First Offense DUI Penalties in North Dakota

A first-time DUI charge can have serious consequences in North Dakota. The criminal penalties and requirements are laid out in North Dakota Century Code Section 39-08-01. The DUI process can be traumatic and confusing. This is a complicated area of the law, especially because your driving and criminal records are at stake. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to preserve your rights.

1) Driving Privilege Suspension or Revocation

-You may face a 91 day suspension if your blood alcohol concentration is between .08 and .179.

-The suspension period is increased to 180 days if your BAC is .18 or higher.

-If you refuse an field sobriety tests or a breath or blood test, you will be subject to a 180 day revocation period. This is harsher on your drivers license than a simple suspension. The difference between a suspension and revocation is this — if you are revoked, you must surrender your license, and will not be eligible for a normal work permit. Instead, you will have to retake your drive and written test. You will also need to enroll in the 24/7 sobriety testing program for at least six months.

-You may be eligible for a work permit if you have a North Dakota license, pay a reinstatement fee, obtain an alcohol evaluation, and undergo 30 days of suspension. This is a great option to get back on the road legally. Contact an experienced DUI lawyer such as the Chapman Law Office in Williston.

-NOTE: Many employers will terminate a person for having a suspended or revoked license. Your livelihood and career may be at stake after being arrested for DUI. You need to request an administrative hearing through the DOT within 10 days of being arrested. In the case of a blood draw test, you normally have 10 days from the date the Report and Notice is issued. This is very time sensitive however so you should seek legal advice immediately. If there is any possibility of you being penalized or fired from work, you should contact the Chapman Law Office for a free consultation about your legal defense options.

2) Imprisonment

-Driving Under the Influence is a B misdemeanor in North Dakota. The jail sentence can range between 0 and 30 days. If your BAC was above .16, then the court must impose a two-day mandatory minimum if you are convicted of DUI. An experienced and knowledgeable DUI defense attorney can often have all of the jail time suspended. A reckless driving may be a strong possibility to a DUI, depending on the circumstances of your case.

3) Fines

-North Dakota requires a minimum fine of $500 for a first time DUI conviction. If your BAC was .16 or higher, then you will be subject to a minimum fine of $750 instead. The maximum fine is $1,500 for a B misdemeanor DUI first time offense. The court also usually imposes $250 in court costs. At the Chapman Law Office, we often secure low fines and fees for our Williston clients — often the minimum amounts.

4) Alcohol Evaluation & Treatment

-If you are convicted of a first time DUI offense, the court requires an alcohol evaluation. The evaluation itself may only require one or two hours of your time. However, to get your license reinstated, you will likely have to complete alcohol treatment. The amount of treatment varies, but it is an average of 12-14 hours in our experience. If you decide to complete your alcohol treatment in a state other than North Dakota, however, that time commitment may be higher.

5) Get the Defense You Deserve — Contact Chapman Law Office.

-A DUI can have serious consequences for your employment and freedom. There are additional penalties and DUI requirements beyond the ones mentioned in this article.

-You can reach an attorney at the Chapman Law office at 701-572-3966. Please also feel free to contact us through You can email Kevin Chapman directly at