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DUI - Montana Administrative License Suspensions

Why was my license taken after my DUI arrest?

  Drivers in the state of Montana have given their implied consent to submit to a blood alcohol content test if asked to do so after they are arrested for drunk driving. Chemical testing can include a test of the driver’s blood, breath or urine and may be administered by a law enforcement officer. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Map of Montana"]Map of Montana[/caption] Drivers who refuse to submit to the blood alcohol content test (BAC) or who take the chemical test but fail (their BAC is at or above the illegal limit of 0.08%) will have their license suspended. This does not apply to juvenile offenders or commercial drivers who have a lower legal BAC limit. Police officers should notify the Montana driver of the consequences of their BAC test refusal if they refuse to submit to the test. Montana police officers also have the legal right to determine what type of test will be administered to the driver. Montana drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical test may automatically lose their license for 6 months up to one year. Drivers who fail their chemical test with an illegal blood alcohol content can have their license suspended for 90 days for the first DUI arrest, one year for the second DUI arrest and three years for the third DUI arrest. Keep in mind, administrative penalties are separate from penalties resulting from a drunk driving conviction and may be enforced even if the Montana driver is ultimately found not guilty of DUI. They do, however, generally run concurrently with additional license suspension penalties which may result from a DUI conviction.

Process after DUI arrest in Montana

  If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Montana the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you a temporary driving permit. The driving permit is good for five days from the date the officer issues it. The police officer should also provide you with written notification of your right to request an administrative hearing to challenge your license suspension. The officer will send your driver’s license to the appropriate Montana driving department and you will have 30 days to file a petition for a hearing to challenge your license suspension.

Challenging a Montana Administrative License Suspension in Court

  If you do hire a DUI lawyer and decide to challenge the Montana administrative license suspension you will not be attempting to prove that you are not guilty of drunk driving. You will, however, be challenging the following:
  • Did the officer have reasonable grounds to believe the driver was driving, had been driving or had actual physical control of the motorized vehicle?
  • Was the driver arrested?
  • Did the driver refuse to submit to the test upon the request of the law enforcement officer or whether a properly administered test or tests disclosed an alcohol concentration of 0.08?
  • Did the officer inform the arrested person of the fact that refusal to permit the test would result in suspension of his or her license or driving privilege and that testing above the legal limit would also result in a license suspension?
Drivers who prevail at their administrative hearing may have their license returned to them but it does not mean that they will not ultimately convicted of drunk driving.  
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