In an effort to curb a growing drunk driving problem, North Dakota passed a new drunk driving law that toughens the consequences of DUI for both repeat and first-time offenders.
Set to take effect on August 1, the new DUI law increases the minimum fine amounts and jail time lengths for all DUI offenses while first-time offenders might face at least two days in jail or 10 hours of community service for every day they would have spent in jail if their blood alcohol content is 0.16 or higher. Currently, jail time is not required for first-time offenders.
The new law also makes North Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Program mandatory for all repeat drunk driving offenders. DUI offenders with two or more convictions will be required to submit to a breathalyzer test twice a day at their local police station. Failing a test results in immediate arrest.The North Dakota Attorney General’s office reports that 98 of participants successfully complete the program, making it highly effective in preventing DUI offenders from drinking and, thus, driving under the influence.
Drunk drivers will also no longer be allowed to refuse a chemical test when pulled over on suspicion of DUI. If they do refuse but are clearly intoxicated, drunk drivers will still be arrested and charged with DUI. Other provisions of North Dakota’s new DUI law include:
- Extending the amount of time that must pass before a subsequent offense is considered a first offense again from five years to seven years
- Creating a Class A felony charge for drunk drivers that cause the death of another person (punishable by a minimum of 3 years in prison for first-time DUI offenders or 10 years for repeat DUI offenders and a maximum of 20 years for all offenders)
- Creating a Class C felony charger for drunk drivers that cause serious injuries to another person (punishable by 1 year in prison for first-time DUI offenders and 2 years for repeat DUI offenders)
- Providing $360,000 to support and expand the state’s education outreach on the dangers of drinking and driving