Montana DUI 101

Montana DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation. If you’re caught drinking and driving while in Big Sky Country, be prepared to face some strong consequences.

Maximum Limits for Montana DUIs

In Montana, for you to be considered legally intoxicated, your blood alcohol content level, or BAC, can be no greater than .08 percent. That level drops to a .04 percent if you are a commercial driver. If you are under the legal drinking age of 21, you’d better not be drinking at all behind the wheel. Montana is a zero tolerance state, meaning that any trace of alcohol in your system could get you into legal trouble if you’re driving. 

Penalties for a Montana DUI

If you are convicted of a Montana DUI, your first offense could land you a minimum of 24 hours in jail and up to six months in prison and a maximum of $1,000 in fines. If you had a passenger under the age of 16 in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, you could face up to $2,000 in fines and a minimum of 48 hours in jail, with that sentence possibly stretching to as long as 12 months. You could also be looking at a six-month suspension of your license. Additionally, the court could assign you a probationary license, and an ignition interlock device may have to be installed on your vehicle. There is also the possibility of having to undergo a chemical dependency education program and treatment.

A second drunk driving conviction in Montana could have you looking at a minimum of seven days in jail, extending up to six months. If you had a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 16, that time doubles, with a minimum of 14 days in prison and a maximum of one year. You could also be looking at a minimum of $600 in fines, which also double if you had a passenger in your vehicle, to a minimum of $1,200. In addition, you could be looking at having to complete a chemical dependency education program and having your license suspended for a year. The court could decide to issue a probationary license after 45 days if you agree to, at your expense, have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.

If you are caught drinking and driving for a third time in Montana, the penalties become harsher.  You could be looking at a minimum of 30 days in jail, or 60 days minimum if you had a passenger in the vehicle younger than 16. The fines start at $1,000 and double to a minimum of $2,000 if you had a passenger under 16. Also, you are looking at having your license suspended for one year, and if you are issued a probationary license after 45 days, you could be subject to having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. Plus, the court could assign you to a chemical dependency education course or treatment.

Montana DUI laws are tough on people who drink and drive, so be smart and hand the keys over instead of getting behind the wheel after you’ve had a drink.