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North Dakota Alcohol Laws

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Privately owned retail liquor stores rather than state-operated businesses sell alcohol in North Dakota. Local ordinances regulate the hours that establishments may sell alcohol.

Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol

You must be 21 to drink alcohol in North Dakota, as in any other state. You must also be 21 to work as a bartender or to sell alcohol in a liquor store. You can work as a server in a restaurant that sells alcohol at age 19 if supervised by someone 21 or older.

Open Container Laws

Previously opened bottles of alcohol should be transported in the trunk of a vehicle to comply with open container laws.

BAC Limits

Drivers whose BAC (blood-alcohol content) tests at .08 percent or higher are considered ‘per se intoxicated,’ and the state can prosecute for DUI (driving under the influence) with no more evidence that these test results.

If a driver is more than .18 percent BAC over the legal limit of .08 percent, more severe punishment applies.

If a driver is under the age of 21 and is chemically tested with a BAC of .02 percent or more, the state can mandate DUI penalties under the ‘zero tolerance laws.’


‘Implied consent laws’ are signed into effect when a driver accepts a driver’s license. These laws mean that a driver must comply with a police officer’s request for breath, blood, or urine testing for intoxication. Refusing to cooperate carries penalties that of mandatory driver’s license suspension for up to a year.

In North Dakota, the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) mandates license suspension. For the first DUI offense the mandatory suspension is 90 days; for the second offense, one year; for the third offense, two years.

Free Online DUI Case EvaluationWith a second DUI conviction, a driver faces possible vehicle confiscation either permanently or temporarily. Alcohol treatment and assessment for alcohol abuse can also be required for DUI offenders in North Dakota. However, the state does not have the penalty option of requiring that an ignition interlock device be installed.

DUI is considered a felony after the fourth conviction.