How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive in North Dakota 2023?

Drink and drive laws in North Dakota

A driver in North Dakota with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% (80 ml of alcohol/100 ml of blood) or higher should not drive. Exceeding the 0.08% BAC limit will result in a DUI (driving under the influence) charge.

Commercial drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.04% or higher can be arrested for DUI. Drivers under the age of 21 cannot drive with a BAC of 0.02% or higher.

One to two standard alcoholic drinks are usually enough to meet or exceed the BAC limit of 0.08%. However, because BAC varies depending on several factors, such as weight and gender, this figure should only be used as a general guideline.

This article aims to raise awareness about North Dakota’s drunk driving laws. This website does not advocate driving while intoxicated in any state or region.

According to NHTSA 2020 statistics, 35% of traffic fatalities in North Dakota involve drivers with BAC levels of 0.08% or higher.

The government of North Dakota implements DUI laws to prevent drunk driving incidents in the state.

Impaired driving should be avoided as much as possible. If you cannot avoid driving after drinking, you may take a cab, Uber, or hire a designated driver service as an alternative.

If you intend to drive after having consumed alcohol, you should have your blood alcohol level checked before taking the wheel. A breathalyzer can ensure that your BAC is within the legal limits in North Dakota.

We advise visiting North Dakota’s official website for the most recent details on DUI driving laws and regulations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in North Dakota

Alcohol can make you reckless by slowing your reaction time, obstructing your vision, changing how you perceive distance and speed, and slowing your reaction time.

These things may occur even if you don’t appear to be or feel drunk. Indications of alcohol consumption can emerge as soon as you take your first drink.

During 30 to 2 hours, alcohol gets into your system. You might notice a slowing in your breathing and trouble thinking clearly.

Despite the state’s legal BAC limit being 0.08%, remember that every person’s body reacts to alcohol differently.

The following factors could have an impact on your blood alcohol content:

  • weight,
  • gender,
  • levels of anxiety and fatigue
  • level of alcohol consumption,
  • an empty stomach, and
  • taking prescribed medication.

Some people may faint after consuming a few bottles or glasses of alcohol. Even though some may initially seem normal, they can already be unable to drive. So, it’s crucial to know your BAC before you drive.

You can determine how much alcohol you can consume before driving using a BAC calculator and chart. Because everyone responds to alcohol differently, these tools might not be helpful for everyone.

Using a certified alcohol breathalyzer is the most accurate way to calculate your BAC.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in North Dakota

The degree of alcohol impairment depends on a person’s blood alcohol content. A BAC of 0.010% to 0.029% might not cause obvious impairment. People with this level of BAC typically appear to be normal. Yet, the signs of alcohol-related impairment become more evident as BAC levels rise.

The laws governing DUI vary from state to state. Before driving, check your blood alcohol content to avoid repercussions.

Legal and financial consequences might result from a DUI conviction. The DUI punishments in North Dakota are listed here for your reference.

DUI Penalties in ND

The potential prison sentence and fines for a DUI conviction are determined by the number of prior DUI offenses committed by the driver within the previous seven years.

DUI convictions from more than seven years ago are generally not counted. Prior DUI convictions, though, are counted, even if they happened outside of North Dakota within the last seven years.

Offense Jail Time Fines License Suspension
First Offense

(Class B Misdemeanor)

Two (2) days mandatory imprisonment if BAC is 0.16% or higher $500; $750 if BAC is 0.16% or higher 91-day suspension if below 0.18% BAC;18-day suspension if  BAC is 0.18% or greater
Second Offense Within Seven Years

(Class B Misdemeanor)

At least ten (10) days of imprisonment $500 365 days of license suspension if below  0.18% BAC

; Two years if 0.18% BAC or greater

Third Offense Within Seven Years

(Class A Misdemeanor)

120 days of imprisonment $2,000 Two (2) years license suspension for below 0.18% BAC level;

 Three (3) years if  0.18% BAC or higher

Fourth and Subsequent Offense Within 15 Years

(Class C Felony)

One year and one day in jail $2,000 Probation for two years under supervision

Other Penalties

  • A DUI offender with a minor in the vehicle can be imprisoned for up to a year and/or fined $2,000.
  • Refusal to undergo a chemical test as the law mandates may be considered a crime and your driving privileges may be revoked for 180 days to three years.
  • Criminal vehicular injury carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
  • Criminal vehicular homicide carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Addiction Evaluation

All DUI offenders in North Dakota must complete an evaluation of an addiction treatment program and adhere to the recommended treatments.

Depending on the recommendations, the 24/7 sobriety program may include the following processes:

  • alcohol monitoring
  • random testing, and
  • drug patch testing.

Drug Court Program

In North Dakota, drug court usually requires additional treatment but has the potential to reduce the penalties for a DUI conviction.

Completing the drug court program can also result in dismissing and sealing a misdemeanor DUI conviction. It may also reduce a felony DUI to a misdemeanor DUI for criminal record purposes.

Additional Penalties for Felony DUI

Serious Injuries A DUI that causes serious bodily harm is a class C felony punishable with one to five years in prison.

If the offender has prior DUIs, the fine can go up to $10,000 and mandatory two years imprisonment. 

Fatalities DUI resulting in a fatality is a class A felony punishable by three to twenty years in prison. Ten years minimum in prison if the offender has prior DUIs and up to $20,000 in fines.
Transporting Underage Passengers A class C felony can be imposed on an over-21 impaired driver transporting a minor.

A conviction carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

When Can You Drink and Drive in North Dakota?

Blood alcohol content might vary depending on a person’s gender and other circumstances. Men and women have different BAC levels, according to research.

Men have much higher levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) than women. The ADH enzymes regulate the metabolism of alcohol. Men process alcohol faster than women because of this.

The details provided below may be helpful if you’re wondering how much alcohol you can consume before driving in North Dakota.

Although studies support the data below, you should know that it might not be useful or suitable for everyone.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in North Dakota?

Drink beer and drive in North Dakota

A lighter person may have a higher BAC, per BAC charts.

A 12-ounce (350 ml) beer can result in a BAC of 0.02% for a male weighing 180 pounds (82 kilograms).

A lady of equal weight and beer consumption may have a BAC of 0.03%.

If you must drive later, keeping your beer consumption to one to two bottles is recommended.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in North Dakota?

The ABV of a typical 5 oz (142 ml) glass of wine is 12%.

As the example above demonstrates, a 180-pound guy can have a BAC of 0.02% after consuming one glass of wine. On the other hand, a woman with the same weight and level of alcohol intake could have a BAC as high as 0.03%.

If you plan to drive after drinking, one to two glasses of wine should do.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in North Dakota?

Distilled spirits such as vodka and whiskey have 40% ABV.

If you cannot avoid drinking and driving, limit yourself to one to two shots of whiskey or vodka.

Sticking to DUI Laws in North Dakota

There are several myths about the effects of alcohol on driving. Everyone on the road should know the dangers of intoxicated driving and take all precautions to avoid it.

Driving while intoxicated or high is dangerous. You may lose control of yourself and your vehicle if you are drunk.

You should not drive if you are intoxicated. If you’ve only had a few alcoholic drinks, don’t be too confident in your blood alcohol level and driving abilities. Consider other methods of transportation instead of driving.

If you intend to drive after drinking, make sure your blood alcohol level is less than the legal limit in North Dakota. Your blood alcohol content can be precisely measured using a reliable alcohol breathalyzer.

It is best to check North Dakota’s Department of Transportation website to stay up to date on DUI laws.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.