Saturday, December 24, 2011

Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 35: Summary of North Dakota Laws

Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 35: Summary of North Dakota Laws

Adultery:

Adultery in North Dakota provides liability only to the offending spouse, not the external party, and can only be acted on by the offended spouse (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011g). Adultery is a class A misdemeanor (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011g), punishable by imprisonment up to 1 year, and a fine up to $2,000 (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011j). Escalating punishment for repeat offence, and some inchoate offences (facilitation and solicitation) do not apply, as those laws apply only to felonies (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011c; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011d; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011k). For the remaining inchoate offences, criminal accomplice, conspiracy and attempt, punishment is at the same level as adultery, a class A misdemeanor (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011a; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011b; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011e).

Though North Dakota’s fornication law only applies to sexual behavior in public places (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011f), there is another law that prevents “false representation of marital status” which has a fornication-like effect. If a couple lives “openly and notoriously” as if they were married, regardless of marital status, they are liable at the level of a class B misdemeanor (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011i), punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000 (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011j). Inchoate and repeat offence escalation apply in the same way as it would for adultery, with the applicable inchoate offences being at the class B misdemeanor level (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011a; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011b; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011c; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011d; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011e; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011k).

Bigamy:

Bigamy in North Dakota is specifically limited to actual marriages, without a cohabitation or purportation clause (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011h). It should be noted that the aforementioned “false representation of marital status” can double as a purportation/cohabitation clause for bigamy (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011i), and it will be treated as such for this analysis. Punishment for an actual bigamous marriage is at the class C felony level (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011h), with imprisonment up to 5 years and a fine up to $5,000 (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011j). Repeat offence escalation applies after the third offence, which extends the imprisonment to be up to 10 years (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011k).

Inchoate offences for an actual bigamous marriage apply in full, with criminal accomplice, conspiracy, solicitation, facilitation and attempt (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011a; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011b; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011c; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011d; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011e). Accomplice and conspiracy are at the same level, class C felony, as bigamy (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011a; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011e). Solicitation, facilitation and attempt are punishable as a class A misdemeanor, the same as adultery (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011b; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011c; North Dakota State Legislature, 2011d).

Because the cohabitation/purportation is punishable under North Dakota’s “false representation of marital status” law, its punishment is at the class B misdemeanor level(North Dakota State Legislature, 2011i). It should be noted that the individuals involved must not only be living together, but purport to be married, so both cohabitation and purportation clauses must be met to be liable (North Dakota State Legislature, 2011i).

Round-Up of Laws:

The odd combination of adultery and bigamy, with a modified cohabitation/purportation clause creates a strange liability web, with the lowest liability existing for unmarried cohabitants, then for dyadic non-monogamists, then the highest is for non-dyadics, albeit only because of the odd cohabitation/purportation found in the false representation law.

Non-Monogamous Strategies:

Because the false representation law only creates liability under cohabitation and purportation, changing living arrangements and public image control will reduce liability. Since adultery is limited to only internal action, keeping a stable non-monogamous family can eliminate the liability from adultery. Both of these strategies can effectively limit liability for non-monogamists to minimal levels.

References

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011a). Accomplices. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-03-01). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011b). Criminal attempt. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-06-01). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011c). Criminal facilitation. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-06-02). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011d). Criminal solicitation. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-06-03). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011e). Criminal conspiracy. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-06-04). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011f). Fornication. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-20-08). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011g). Adultery. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-20-09). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011h). Bigamy. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-20-13). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011i). False representation of marital status. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-31-11). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011j). Classification of offences – Penalties. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-32-01). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

North Dakota State Legislature. (2011k). Dangerous special offenders – Habitual offenders – Extended sentences – Procedures. (North Dakota Century Code 12.1-32-09). Bismarck, ND: North Dakota State Legislature.

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