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Is a North Dakota DUI charge a felony or a misdemeanor?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | DUI

Someone accused of driving under the influence (DUI) charge in North Dakota might jump to the conclusion that pleading guilty is the best response. A surprising percentage of DUI defendants do not even attempt to push back against the charges they face. 

Someone who questions the accuracy of the chemical breath test or the legality of a traffic stop may have options for defending themselves. When people understand how serious DUI charges can be, they may feel more inclined to take their case to trial. 

Will a North Dakota DUI charge be a misdemeanor or a felony? 

Felony charges are sometimes possible

A standard DUI charge involves someone under the influence who didn’t necessarily cause direct harm to others. Someone facing a first-time DUI charge with no aggravating factors will likely face misdemeanor charges. The same is true for second and third DUI offenses. 

However, a fourth or subsequent DUI could trigger a felony charge. There are a few other scenarios in which someone could face felony criminal charges over drunk driving allegations. 

If the accused driver is at least 21 years old and has an underage passenger in their vehicle, the state can charge them with a Class C felony. If someone who is over the legal limit for alcohol in their bloodstream causes a crash that injures someone or causes a death, the state can bring felony charges in that case as well. 

Both felony and misdemeanor DUI charges can lead to incarceration, fines, and driver’s license penalties. Learning more about this state’s DUI laws may help people better respond to criminal allegations.