24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

North Dakota Crimes: Laws & Penalties

Understanding North Dakota Criminal Laws and Penalties

The Basics of North Dakota Criminal Law

First things first, let’s talk about the foundation of criminal law in North Dakota. The state’s criminal code is laid out in Title 12.1 of the North Dakota Century Code. This is basically the rulebook that defines what counts as a crime and what the punishments should be.Crimes are generally divided into two main categories:

  • Felonies: The most serious type of crime, punishable by more than one year in prison. Examples include murder, rape, and drug trafficking.
  • Misdemeanors: Less serious offenses that carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail. This includes things like simple assault, petty theft, and first-time DUIs.

There are also infractions, which are minor violations that usually just result in a fine, like traffic tickets. But we won’t get too deep into those here.

One important thing to understand is the concept of “elements of a crime.” Basically, for something to count as a specific crime, it has to meet certain criteria defined by the law.For example, the elements of simple assault in North Dakota are:

  1. Willfully causing bodily injury to another human being; or
  2. Negligently causing bodily injury to another human being by means of a firearm, destructive device, or other weapon, the use of which against a human being is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.

If a prosecutor can‘t prove those elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then the defendant can‘t be convicted of assault. Make sense? Great, let’s keep going!

Felony Crimes and Penalties in North Dakota

As I mentioned, felonies are the most serious category of crime. North Dakota has four classes of felonies, ranked by severity:

  • Class AA Felony: The most serious crimes, like murder. Punishable by life in prison without parole.
  • Class A Felony: Crimes like kidnapping, robbery, and drug dealing. Sentences range from 3-20 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
  • Class B Felony: Includes manslaughter, burglary, and some drug crimes. 1-10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
  • Class C Felony: The lowest level felony for crimes like aggravated assault and theft. Up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Let’s look at a specific example to see how this plays out. Under Section 12.1-16-01 of the ND Century Code, murder is defined as intentionally or knowingly causing the death of another human being. If convicted of this Class AA felony, a person would face life in prison without the possibility of parole.On the other end of the spectrum, a Class C felony like theft of property between $1,000-$10,000 in value (Section 12.1-23-05) could result in a sentence of up to five years and/or a $10,000 fine. Of course, the specific sentence someone receives depends on the details of the case and the defendant‘s criminal history. Judges have some discretion within the ranges set by law.

Misdemeanor Crimes and Penalties

Okay, now let‘s talk about misdemeanors. Just like felonies, misdemeanors in North Dakota are divided into classes:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • Class A Misdemeanor: The most serious type, punishable by up to 360 days in jail and a $3,000 fine. Includes crimes like simple assault and first-offense DUI.
  • Class B Misdemeanor: Crimes like disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. Up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

So for example, a first-time DUI offense is a Class B misdemeanor in North Dakota under Section 39-08-01. If convicted, you could face a minimum $500 fine and an order to undergo an addiction evaluation. Your license would also be suspended for 91 days. Other examples of Class A misdemeanors include:

  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Theft of property valued under $1,000
  • Harassment or stalking

While these crimes may not sound as serious as felonies, they still go on your criminal record and can have major consequences for your life. It’s always best to avoid breaking the law, even at the misdemeanor level.

Navigating the North Dakota Criminal Justice System

Alright, so what happens if you do find yourself facing criminal charges in North Dakota? The first step is usually an arrest or a summons to appear in court. From there, the process can vary a bit depending on the severity of the charges. For felonies, you‘ll typically have an initial appearance where the charges are read and bail is set. Then there’s a preliminary hearing where a judge decides if there’s enough evidence for the case to move forward. If so, you’ll be arraigned and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Misdemeanor cases are a bit more streamlined. You may just have an arraignment and then go straight to trial if you plead not guilty. Speaking of pleas, that’s one of the most important decisions you‘ll make if you‘re charged with a crime. Pleading guilty or no contest means you accept the conviction and sentence, while pleading not guilty means you’re challenging the charges and want to fight them in court.In some cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. This is where you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge or in exchange for a more lenient sentence. It’s a way to avoid the uncertainty of a trial.But if you do go to trial, you’ll have the opportunity to present your case in front of a judge or jury. The prosecution has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they can’t, you should be acquitted (found not guilty). If you are convicted, the next step is sentencing. This is where the judge decides your punishment based on the guidelines set out in law. Your attorney can argue for a lighter sentence, but ultimately it‘s up to the judge. After sentencing, you may have the right to appeal the conviction or sentence to a higher court. This is something you’ll want to discuss with your lawyer.

Defenses to Criminal Charges

Throughout the criminal justice process, there are defenses your attorney can raise on your behalf. Some common defenses include:

  • Innocence: You didn’t actually commit the crime you’re accused of.
  • Lack of evidence: The prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Self-defense: You were defending yourself or someone else from harm.
  • Insanity: You were legally insane at the time of the crime and couldn’t understand the consequences of your actions.
  • Constitutional violations: Your rights were violated during the arrest or investigation, like an illegal search or failure to read your Miranda rights.

The specific defenses that may apply in your case will depend on the facts and circumstances. That’s why it‘s so important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner.

Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

Beyond the direct penalties like jail time and fines, a criminal conviction in North Dakota can have a lot of collateral consequences. These are the indirect ways a conviction can impact your life.For example, having a felony on your record can make it really hard to find a job, housing, or educational opportunities. You could lose your right to vote, own firearms, or obtain certain professional licenses. Even misdemeanors can show up on background checks and cause problems down the road. A conviction for something like drug possession or theft could disqualify you from certain jobs or apartments. That’s why it’s so crucial to fight criminal charges with everything you‘ve got. The stakes are high, and the consequences can follow you for life.

Expunging or Sealing Criminal Records in North Dakota

In some cases, it may be possible to have your criminal record sealed or expunged in North Dakota. This basically means the record is either destroyed or hidden from public view. The rules for expungement depend on the type of offense and how much time has passed. For example, you may be able to get a misdemeanor sealed after three years if you’ve had no further convictions. Felonies typically require more time, usually at least five years. Violent crimes, sex offenses, and crimes against children are usually not eligible for expungement in North Dakota. And even if you do get your record sealed, certain government agencies may still be able to access it. The expungement process isn’t automatic – you have to petition the court and show that you deserve this second chance. It’s a good idea to work with an attorney who can help you navigate the process and make the strongest case possible.

Schedule Your Consultation Now