In Montana, it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Under Montana law, a person can be charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.04 to 0.08 if there is evidence that alcohol affected his or her driving. If a person is caught with a BAC of 0.08, he or she will be charged automatically, regardless of how he or she was driving.
Montana has an implied consent law, which means that by driving in Montana, you are agreeing to submit to a chemical alcohol test if asked to do so. To refuse a breath or blood alcohol test is a criminal offense, and your driver's license must be immediately seized.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Montana, the first thing you will want to consider is hiring an experienced DUI attorney. All of our DUI lawyers offer a free consultation and you will quickly have a clearer picture of Montana law as it applies to your unique case.
"First offense" means your first DUI anywhere, in any state. So, if you have a DUI in another state, expect that to count against you in Montana.
If you are convicted of a DUI, and it is your first offense, you are required to spend at least 24 consecutive hours, but not more than 6 months, in county jail. If the court finds you financially able, you will also be charged for the cost of imprisonment.
However, jail time may be suspended for one year if you complete an Assessment Course Treatment (ACT) program approved by the Department of Public Health and Human Services. For a list of approved ACT programs, contact Addictive and Mental Disorders Division.
DUI first offenders have to pay a fine from $300 to $1,000.
DUI penalties, both fines and jail time, may be doubled if you had a child under the age of 16 in the car with you at the time of your arrest.
A first offense DUI results in a 6 month suspension of driving privileges. While driver's license suspensions are handled by Driver Control, not the court, the judge may still recommend a restricted probationary driver's license, which is good for essential driving only. If the judge does not recommend a probationary driver's license, you will not be able to drive until the 6 month suspension period is over.
Before your driver's license is reinstated you will have to complete an SR22 filing with the DMV before they will issue you your new license. You can obtain an SR22 insurance policy and filing by completing the short form on the following page, just enter your zip code below to start:
In order to qualify for a probationary license, your driver's license cannot be under suspension or revocation in Montana (for another offense) or in any other state.
If the judge does recommend a probationary driver's license, you must pay a $200 reinstatement fee to Driver Control.
If this was your first offense DUI, and your BAC was 0.16 or higher, the court will order you to install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle that you drive. You will have to pay for leasing, installation, and maintenance of the ignition interlock device (IID).
Find a list of approved IID vendors here.
SR22 insurance is a high risk insurance that provides proof of financial responsibility to the State. At this time, those convicted of a first offense DUI are not required to carry SR22 insurance. If you received a DUI in another state and move to Montana you will be required to maintain an SR22 filing with the DMV.
Montana DUI Laws - A complete overview of Montana DUI laws including fines, jail time and penalties for each offense.
Montana SR22 Insurance - Learn everything you need to know about Montana SR22 filing requirements with the DMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your Montana SR22 insurance.
Montana DUI Lawyers - Contact one of our Montana DUI lawyers today.
Montana Substance Abuse Programs - We offer a complete listing of Montana approved substance abuse programs.