As in other states, the state of Montana stipulates that it is illegal for persons aged 21 and older to drive with a BAC of .08 percent or greater. Drivers under the age of 21 may face Montana DUI penalties if their BAC is .02 or greater, and commercial drivers with a BAC of .04 percent or greater may also be charged with DUI.
Montana has a five-year “lookback” period in which prior offenses are taken into consideration when determining penalties. Certain offenders may be allowed the option of a plea bargain for a lesser charge of reckless driving involving alcohol or wet reckless.
Like all states, Montana has an implied consent law that authorizes police to subject drivers suspected of DUI to blood, breath or urine tests for drugs and alcohol. Persons who refuse to consent to chemical testing are subjected to fines and automatic suspension of their driver’s licenses. First-time refusals are penalized by a 6-month suspension. Second and subsequent refusals are penalized by a one-year suspension, and a court-ordered ignition interlock device may be installed and maintained at the driver’s expense.
First DUI Offense
A first-time DUI conviction is punishable by between 24 hours and six months of jail time with an additional 24 hours to six months added if a minor under the age of 16 was a passenger. A driver’s license suspension of six months and a fine of between $300 and $1,000 may be imposed, and these fines may double if a minor was a passenger. Other Montana DUI penalties include the installation of an ignition interlock device at the judge’s discretion and completion of a chemical dependency course or treatment program.
Second DUI Offense
A second DUI conviction is punishable by a one-year license suspension and a fine of between $600 and $1,000, which doubles if a minor under the age of 16 was a passenger. Also, between seven days and six months of jail time may be imposed, and this may double if a minor was a passenger. A probationary license may be obtained after 45 days, and the driver must complete a chemical dependency course or treatment program. The driver may drive with the use of an ignition interlock device for which he or she assumes all financial responsibility, or the vehicle may be seized and forfeited to the state.
Third or Fourth DUI Offense
A third DUI conviction in Montana is punishable by a one-year license suspension and a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, which doubles if a minor under the age of 16 was a passenger. Also, between 30 days and one year of time in custody may be imposed, and it increases to from 60 days to one year if a minor was a passenger. A probationary license may be obtained after 45 days, and the driver must complete a chemical dependency course or treatment program as with prior offenses. The driver may drive with the use of an ignition interlock device at his or her own expense.
A fourth conviction is considered a felony that is punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated DUI in Montana
Montana DUI penalties may be more severe for those charged and convicted with aggravated DUI. Such a charge is imposed because authorities believe an individual has a higher risk of reoffending because he or she has prior DUI convictions, prior violations of the implied consent statute or a suspended license, or the person may have registered a BAC greater than or equal to .16 percent or may already be subject to IID restrictions.