In 2018, North Dakota began an aggressive DUI enforcement campaign as part of its Vision Zero plan.
North Dakota stepped up sobriety checkpoints and patrols as part of this plan. The state also started a high-visibility enforcement operation.
Because of these initiatives, 23.1% of all arrests in North Dakota are DUI or liquor law-related.
North Dakota does not take DUI lightly. Therefore, if you face DUI charges, you should consult with an attorney. An experienced Fargo DUI lawyer can represent you through all components of your case.
At the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka, we are seasoned Fargo DUI lawyers.
Our firm is known for aggressively representing and protecting our clients’ rights and liberties.
If you would like to speak to our Fargo criminal defense lawyer, contact us today.
How Does a DUI Case Begin?
Your DUI case begins well before the police ask you to submit to a breath test. To arrest you for DUI, a police officer must have probable cause.
Under North Dakota law, probable cause for DUI is a two-part test:
- First, the officer must observe signs that you are impaired (mental or physical);and
- Second, the officer must have reason to believe that alcohol caused your impairment.
There is no definitive test for probable cause. Instead, the police build probable cause on the totality of the circumstances.
Thus, an arrest may be unlawful if the police did not have probable cause. A Fargo DUI lawyer can evaluate your case and determine if the police unlawfully arrested you.
What Are the Components of DUI Case?
In North Dakota, DUI has two components—administrative and criminal. The administrative component of DUI relates to your privilege to drive.
Why Is the Administrative Component Important?
The administrative component of the DUI charge is critical because you have only ten days to request a hearing. If you fail to request a hearing within ten days, you may lose your right to drive.
A Fargo DUI lawyer can guide you through the process of requesting an administrative hearing for driver’s license suspension.
Timely requesting a hearing will allow you to present evidence and offer witness testimony. Moreover, requesting a hearing may preserve your right to appeal a suspension.
The length of a driver’s license suspension will depend on:
- Your criminal history (previous DUIs),
- Your BAC, and
- If you refused the breath test.
A license suspension can range from 91 days to 3 years.
What Is the Criminal Component?
The criminal component touches on incarceration and fines. The criminal component is essential as each subsequent DUI conviction carries lengthier punishments and license suspensions.
In North Dakota, the state can charge you with a crime if you:
- Operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater;
- Refuse a breath test or other chemical test;
- Are under the influence of alcohol as observed by police; or
- Are under the influence of substances that make you incapable of driving safely.
DUI charges can range from a class B misdemeanor to a Class C felony. The degree of charges depends on the level of intoxication and your criminal history.
A first offense DUI is a class B misdemeanor. The punishment for a first offense DUI is a $500 fine and a mandatory substance abuse evaluation.
However, the statute elevates the punishment to a $750 fine and two days in jail if you have a BAC of .16 or greater.
The punishment may seem light. However, a first-offense DUI will trigger harsher penalties if you have subsequent DUI convictions.
Thus, it is essential to consult with a DUI lawyer in Fargo—even for a first-offense DUI.
Second Offense in Seven Years
A second-offense DUI conviction within seven years of the first is a class B misdemeanor. The punishment for a second offense is a $1,500 fine and ten days in jail.
The court will also order an addiction evaluation and require 360 days of substance abuse treatment.
Third Offense in Seven Years
A third DUI conviction within seven years is a class A misdemeanor. The court will sentence you to 120 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
You will also face 360 days of supervised probation and substance abuse treatment.
Subsequent Offense Within 15 Years
Fourth and subsequent convictions are a class C felony. A court will sentence you to 366 days in prison and a $2,000 fine if convicted.
The court will also order two years of supervised probation and substance abuse treatment.
Do You Need a Fargo DUI Lawyer?
Do not take DUI charges lightly. If convicted, you can face hefty fines and jail time. Also, you may lose your driver’s license, which is critical in the Fargo Morehead area.
At the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka, we are experienced Fargo DUI lawyers.
We have decades of experience representing North Dakota and Minnesota clients accused of DUI. We are known for winning tough cases while being accessible to our clients.
Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential consultation.