Alcohol Violations

There are a number of crimes that you can be convicted of stemming from possessing or consuming alcohol in public, and even private, places. These offenses include open container violations, minors in possession or consumption of alcohol, and of course driving under the influence of alcohol.

Minor In Possession/Consumption

It is considered a Class B Misdemeanor for a person under the age of 21 years old to manufacture or attempt to manufacture, purchase or attempt to purchase, consume, or have recently consumed (other than during a religious service), be under the influence of, be in possession of, or furnish money to any individual for the purchase of an alcoholic beverage.

The charge of minor in possession/consumption of alcohol is considered a Class B Misdemeanor in North Dakota and carries with it a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, a fine of $1,500, or both.

Misrepresentation Of Age

Any person who misrepresents or misstates their age or the age of any other person who misrepresents that person’s age through the presentation of any document purporting to show that person to be of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages is guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor. A Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,500, thirty days in jail, or both.

Delivery To Certain Persons Unlawful

In North Dakota, any individual who knowingly delivers alcoholic beverages to an individual under 21 years of age is guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor. If convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor, you are subject to a maximum fine of $3000, up to a year in jail, or both. There is also potential liability for providing alcohol to folks who are under 21, incompetent, and/or “obviously” intoxicated, should that person later injure or kill someone. This is referred to as “dram shop liability” under the law.

Open Container Law

Open container laws are very specific in North Dakota. A person may not drink or consume alcoholic beverages in or on any motor vehicle when the vehicle is on a public highway or in an area used principally for public parking. Additionally, a person may not have in that person’s possession or on their persons while in or on a motor vehicle any bottle or receptacle containing alcoholic beverages which have been opened, or the seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed.

Even if you are the owner of a vehicle and you are not present in or on the motor vehicle, it is illegal to keep or allow to be kept in the motor vehicle when such vehicle is upon a public highway or in an area used principally for public parking any bottle or receptacle containing such alcoholic beverages which have been opened, or the seal is broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed except when such vehicle is equipped with a trunk. This includes a utility or passenger compartment.

Unlawful Possession Of Alcohol 

Some cities in North Dakota, through their municipal code, have criminalized the possession of open containers of alcohol in public areas regardless if an individual is over the age of 21 or whether or not they are near a vehicle. Some cities call this the “unlawful possession of alcohol,” and consider it a Class B Misdemeanor, however, the specific ordinance and penalty level can vary depending on the city. If you have been charged with the unlawful possession of alcohol, or an equivalent ordinance, contact us today to discuss your matter.

Urinating In Public

Urinating in public, much like unlawful possession of alcohol, is governed by the municipal codes for cities within North Dakota. The specific charge or penalty level will depend on which city in North Dakota you were alleged to have urinated in a public place. If you have been charged with the crime of urinating in public, or a similar offense, contact us today to discuss your case, including the level of offense you are being charged with.

Collateral Offenses

There are also a number of collateral offenses that occasionally occur when alcohol is involved. These offenses include driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, assault, and a number of other criminal offenses. If you have been charged with any of the offenses discussed above, or have been alleged to have committed one of these collateral offenses, it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney today to ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact SW&L Attorneys Today

By contacting us, you can rest assured we will investigate and utilize the best possible defense in each individual case. At SW&L, we represent clients throughout North Dakota with alcohol-related charges. Call us in Fargo today for a free consultation at 701-297-2890.

Adam Justinger
Adam Justinger
Jesse Lange