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North Dakota Court Records

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What Are North Dakota Traffic Court Records?

North Dakota traffic court records refer to the records generated from the adjudication of traffic offenses in the State of North Dakota. These records include all documents, recording and case files created from the court proceedings.

Are North Dakota Traffic Court Records Public Records?

North Dakota traffic records are categorized as public records as they are covered by the Freedom of Information Act and can be accessed (upon request) by members of the general public. The only exceptions are records that have been restricted by a court order or law.

Which Courts in North Dakota have jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?

North Dakota traffic violations and infractions are heard in District Courts and Municipal Courts depending on the statute or ordinance which was violated. Violations of state law are heard in District Court and violations of municipal ordinances are heard in Municipal Court.

How Do I Find North Dakota Traffic Court Records?

North Dakota traffic court records can be obtained using the ND District Court search, which provides court case information on criminal, traffic and civil cases. ND court records can also be obtained by contacting the Clerk of the Court in the county where the records are located. An oral or written request can be submitted, but if the requestor requires a written response the request must be in writing. Records are open to the public for viewing on the public computer terminals located in the Clerk’s office.

Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:

  • The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
  • The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name

Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.

What information is required to obtain North Dakota Traffic Court Records?

To obtain North Dakota traffic records, requesters will need to submit a written or oral request for the record and the request must contain enough information so the clerk can look for the record without extensive research. This will include the full name on the record and/or case (or citation) number of the record. To obtain copies of records a fee of $0.25 per page, $1 minimum will be charged. The requestor will need to provide a valid, state-approved form of identification.

Are all Traffic Violations handled the same way, in North Dakota?

North Dakota traffic violations are generally handled the same way, depending on the defendant’s plea. That is to say, all “Guilty” and “Not Guilty” pleas are handled similarly. Fines will vary, but the processes involved in responding to traffic violations will remain the same.

Can North Dakota Traffic Records be sealed or expunged?

In North Dakota, an individual may only petition the court to seal their criminal record if they are eligible. To be eligible for sealing misdemeanor offenses, a waiting period of 3 years must have elapsed from the date of release from incarceration, parole, or probation and the petitioner has not been charged with a new crime during that time. To be eligible for felony offenses, a waiting period of 5 years must have elapsed from the date of release from incarceration, parole, or probation and the petitioner has not been charged with a new crime during that time. The North Dakota Supreme Court has held that courts have the authority to expunge arrests in cases in which the arrest was unlawful or to seal the online records for cases in which charges were dismissed or the defendant acquitted.

How does one end up in a North Dakota Traffic court?

In North Dakota, one ends up in traffic court when a law enforcement officer issues a citation for a traffic violation and the offender:

  • Is required to make a mandatory court appearance to answer the charges
  • Wishes to dispute the charges and contest the ticket

Getting a Traffic Ticket in North Dakota

A North Dakota traffic ticket (or Uniform Complaint and Summons) is issued for the citation of traffic violations in the state of ND. ND tickets are issued by law enforcement officers and represent a sworn statement by the officer regarding the incident. The ticket will be completed by the officer before the offender receives a copy. The officer will indicate on the ticket

  • Date, time and location of the violation and the date & time of issuance of the ticket, if different.
  • Defendant’s full name, address, date of birth and other physical characteristics.
  • Defendant’s license information.
  • Vehicle information including make, model and year
  • Charge/Offense information including statute and/or ordinance section code
  • Bond fee (Fine amount)
  • Road, traffic and weather conditions and any mitigating circumstances.
  • Issuing officer name. and badge ID number
  • A date for the court appearance with time and location

Tickets will have a “request for hearing” section, which the defendant must sign if a hearing to contest the ticket is required and a promise to appear which the defendant must sign before receiving a copy of the ticket.

ND traffic ticket fines tend to be uniform across counties but may vary within municipalities. Convictions for major traffic violations are reported to the North Dakota Department of Transport (NDDoT) and points will be added to a driver’s record based on the conviction. Driving privileges will be suspended for 7 days for every point, above 11 points, that a driver receives. A DoT-approved driving course can remove 3 points from a record (can only be taken every 12 months).

Traffic violations in ND can be non-criminal (infractions) or criminal (misdemeanors or felony). Convictions for criminal traffic violations will also see a misdemeanor or felony being added to the offender’s criminal record (in addition to other penalties), while convictions for non-criminal violations do not.

Generally, traffic violations are classified as Moving Violations and Non-moving Violations. Moving violations are committed while a vehicle is in motion and Non-moving violations are essentially parking violations and equipment violations. Moving violation convictions are reported to the NDDoT and result in points being added to a driver’s record, but this is not the case for non-moving violations.

What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in North Dakota?

Upon receiving a North Dakota traffic ticket, an offender can choose to either

  • Pay the traffic ticket
  • Contest the Ticket

The ticket must be responded to before the deadline, i.e. the court appearance date on the ticket, or the defendant can face added penalties. The amount to be paid will be indicated on the ticket as the Bond.

Paying for a Ticket

If the defendant chooses to pay the ticket, it will be seen as a Guilty plea and recorded as a conviction. Moving violations will be reported to the NDDoT and points will be assessed to the driver’s record. The ticket can be paid:

  • Online- Visit the ND Court Website. Search for the ticket and follow instructions to pay.
  • By Mail- Follow instructions on the ticket and mail to the court indicated on the citation with a money order or check for the amount. Do not sign the ticket.
  • In-Person- Visit the court indicated on the citation in person by the appointed court date and make payment

Contesting a Ticket

If the defendant chooses to contest the charges, a hearing must be requested within 14 days of receiving the ticket. To request a hearing, the defendant must complete, sign, and send the ticket to the office of the Clerk of the Court (by mail or in-person) with the bond amount. When the request and the bond are received and processed, a hearing date will be scheduled and communicated to the defendant. A pre-trial hearing might be scheduled where the defendant can meet the prosecutor and work out a plea agreement (not typically available for lesser traffic offenses). If an agreement cannot be reached or this is not an option, a date will be set for the trial.

At the trial, the judge will hear both sides and review all evidence presented. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will enter judgment. If the defendant is found guilty, the court will impose fines accordingly and the conviction-if for a moving violation- will be reported to the NDDoT and points will be assessed to the driver’s record (which can result in a loss of driving privileges). If the defendant is found not guilty, then the charges will be dismissed and the bond will be refunded. Failure to appear for any scheduled hearing without just cause will result in guilty judgment being entered against the defendant.

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