Fargo Litigation & Appeals Law Blog

The connection between college towns and DUIs

When college students flood their campuses at the beginning of fall for the start of classes, college towns once again fill up with their school-year resident population. Along with the boost that students provide to local college-town economies, there are also particular risks and hazards that come with hosting so many college students.

One particular risk that applies to college students is that of underage drinking and driving while intoxicated. But does drinking on college campuses affect the local rate of DUIs in towns that host colleges and universities?

What factors are involved in child custody decisions?

If you are facing divorce, you are probably wondering how the court will decide matters pertaining to the custody of your children. The same applies if you are already divorced but need to modify the custody agreement that is in place.

In the state of North Dakota, a judge will always begin by taking into account the best interests of the children.

Use trust and common sense in choosing your executor

When you are preparing your will, choosing your executor will be a top priority. Right away, you may think about naming your spouse for the task, but is this a good idea?

There are several points to consider about the person you choose, and attributes you might admire in a relative or good friend will likely play a role in your final decision.

More than fines await college students convicted of DUI

Most college students experiment with alcohol. Some drink occasionally and some become binge drinkers. Many feel they are able to drive when they have only had a few beers, but that is a bad idea.

Some college-age drivers think a DUI is nothing more than a simple traffic offense, but you should be aware that it is far more serious and can have long-ranging consequences.

A DUI conviction seriously curtails your driving privileges

No driver wants to interact with law enforcement, especially on suspicion of drunk driving. However, state officials are serious about reducing the high numbers of traffic fatalities related to the excessive alcoholic intake of people who drive on North Dakota roads.

Penalties for a DUI conviction range from fines to jail time to license suspension, and the latter may be especially problematic for anyone who depends on driving to get to school or work.

Forgetting about Fido and other estate-planning mistakes

If you are finally getting around to giving some serious thought to estate planning, congratulations on your foresight. Not everyone has it. Before you get together with your attorney, it is a good idea to gather as much information as you can about your assets —  investments, banking information and the like — to make the meeting go more smoothly.

You do not want to leave any critical information out of documents that will be so important to your family after you pass on. Here are six things you should remember to include:

  • Name your executor or trustee: Give this important task some thought. Choose someone who you believe has sound judgment and who can be counted upon to do a good job, not because he is your eldest child or favorite uncle.
  • Select a conservator: If you have minor children, choose a conservator for the money they will inherit in case you pass away unexpectedly.
  • Allow for changes: People get married, divorced, become drug addicts or decide to go on a world tour. In other words, circumstances change, so designating heirs is not always easy. Your estate-planning attorney can offer guidance.
  • Provide for your pets: Remember to include provisions for your furry friends; by law, they are personal property. Name someone who will give Fido or Fluffy a good home. You can even spell out instructions for feeding or special needs.
  • Include your digital assets: You may have considerable digital assets, such as cloud-based accounts and important documents stored online. Think about what should happen to your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts, and remember to pass along important password information.
  • Provide updates: Once you have prepared your will and/or trust documents, do not let them become stagnant. As the lives of those named in your estate-planning documents change, you should be prepared to make updates.

If I have a will, do I need a trust?

If you have been considering setting up a trust, you undoubtedly have many questions. For one thing, you may wonder why you would need one when you already have a will. You might also wonder what happens to a trust after you pass on. Here are a few of the basics that may help you decide whether establishing a trust would be a good estate planning move for you and your family.


Here are the basic elements you need in your will

Basic estate planning is a necessary fact of life, but it is still something that many people put off or talk themselves out of keeping up with. There are a variety of reasons why that is, but the fact is that solid estate planning is the only way to be sure that one's wishes will be followed after one passes. That means it is a necessary step if you need to take care of dependents like minor children or if you are trying to minimize the financial impact on your spouse in the event of the unexpected.

What Happens to Your Driving Privileges Once Charged with a DUI

Written by Attorney Scott Patrick Brand of Brudvik Law Office, P.C.

Dealing with a charge of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI) can be a very stressful and complicated time. This is especially true when you consider the two-pronged battle that will be fought. People facing a DUI charge don't just have court appearances to worry about, they may also have to worry about a separate administrative hearing to determine whether their driving privileges should be suspended.

This administrative process begins when the arresting officer serves you with a Report and Notice. N.D. Cent. Code § 39-20-03.1. This document contains your Blood alcohol level and is usually served to you the night of arrest, after an intoxilyzer test. If you took a blood test then the Report and Notice would be sent to you via mail once the results of the Blood test are received by the police. Today, in most cases, the Report and Notice is served the night of arrest. It is very important to realize when the Report and Notice is served if you plan on having an administrative hearing for reasons discussed below.

When it comes to the administrative hearing, time is of the essence. Unless you, or your attorney formally requests a hearing with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) within 10 days of receiving a Report and Notice, which usually serves as a temporary operator's permit, your license will automatically be suspended at the expiration of your temporary permit, which lasts for 25 days. See N.D. Cent. Code § 39-20-05. If you do not contact the NDDOT within those ten days, there is nothing that can be done when it comes to contesting the loss of your driving privileges. See Schaaf v. North Dakota Dept. of Transp., 2009 ND 145, ¶ 771 N.W.2d 237. That is why it is so important to act quickly after your arrest.

3 reasons why drug courts are preferable to jail time

People who are arrested for driving under the influence are often caught up in a cycle of addiction that is hard to break. While jail may seem like the best option for them to serve their time since they broke the law, there is a newer approach to helping these people that is surprisingly effective. According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, 75 percent of people who graduate from drug court are never charged with a drug-related crime again. This highlights the fact that drug courts may be a successful alternative to locking people up in jail or prison.


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