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Substance Abuse Prevention


Federal, State and Local Laws Related to Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol Policy Information System

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) is an NIAAA-sponsored website that provides detailed information on alcohol-related public policies at both the State and Federal levels.  The APIS is updated annually and can be used to identify policy changes in 33 policy areas.

Federal Law

Federal law provides criminal and civil penalties for unlawful possession or distribution of drugs and alcohol. Details related to federal trafficking penalties for controlled substance violations are available from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Among incarceration and/or fines, there are federal laws allowing the forfeiture of property used in possession or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance. This could include homes, vehicles, boats, aircrafts and any other personal or real property. Fines could range in the millions of dollars. One becomes ineligible to have firearms. One also becomes ineligible to receive federal benefits such as student loans and grants.

State and Local Law


Individuals in the state of North Dakota must be 21 years of age to buy, possess and/or consume alcohol. Person(s) providing alcohol to individuals under the age of 21 violate state law and may be cited for contributing to the delinquency of a minor among other possible citations depending on the circumstances. There are other important state laws and local rules relating to alcohol including driving under the influence (DUI) and open container. Under North Dakota statute, for a first DUI offense, violators are fined at least $500 and are ordered to have an addiction evaluation. Individuals with blood alcohol levels over 0.16 will be fined up to $750 and may spend two days in jail.

The North Dakota Century Code and Fargo City Ordinances prohibit driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or controlled substances. State Law and Fargo City Ordinances also prohibit open containers of alcohol in vehicles. It is important to note Fargo City Ordinances also prohibit noisy parties or gatherings. The Fargo Municipal Court lists the following penalties for alcohol-related offenses:

  • DUI (.08 or greater): class B misdemeanor – $625 fine
  • Open container: noncriminal offense – $50 fine
  • Minor in possession/minor under the influence/minor purchase alcohol: class B misdemeanor – $300 fine

Specific Fargo City Ordinances related to alcoholic beverages and minors are Article 25-15 and Article 10-01.

Other Drugs

North Dakota has adopted the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, which restricts the manufacture, transfer and possession of narcotic drugs and other drugs that have a potential for abuse or that may lead to physical or psychological dependence.

Possession of one-half ounce to one ounce of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia for marijuana and advertising drug paraphernalia are class A misdemeanors. Possession of less than one-half ounce (14.175 grams) is a class B misdemeanor. Inhaling vapors of a volatile chemical in a manner designed to create intoxication, hallucination or elation is a class B misdemeanor.

  • Class A misdemeanors can include up to one year imprisonment and/or a $3,000 fine.
  • Class B misdemeanors can include up to 30 days imprisonment and/or a $1,500 fine.
  • Infractions can include a fine of $1,000, and if another infraction is committed within a year of the first one, it can be considered a class B misdemeanor.

It is a class A felony to manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver controlled substances such as methamphetamine or narcotic drugs such as opium or cocaine in North Dakota. Delivery of marijuana or intent to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, including a college or university, is a class B felony. Possession of drug paraphernalia for controlled substances other than marijuana is a class C felony.

  • Class A felony penalties can include up to 20 years’ imprisonment and/or a $20,000 fine.
  • Class B felony penalties can include up to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a $20,000 fine.
  • Class C felony penalties can include up to five years’ imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine

Penalty schedule obtained from ND Century Code Section 12.1-32.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-5478
Campus address: West Dining Center Lower Level
Physical/delivery address: 1340 Administration Ave., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5260 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Programs

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 10:36:26 AM
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