Possible Criminal Penalties for Causing a Drunk Driving Crash

A careless night out on the town can cost a lot more than just the bar tab. The consequences of a DUI conviction vary based on the circumstances – including whether a crash occurred or the severity of the crash. Regardless of how destructive the collision was, expect to face serious criminal charges. This applies no matter where you live, but here in Fargo and throughout North Dakota, there are distinct tiers of DUI penalties. Read on to learn more about them and, if you are charged with DUI, contact a Fargo criminal defense attorney right away.

Standard DUI Penalties

In North Dakota, a motorist is considered “under the influence” if they have a blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater (.04 if driving a commercial vehicle) or are otherwise found to be impaired. If you cause a drunk driving crash but physically hurt no one else, then you will be subjected to levels of standard penalties that rise with every offense. The tiers of standard punishments are as follows:

  • First Offense within 7 years: Up to 30 days of jail time with a $500 fine and 91-180-day license suspension
  • Second Offense within 7 years: 10 to 30 days of imprisonment, $1500 fine, 1 to 2-year license suspension
  • Third Offense within 7 years: 120 days of imprisonment, $2000 fine, 2 to 3-year suspension
  • Fourth and Subsequent Offenses within 15 years: One year of imprisonment, $2000 fine, and two-year supervised probation

All of these offense tiers mandate attendance at an alcohol program, and the final tier is the only one that escalates the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. However, a number of variables could escalate even a first offense into facing much harsher punishment.

Aggravating Circumstances

Obviously, any collision that results in serious bodily harm to another person will elevate your DUI offense. In North Dakota, a crash that results in injury is a Class C felony offense that carries up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the collision results in the death of another person, then that is a Class A felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Even if the collision doesn’t kill or injure anyone, the DUI offender can still face a Class C felony with the same penalties of an injuring crash if an underaged minor passenger is present in their vehicle.

Facing a DUI? Call a Fargo Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know is facing a DUI charge, count on our legal team for proper guidance and defense representation. Email our Fargo DUI attorney Tatum O’Brien or give the O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys team a call at 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 toll-free.

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