Montana Driver Licensing Law
Obtaining a Montana Traffic Education Learner's License
If enrolled in a state-approved driver education program, Montana permits 14 ½ year olds to apply for a Traffic Education Learner's License. Fifteen-year-olds may apply for the Learner's License if they have successfully completed a state-approved driver education program. Once applicants pass the required driver license tests they will be issued a permit, so long as they are medically and mentally capable.
During this period, license holders must drive at least 50 hours, ten at night, while being supervised by a licensed parent, guardian, or licensed driver over the age of 18 years old and authorized by the parent and guardian.
While the licensee is driving, everyone in the vehicle must be wearing a seat belt. Drivers must refrain from landing any traffic violations or alcohol- or drug-related offenses before applying for a first-year restricted license.
The permit, valid for up to a year, must be held for six consecutive months before applying for a First-Year Restricted License.
Obtaining a First-Year Restricted License
After meeting the requirements of the Learner's License, teens become eligible for the First-Year Restricted License.
This license carries the following restrictions:
- Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
- Driving between 11PM and 5AM is not permitted except in cases of emergencies, farm-related activities, school, church or work transportation, or any instance when parental consent is given.
- During the first six months, license holders may not have more than one unrelated 18-or-under passenger, unless under the supervision of a licensed driver over the age of 18.
- During the second six months, license holder may not have more than three 18-or-under passengers, unless under the supervision of a licensed driver over the age of 18.
When applying for the First-Year Restricted License, the following documents are required:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of Montana residency
- Proof of authorized presence
- A completed Graduated Driver Licensing Parent/Legal Guardian Certification form
The back of the driver license will have a date indicating when the First-Year restrictions will automatically end. At that point, the driver will automatically upgrade to a Full Privilege Driver License.
Penalties for Teen Drivers
GDL Step One Violations - Penalty for any alcohol/drug or traffic offenses: Supervised practice driving extended until teen has six months with no alcohol/drug or traffic offenses
GDL Step Two Violations - Penalty for any alcohol/drug or traffic offenses:
- First Offense – not less than 20 hours or more than 60 hours of community service
- Second Offense – suspension of driver's license for six months
MIP - Minor in Possession of Alcohol
A driver license suspension resulting from an MIP conviction is permanently recorded on the offender's driving record. If a person with a driver's license is convicted of an MIP violation, the court must confiscate the license:
- First MIP offense – 30-day confiscation
- Second or subsequent MIP offense – 6-month confiscation
A violator who drives during a period of driver license confiscation may be charged with driving without a license. A violator may also be subject to additional sentencing provisions imposed by the court.
Suspension for failure to complete substance abuse course – Under Montana's MIP law, violators who fail to complete a community-based substance abuse course may have their driver's licenses suspended:
- First failure to complete substance abuse course – 3-month suspension second failure – 9-month suspension
- Third or subsequent failure – 12-month suspension
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