New DUI law highlights

  • First offense: Class B misdemeanor, $500 fine and $250 in fees. Driver's license suspension is between 91-180 days; can receive a work permit after 30 days.
  • Second offense: Class B misdemeanor and $1,500 fine, $325 in fees, 10 days in jail and one-year participation in the 24/7 Sobriety Program. Driver's license is suspended for half a year but a restricted license can be permitted if compliant with sobriety program.
  • Third offense: Class A misdemeanor, maximum $2,000 fine, $325 fees and one-year supervised probation and participation in 24/7 Sobriety Program. Also, 120 days in jail; 60 days can be suspended upon successful completion of supervised probation. With a third and subsequent offense, the driver's license is suspended for three years. A restricted license can be permitted if complaint with the sobriety program.
  • Fourth and subsequent offenses: Class C felony, $2,000 fine, $500 fees, two years supervised probation and participation in 24/7 Sobriety Program. Also, one year and one day in prison.
  • All offenses result in mandatory addiction evaluation.

Newly-created policy changes to DUI law

  • Aggravated DUI for first offense if blood-alcohol content is above 0.16: Results in $750 fine and automatic two days in jail.
  • Adds a vehicular homicide provision in North Dakota law. A first offense is a felony with a three-year mandatory minimum sentence. A 10-year mandatory minimum sentence is in place for a second offense.
  • A person convicted of DUI who causes an injury will be charged with a Class C felony and face one year in jail on the first offense; two years for a second offense.
  • A person convicted of DUI with a minor in the vehicle will be charged with a Class C felony on the second such offense.
  • Nurses who draw blood for a DUI using the approved method can fill out a form allowing an officer to testify in court on their behalf. The form documents that the proper procedure was used and is intended to keep nurses from having to testify at every DUI trial involving a blood test.
  • Officers can immediately arrest for probable cause violators enrolled in the 24/7 Sobriety Program.
  • Gives a $360,000 grant to the North Dakota Department of Human Services for funding an underage drinking prevention program.
  • Brings state law into compliance with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on law enforcement's ability to compel a blood test without a warrant.

New laws for refusal to submit to chemical testing

  • Refusal to submit to chemical testing is now treated like a DUI under criminal law.
  • Driver's license suspension is 180 days on first offense, two years on the second offense and three years with third and subsequent offenses.

How the old laws compare

  • First offense: Class B misdemeanor, $250 fine, $250 fees and mandatory addiction evaluation. Driver's license suspension was between 91-180 days; could receive a work permit after 30 days.
  • Second offense: Class B misdemeanor, $500, $250 fees, five days in jail and an addiction evaluation. Driver's license suspension was for half a year with no work permit. In a second and subsequent offense, the 24/7 Sobriety Program was used mainly as a condition of pretrial release.
  • Third offense: Class A misdemeanor, $1,000 fine, $325 fees, 60 days in jail, addiction evaluation and a three-year driver's license suspension with no work permit.
  • Fourth offense: Class A misdemeanor, $1,000 fine, $325 fees, 180 days in jail, addiction evaluation and a three-year driver's license suspension with no work permit.

Old laws for refusal to submit to chemical testing

  • Not a crime but was still charged as a DUI.
  • First offense: One-year driver's license suspension with no work permit. Offenders could address the refusal by pleading guilty to DUI within 25 days.
  • Second offense: Three-year driver's license suspension with no work permit. No option to address refusal through a guilty plea.
  • Third offense: Four-year driver's license suspension with no work permit. No option to address refusal through a guilty plea.

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.