled to two years.
The penalties are much higher for a DUI with a BAC of 0.18% or more. For a first such conviction in seven years, the license revocation is for 180 days. A second offense during that period triggers a revocation for two years. And a third conviction in seven years leads to a three-year license suspension.
III. The Costs
The cost of a legal DUI defense is very hard to estimate. That’s because the complexity of cases varies widely. And more complex cases take more of a lawyer’s time. That means more money.
It’s wise to select an experienced lawyer who specializes in DUI defense. The knowledge and experience of such a lawyer is invaluable. In fact, such a lawyer may take less time.
Clearly, simply asking lawyers how much they charge per hour isn’t helpful. It’s like asking a grocer how much groceries cost.
There are a number of other costs. They may include fines, court costs, property damage, medical expenses, possible loss of employment, increased insurance rates, and other expenses. The total can be high. It can easily be more than lawyer fees and expenses. Therefore, the total cost of an DUI can easily be tens of thousands of dollars.
In addition, there are non-financial costs as well. They may include pain and suffering, feelings of guilt, embarrassment, driving license suspension, loss of friendships, and many others.
Knowing the high costs DUIs is helpful. It’s a great motivation. That can help us try to avoid them.
IV. Field Sobriety Tests
All states require drivers to submit to alcohol breath tests (estimators). That, in spite of their unreliability. However, no state requires drivers to take a field sobriety test.
Simply put, field sobriety tests lack validity. That’s why about one-third of completely sober people with a 0.00% BAC fail them. And they do so under ideal conditions.
Naturally, taking a field sobriety test on an uneven highway shoulder after being pulled over by police and being very nervous is far from ideal. So the “real world” failure rate for completely sober people must be much higher.
Understandably, lawyers strongly urge drivers never to submit to any field sobriety test. On the other hand, police want suspects to take them. They often falsely insist the law requires it. It doesn’t. Or they say that passing it proves you’re innocent. It doesn’t.
An officer who pulls over a driver for suspected drinking and driving is conducting a criminal investigation. The officer may legally lie to you. Remember that if you are a suspect in a crime, the police officer is your adversary.
V. Avoid Arrest
Obviously, a sure way to avoid a DUI is by abstaining from alcohol. Another choice is to use a Designated Driver or use public transportation.
Most drivers enjoy drinking alcohol, at least on occasion. They may lack a Designated Driver or access to public transportation. And they may be unable to afford Uber or Lynks.
So how can drivers drink before driving, yet avoid arrest? The answer is simple and legal, except for drivers under 21. Maintain a low BAC.
These guidelines can help keep a low BAC.
Remember that standard drinks of beer, wine and spirits have the same amount of pure alcohol.
- Have no more than one standard drink each hour. Preferably less.
- Avoid non-standard drinks. This makes it easier to keep track of alcohol intake.
- Eat and snack while drinking. This is very important!
- Have a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones.
- Accept an alcoholic drink only when it fits your consumption schedule.
- Never engage in any drinking game.
Arrested for DUI in North Dakota?
This website strongly opposes impaired driving. But it also supports the U.S. Constitution and the rights it grants both the innocent and the guilty.
If you are ever arrested for DUI in North Dakota, contact a lawyer immediately. The lawyer should be one who specializes in drinking and driving defense. Better yet is one whose practice is limited to that specialty.
The State Bar (lawyer) Association of North Dakota offers a lawyer referal service for $30. (Most state bar associations provide this service at no charge.) But there’s another option. Martindale-Hubbell offers a free on-line service that identifies lawyers by specialty and geographic area as well as both peer and client evaluations.
Don’t rely on this or any other site for legal information.
VI. Resources: DUI in North Dakota
Brezina, C. I’ve Gotten a DWI/DUI, Now What? NY: Rosen, 2016.
CDC. Teen Drinking and Driving. Atlanta: 2012. (website)
___. Impaired Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)
Gillespie, L. Police Encounters. Know Your Rights. Gillespie, 2014.
Hudson, T. The Drinker’s Guide to Driving: The Secrets of DUI, From One of America’s Top DUI Lawyers. Cork: BookBaby, 2013.
Keech, C. & Fairchild, C. So Dude, What are My Rights? Kansas City, MO: Keechild, 2014.
Lauterjung, L. DUI law for Drivers. How to Avoid DUI Arrests and How to Handle a DUI Stop. Lauterjung, 2012.
Nevels, T. Avoid DWI and Marijuana Charges. Cork: BookBaby, 2015.
NHTSA. Drunk Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)
Sagsletter, R. Rights During a Police Stop / DUI in the United States. What Officers Can and Cannot Do. Denver, CO: Outskirts, 2012.