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What Are Traffic Violations and Infractions in North Dakota?

Offenses committed against North Dakota traffic laws are classified as traffic violations or infractions. In North Dakota, traffic violations may be subdivided into felony and misdemeanor based on the gravity of the violation. These two types of violations are considered serious, and committing any offense under this category may lead to lengthy jail sentences and other penalties detailed under Title 39 (Motor Vehicles) of the North Dakota Century Code (NDCC). Traffic infractions are minor offenses which criminals can resolve by paying charges and engaging in programs of behaviour.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation is in charge of all road activities in the state. A defendant’s previous convictions and whether the offense caused an injury, property damage, or death contribute towards penalizing the offender. A traffic violation is not as severe as a felony and a misdemeanor. Punishments for traffic offences can include charges, revocation/suspension of licences, detention, parole/probation, impoundment of vehicles, social services or points attached to the driving record of the driver. If a traffic fine is owed or the case is appealed a compulsory court appearance may be required.

What Are Felony Traffic Violations In North Dakota?

Felony traffic violations are brought before the Municipal court available in each county of North Dakota. These crimes are often considered as severe and hence, attract serious punishments such as revocation of driver’s license and lengthy jail terms. The state of North Dakota organizes felony offenses into four different categories from the most severe offense to the least: Class AA, Class A, Class B, and Class C.

Each class of North Dakota crime has a corresponding maximum legal punishment. A court has the power to hand down fewer sentences than the maximum allowed, so the exact penalties imposed in any case can vary considerably. An individual guilty of a crime is usually facing fines, imprisonment or both.

  • Class AA: Without parole until life imprisonment.
  • Class A: Jail up to twenty years, with charges up to $10,000.
  • Class B: Jail up to ten years, with charges up to $10,000.
  • Class C: Jail up to five years, with charges up to $5,000.

Examples of Felony Traffic Violations in North Dakota

  • Refusing to stop for after a crash (hit and run)
  • DUI (Driving under the influence)
  • Reckless driving of a vehicle resulting in homicide

What Are Traffic Misdemeanors In North Dakota?

A traffic violation in North Dakota is called a misdemeanor if the crime is not severe enough to be categorized as a traffic offense. A misdemeanor is, however, still more grievous than an infraction. Generally, traffic misdemeanors are associated with harm to human life, security or property. Note that such crimes may be prosecuted as a felony, depending on the damage or injury. For instance, ignoring or disobeying traffic signs is a misdemeanor as contained in NDCC section 39–10–01.1

A misdemeanor crime is usually any offense for which the statute imposes a maximum punishment of up to one year in prison or jail. Like several other states, North Dakota also distinguishes between different kinds of misdemeanors, putting them in two categories (Class A and Class B misdemeanors). Generally, the most severe traffic violations fall under Class A while the least is categorized as Class B. Any traffic offense classified as a misdemeanor will attract a jail penalty that may include probation, charges, or both.

  • Class A: A maximum of $3,000 in charges and up to one year in jail.
  • Class B: A maximum of $1,500 in charges and up to thirty days in jail.

Examples of Traffic Misdemeanors in North Dakota

  • Ignoring traffic laws
  • Driving without a driver’s license or certificate.
  • Speeding tickets
  • Hurling items at other cars
  • Trying to get away from a police officer which results in physical harm
  • Driving after the suspension of a driver’s license

What Constitutes A Traffic Infraction In North Dakota?

Traffic infractions in North Dakota are small offenses which can be settled by paying fare fees and enrolling in the driving school. Traffic infractions are usually violations of the ordinance. These offenses are the least atrocious violation. As such, the fines typically do not require imprisonment unless the violator is a second, third, or habitual offender. Traffic infractions, repeated within the same year, will be treated as a Class B misdemeanor. Third-time and habitual violators will receive severe penalties similar to felony cases.

Examples Of Traffic Infractions In North Dakota?

Below are some North Dakota traffic infractions;

  • Unlawful parking
  • Lending an automobile to individuals for racing on a busy highway
  • Unwilling to comply after getting flagged by a law enforcement agent
  • Making a wrong U-turn
  • Careless vehicular operation which includes driving while using the phone

How Does Traffic Tickets Work in North Dakota?

Traffic tickets are issued by law enforcement agencies in North Dakota. The traffic ticket, also known as a citation, is a notice given to motorists to show that an offense has been committed. Traffic tickets are given for two main reasons:

  • Moving violation: This violation occurred while the vehicle is moving as specified under NDCC Section 39–06.1–09
  • Non-moving violation: According to NDCC Section 39–06.1–08, this violation occurs when the vehicle is not in operation

While some tickets may be resolved immediately by paying the charges attached to it, others may require the presence of the offender in a Municipal court. Details included on traffic tickets include the offense, fines/charges, date of the offense, law enforcement agent, etc.

Offenders may choose to respond to a ticket by paying the fine or going to court to challenge the ticket. Generally, the deadline for responding to a traffic citation is stated on the ticket. Therefore, failure to respond to the ticket within the stipulated time may attract extra fine. Convictions of traffic offenses, which includes paying ticket fine, often lead to the inclusion of points to the offender’s driving record. According to the Department of Transportation, a driving license shall be withheld for a total of seven days after the accumulation of 12 points and above within a year. For drivers below 18 years of age, driving licence or rights may be revoked following receipt of six points or more. Points are allocated according to the schedule below:

  • 24 points for attempting to flee from law enforcement officer
  • 18 points for leaving the scene of accident involving injury or death
  • 15 points for speeding over 36 mph
  • 14 points for leaving the scene of accident involving property damage
  • 12 points for aggravated reckless driving
  • 12 points for speeding between 31 and 35 mph over limit
  • 10 points for speeding 26 and 30 mph over limit
  • 8 points for reckless driving
  • 6 points for failing to give immediate notice of accident
  • 6 points for careless driving

Are Driving Records Public In North Dakota?

Yes, driving records in North Dakota are accessible to the public. The state’s Open Record Act maintains that all documents created by public agencies should be made available to state residents. Driving records are generally requested by employees, insurance companies, and law enforcement officials. They may be used to speed up judicial proceedings or facilitate revision of insurance policies. Information such as driver’s license number, phone, day/month of birth, and name of the record holder is available to residents who make requests. However, confidential information may be withheld as deemed fit by the court.

Records that areconsidered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the record owner, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Find Driving Records In North Dakota?

Driving records are provided by the Drivers License Division of the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Interested persons may obtain a copy via mail, in-person, or online. The records are available in limited and complete versions. A limited record does not comprise total points, violations or convictions older than three years, violations assigned to less than three points, suspensions or revocations satisfied and older than three years, or any crash information. The complete driving record is accessible to only the record holder and is restricted to online requesters. The cost for each drivers license record ordered will be $3.00. To obtain the full driving license, individuals should complete and send the request form to:

Drivers License Division

North Dakota Department of Transportation

608 E Boulevard Ave.

Bismarck ND 58505–0750

Phone: (701) 328 2600


Fax: (701) 328 2435

Requests are also granted through fax. Interested persons should send the request form together with an active credit card number, CVV number, and card expiration date to the fax number above. Driving records requested via online can only be viewed or printed. As such, requesters are advised to obtain a printer before using the online option. To view and print records online, requesters should open the online request page and provide the following:

  • The requestor’s name and other essential details
  • The information of the requested file (Name, Date of Birth, and Driver ID as it appears on the file)

After providing the details, payment should be made via credit or debit card. Navigate to the upper left corner of the page and select ‘File.’ Afterward, click on the print button to get a copy of the driving record.

Can Traffic Violation and Infractions be Expunged or Sealed In North Dakota?

The process of sealing or expunging a traffic violation or infraction in North Dakota is long and almost impossible. In North Dakota, the two terms have separate meanings. Sealing a record means restricting it from public view while expungement refers to the total removal of the document from the custodian’s database. Minor traffic infractions such as illegitimate parking or loitering may be restricted from public view by contacting the law enforcement agency that issued the citation.

A violator must submit a petition to the municipal court, where the case has been heard, to seal a record. The petition must contain the name of the offender (and aliases), address from the date of the offense to the date of the petition, the reasons for granting the petition, and other criminal records. Also, when filing the petition, the violator must file a proposed order and ensure that the documents are presented to the prosecutor.

When choosing to seal a record, the court shall consider the following: the nature and severity of the offense requested to be sealed, the length of time since the offense was committed, pending ticket fine or unattended driving training school, and any aggravating or mitigating factors applicable to that case. Other minor factors that may contribute to sealing a driving record are employment history, community engagement, law enforcement recommendations and those common with the offense, as well as any victim recommendations. However, expunging a felony or misdemeanor violation is almost impossible, and it depends on these factors:

  • Felony traffic conviction as a result of being a victim of human trafficking: According to NDCC Section 12.1–41–14, if any felony conviction is related to being a victim of human trafficking, the offender may file a motion to expunge the record
  • Juvenile records: Pursuant to Rule 19 of the North Dakota Rules of Juvenile Procedure (NDCC Section 27–20–54), records of offenders below 18 years old may be expunged after ten years of the final order.
  • Unconstitutional traffic violation arrests: Generally, an arrest record that was created before conviction may be expunged provided that the offender is proven not guilty in court. If the case was dismissed or overturned in court, the alleged violator might file for expungement.
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