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Arrest for DUI in North Dakota

A law enforcement officer may arrest a person without a warrant if (s)he has probable cause that a person is driving or has actual physical control over a vehicle while under the influence.  An arrest may occur on public or private property.  An officer may make a vehicle stop or approach an already stopped car with there is a reasonable belief that the driver is in violation of the law.  There is no set test for reasonable belief.  The courts have interpreted this loosely, and the reasonable cause needed to stop or approach the vehicle is a lower standard than the probable cause needed to arrest.

Officers may take multiple factors into consideration in determining whether or not there is probable cause.  The officer may firsthand witness suspicious behavior such as swerving, weaving, speeding, failure to adhere to traffic laws, parked car in an unusual location, etc.  An officer may also have suspicion based on tips.  For example, a layperson may report a description of a vehicle behaving consistently with some of those suspicious behaviors or a gas station attendant may notice that a customer was behaving as though intoxicated and returned to his/her vehicle.

Once stopped, the officer may use various indications that a driver is intoxicated.  Visual and physical clues may include slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, strange behavior (ex. Attempting to hide in the car), odors of alcohol and/or drugs, violent tendencies, etc.  An officer may also implement certain roadside tests to examine a person’s reflexes.  All of these factors only constitute circumstantial evidence of a driver’s intoxication.  Often, an officer will administer a breath test to calculate a driver’s BAC.   Every driver, by law, is required to submit to this test.  Refusal to do so could result in immediate penalties.


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