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Evidence Admission of DUI in North Dakota

As a general rule, evidence that is properly obtained is admissible at court.  This includes the officer’s testimony regarding the circumstances surrounding the stop and arrest, the results of any field tests, and other observations.  The most compelling evidence is generally the breathalyzer or other chemical tests.   These tests are presumed to be reliable and accurate if the tester complied with the state methods.  If a person refuses to cooperate with an attempt to follow the approved methods of testing (ex. Hiding chewing tobacco in his mouth despite orders to remove and rinse mouth), the person cannot later challenge the foundation for admissibility of the test results on the ground that the approved methods were not followed.  Deviations in testing procedure may cause a test to be inadmissible.  For example, an officer started the test with a slightly off calibration (ex. A little to the left of “zero”).  However, small mistakes (ex. Wrong date) will not itself invalidate the test.  The state has the burden to prove that the machine was working correctly, and if it can do so, then the test will be admissible.

Chemical samples must have been taken within 2 hours of driving/having physical control over the car.  Certain minor procedures (ex. Checking off a box on the checklist) will not be enough to hold the results in admissible if there is other evidence to prove that the testing was complied with sufficiently to insure accuracy and reliability.  All tests must have been administered by authorized personnel.  For example, only medical personnel may take blood tests, and only those who have been properly trained may administer certain field tests.

The defendant’s statements may also be admissible.  If a person refuses to submit to the test, proof of the refusal is admissible.  The Miranda right to remain silent does not extend to allow the right to remain silent when requested by an officer to submit to a blood-alcohol test because the 5th Amendment right to self-incrimination doesn’t apply under these circumstances.  The driver has already given implied consent and therefore the results are not “testimonial” and may be admitted into evidence.


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