Montana penalties for a first offense DUI
All states in the United States enforce the legal blood alcohol content limit of .08 to operate a motor vehicle. States control some of the specifics of DUI laws, but for the most part, criminal proceedings and sentencing following convictions is somewhat standardized. If you are convicted of a DUI, you will face possible imprisonment, fines, license suspension, probation and compliance with an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program. In Montana, DUI laws are much like those in place across the nation.
If your DUI conviction is your first, you are subject to the parameters of a first offense DUI conviction in Montana. Any subsequent convictions will be considered repeat offenses, and sentencing requirements will likely be more severe.
Fines and fees
Any DUI arrest and conviction is expensive. Multiple sources say that a first offense DUI conviction carries fees anywhere from $300 to $1,000, not including court costs and any fees imposed by the department of motor vehicles.
Fines and fees are difficult to nail down, so understand that your legal financial obligation will likely be significant. Consult with an experienced DUI lawyer to get a better idea of just how much money you may owe. Sentencing requirements are often a product of the specifics of your case. For example, you may be charged heavier fines depending on the age demographic of your passengers at the time of your arrest. Passengers under the age of 16 present at the time of the arrest will warrant additional fines in Montana.
Following your DUI arrest, you will also have to file an SR-22 form with your insurance company. This filing will identify you as being convicted of a DUI, and therefore a high-risk operator, so your insurance premiums will go up considerably.
License suspension and treatment
When you are arrested for a first offense DUI either because you failed or refused a preliminary alcohol screening test, you will lose your license for six months. You will also be required to enroll and participate in an alcohol awareness and treatment program, and compliance may allow you to apply for a limited license that permits you to drive to work or school.
Montana, like many states, has enacted a per se law that implies that refusal of a preliminary alcohol screening test is akin to an admission of guilt. If you refuse a test, which typically includes a BAC breath test, your options in court and with the DMV may be limited.