Amending a Felony DUI Conviction to a Misdemeanor in North Dakota
A felony conviction for any offense can be incredibly damaging to a person’s future prospects for jobs, housing, and life in general. Consider all the ways a felony conviction can take you away from your daily life: hunting in the fall, voting during election time, or even applying for a loan can be impacted. It used to be that only a deferred imposition of sentence could save an individual from a permanent felony conviction, but that type of sentence was, and remains, unavailable to persons charged with DUI.
Felony DUI Convictions are very painfulIn North Dakota, a person charged and convicted of DUI for a fourth offense within fifteen years of their first offense would be facing a felony DUI charge. Along with the felony designation, there are mandatory minimum penalties that come along with the conviction, including a prison sentence, mandatory supervised probation, participation in lengthy sobriety programming, and a likely driver’s license suspension or revocation. Some of these penalties can be alleviated with treatment and programming, but the felony conviction remains.
Misdemeanor by Disposition is possible for a Felony DUI in North DakotaNorth Dakota now allows for a Felony DUI charge to be amended to a misdemeanor conviction upon successful completion of supervised probation including participation in the county drug court program. Typically, that program is a 12-18 month period of intense, supervised probation including meetings, treatment, and counselling along with chemical testing as well. Upon successful completion of that probationary term, North Dakota law states that the charge is to be amended to a misdemeanor conviction. Usually this is automatic, but recently I have encountered counties where this automatic action is not taken and I have had to file a motion to compel this amendment. A person waiting for a felony to be converted to a misdemeanor has his or her life on hold during this time! If you need advice regarding a Felony DUI charge, don’t hesitate to immediately reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney here in North Dakota for advice on how to try and avoid a permanent felony conviction.