Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two poses a hazard to anybody on or near a roadway. Like any other state in the country, Montana has its own DUI laws, and if a person violates those laws, there can be serious consequences.
Contact us right away for a free consultation and case assessment after any DUI arrest in or around Missoula. We scrutinize each and every potential issue in a DUI case, and if there’s a potentially successful defense in a case, we’re going to raise it. Time is critical after a DUI arrest. We’ll leave no stone unturned in formulating your defense.
There are two ways of charging a person with DUI in Montana. A person who is operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon the ways of the state open to the public can be charged with DUI if there is sufficient evidence to believe that his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle has been diminished by alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. The same as the other 49 states, Montana also has what’s known as a “per se” DUI statute for anybody with a blood alcohol content of .08 or above who was operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon the ways of the state open to the general public. In either event, that individual can be sentenced to up to 24 hours to six months in jail and a fine between $600 and $1,000. A defendant cannot be convicted of both crimes for a single act. He or she can only be convicted of one or the other.
Multiple DUI Offenses
A person found guilty of a second offense DUI can be punished by between 14 days or a year in a county jail along with a fine of between $1,200 and $2,000. For a third offense, that person can be sentenced to between 60 days to a year in a county jail and a fine of between $5,000 and $10,000. A fourth DUI conviction becomes a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
To be convicted of aggravated DUI, the prosecution must be able to prove one of the following additional elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the defendant had a blood alcohol content of .16 or above at the time of the alleged offense.
- The defendant was not operating a motor vehicle with a previously ordered ignition interlock device.
- He or she was operating a motor vehicle during a driver’s license suspension or revocation pursuant to a previous DUI conviction.
- His or her driver’s license had previously been cancelled, suspended or revoked for a DUI in the past 10 years.
- He or she had either a pending charge of DUI, aggravated DUI, negligent vehicular assault, or negligent homicide within the last 10 years, or had earlier convictions pending charges, or either of the two for DUI, aggravated DUI or vehicular assault or negligent homicide.
Aggravated DUI Penalties
A conviction for the crime of aggravated DUI carries the possibility of between two days and a year in a county jail, a mandatory fine of $1,000 and mandatory successful participation in a DUI program if one is available. The offender will be ordered to refrain from consuming any alcoholic beverages and only operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock ignition device. It’s likely that an open mandate of random alcohol and testing at any time will be imposed.
DUI Administrative Penalties
Many people don’t realize it, but depending on whether they’re charged with DUI or convicted of the offense, at one time or another, they’re going to suffer a driver’s license suspension on top of their sentence from the criminal court. You’ll want to speak with a Missoula DUI lawyer from our office right away. Alternatives to an actual hard suspension might be available for you.
A person isn’t guilty of DUI unless the prosecution proves him or her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many defenses to the charge, but it’s necessary to have all of the facts and circumstances of your arrest reviewed and evaluated by an experienced DUI attorney from our office. Then, the best course of action can be recommended. Here are some examples of just a few DUI defenses that have been successful in the past:
- Unlawful stops when a driver is pulled over without a reasonable belief that he or she is under the influence or had committed a traffic offense.
- Unreliable breath testing machines due to improper calibration, lack of maintenance or external interference.
- Improper field sobriety testing when a person is unable to physically perform them due to a disability. A person might even be asked to recite the alphabet backwards while standing one leg.
- Improperly obtaining and preserving evidence, like how a blood sample should be obtained, marked and preserved.
- Insufficient or even no evidence at all of operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.
- The arrestee’s Miranda rights were improperly given or not given at all.
Contact a Missoula DUI Lawyer Today
We scrutinize each and every potential issue in a DUI case, and if there’s a potentially successful defense in a case, we’re going to raise it. Time is critical after a DUI arrest. Contact us right away for a free consultation and case assessment after any DUI arrest in or around Missoula. We’ll leave no stone unturned in formulating your defense.