North Dakota Reckless Driving

Drivers charged with reckless driving in North Dakota could face a maximum of $3,000 in fines, one year in jail, and 12 points on their license.
Written by Pat Roache
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
In the state of North Dakota, a reckless driving charge could cost you $1,500 to $3,000 in fines, potential jail time, and eight to 12 points on your driver’s license.
One of the most serious traffic violations out there, reckless driving puts lives, your driving record, and your insurance rates at risk. Every state has unique legislation, so it’s important to know your state’s specific reckless driving laws. 
Before hitting the road in North Dakota, you deserve to know what’s expected of you. That’s why
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How does North Dakota define reckless driving?

North Dakota Century Code Title 39-08-03 provides the following definitions for reckless driving:
  • Driving with disregard to the rights or safety of others
  • Driving without due caution or prudence and at a speed or in a manner that endangers or could endanger the wellbeing or property of another
Basically, if the operation of a vehicle could put people or property at risk, the driver can be convicted of reckless driving. The following are examples of reckless driving in North Dakota:
  • Excessive speeding
  • Disregarding stop signs and traffic signals
  • Tailgating
  • Impeding traffic by preventing other cars from full access to the road
  • Swerving in and out of traffic
  • Breaking traffic patterns
  • Cutting another driver off
  • Drag racing
  • Exhibition driving (or showing off in a disruptive way)

What are the penalties for reckless driving in North Dakota?

Reckless driving in North Dakota is classified as a misdemeanor and carries up to $1,500 to $3,000 in fines, 30 days to a year in jail, and eight to 12 points on your driving record. 
Reckless driving in North Dakota falls into two categories: standard and aggravated. Standard reckless driving is reckless driving that does not cause any bodily harm to another person. Aggravated reckless driving is reckless driving that does cause bodily harm to another person.
Standard reckless driving is considered a Class B misdemeanor, whereas aggravated reckless driving is considered a Class A misdemeanor. The classification determines the maximum penalty that a driver could face when charged with reckless driving.
See the chart below for specific penalties by misdemeanor class:
Type of Misdemeanor
Jail Time
Driver’s License Points
Class B (Standard)
Up to $1,500
8 to 30 days
8 points
Class A (Aggravated)
Up to $3,000
8 days to 1 year
12 points
A judge will determine the exact amount of fines and/or jail time based on these limits. However, the
driver’s license points
are mandatory upon conviction. If your record accumulates 12 points at any given time, your driver’s license or privileges will be suspended.
Key Takeaway The charges and penalties for reckless driving vary depending on whether or not somebody else got hurt. A Class A misdemeanor charge for aggravated reckless driving carries the maximum penalties.

How can I remove a reckless driving charge from my record? 

Points will disappear from your record over time if you don’t accrue additional points, but you can complete DOT-approved driver improvement courses to get rid of points sooner.
The state removes one point from your driving record for every three months you go without accruing additional points. DOT-approved driver improvement course can be taken once every 12 months for one of the following benefits:
  • Point Reduction: Removes three points from your record
  • Point Waiver: Prevent points from being added to your record (so long as the violation at hand is less than five points)
The approved courses can only be used for one option at a time, but they provide drivers with an opportunity to strategize in cleaning up their records. For example, if a convicted driver is worried about future violations, they may want to save the course in case they need a point waiver to stay on track with their three-month point reduction.
Key Takeaway Take advantage of DOT-approved driver improvement courses in North Dakota to make points disappear from your driving record faster.

Will reckless driving make my insurance go up? 

When it comes to traffic violations, reckless driving has one of the greatest impacts on your insurance premium. On average, North Dakota drivers who are convicted of reckless driving see a 59% increase in their car insurance rates. Per the state’s average insurance premium, that’s $788 a year.
Maintaining lower insurance rates means keeping a
clean driving record
. Steer clear of reckless driving and other traffic infractions by avoiding distractions, following posted speed limits, and being mindful of your emotions and ability to focus before getting behind the wheel.
MORE: How to get car insurance with a bad driving record

How to find affordable car insurance in North Dakota

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Most cases of reckless driving in North Dakota are considered a Class B misdemeanor—not a felony. Class B misdemeanors are assigned to standard reckless driving, meaning no injury resulted from the violation. If an injury does result from the violation, the charges are increased to a Class A misdemeanor for aggravated reckless driving.
There is no charge for cases of reckless driving that cause death in the state of North Dakota. If a person’s driving does cause death to another person, they could be looking at different charges that may constitute a felony.
A judge can decide to sentence jail time for reckless driving in North Dakota. The maximum sentence for a Class B misdemeanor (standard reckless driving) is 30 days. The maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor (aggravated reckless driving) is one year.
A DUI is not considered the same as a reckless driving charge in North Dakota. However, it is common for drivers facing DUIs to take plea bargains that reduce their charges to reckless driving. When a DUI is plea-bargained down to a reckless driving charge it is called a wet reckless.
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