North Dakota Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a first, second, and third DUI conviction in North Dakota.

You can get a DUI (driving under the influence) in North Dakota for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:

  • with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater (.04% or more when operating a commercial vehicle), or
  • while "under the influence" of any controlled substance, alcohol, or combination of the two.

A motorist is considered to be "under the influence" if, as a result of ingesting drugs or alcohol, he or she is rendered incapable of safely driving.

North Dakota DUI Penalties

When a person is convicted of a DUI, the judge will decide the jail time and fine amount—within the ranges provided by law—based on the number of prior offenses the person has had within the last seven years. Prior DUI offenses that occurred in North Dakota as well as out of state are counted.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense


Up to 30 days (minimum 2 days if .16 BAC)

10 to 30 days

120 to 360 days


$500 to $1,500 (minimum $750 if .16 BAC)


$2,000 to $3,000

Aggravating Circumstances

A number of circumstances can elevate a DUI—which is normally a misdemeanor—to a felony, thereby increasing the possible penalties.

Injury accidents. A DUI incident that results in serious bodily harm to another person is a class C felony. A conviction carries one to five years in prison (minimum two years if the driver has prior DUIs) and up to $10,000 in fines.

Fatal accidents. A DUI that involves a fatality is a class A felony. The convicted motorist is looking at three to 20 years in prison (minimum ten years if the driver has prior DUIs) and up to $20,000 in fines.

Minor passengers. A DUI offender who is at least 21 years old and has a minor passenger in the vehicle can be convicted of a class C felony. A class C felony carries a maximum five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Substance Abuse Treatment

All DUI offenders must complete a substance treatment evaluation and follow the resulting recommendations. Depending on the circumstances, recommended treatment might include the 24/7 sobriety program, which may include alcohol monitoring, random testing, and drug patch testing. Time served at inpatient rehabilitation can be counted towards the minimum jail term for a DUI conviction.

Drug Court

North Dakota also has an intensive drug court program. While participants typically must undergo more comprehensive substance abuse treatment than other offenders, successful completion of drug court can significantly mitigate the negative consequences of a DUI conviction.

Driver's License Penalties

North Dakota's "implied consent" law requires all drivers who are lawfully arrested for a DUI to agree to chemical testing of the blood, breath, saliva, or urine. The purpose of the testing is, of course, to determine whether the driver has alcohol or drugs in his or her system. Drivers face license-related consequences for a failed test or refusing to take a test. A failed test is a BAC at or above .02% for drivers who are under 21 years of age, .04% for commercial drivers, and .08% for all other drivers.

For a failed test or test refusal, the driver will be facing the following suspension or revocation periods.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Test failure

91 days

365 days

2 years

Test failure with at least .18% BAC

180 days

2 years

3 years

Test Refusal

180 days

2 years

3 years

DUI offenders who are willing to install an ignition interlock device (IID) can continue to drive during a DUI suspension. To be eligible, the driver must serve a minimum 14 days of the suspension period (30 days in some circumstances) and may be required to enroll in the 24/7 sobriety program.

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