Montana Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Montana?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In Montana, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or more.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Montana

  • A first-time offender faces a prison term of up to six months and a fine between $300 and $1,000. The driver's license revocation period is six months. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the offender is subject to up to 12 months in prison, and the fine is between $600 and $2,000.
  • A second-time offender faces a prison term of up to one year and a fine between $600 and $1,000. The driver’s license revocation period is one year. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the offender is subject to up to 12 months in prison, and the fine is between $1,200 and $2,000.
  • A person who is convicted of DUI for a third time faces up to one year in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. The driver’s license revocation period is one year. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the fine is between $2,000 and $10,000.
  • A person convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI will receive 13 months in a correctional facility or 13 months in a residential alcohol treatment program operated or approved by Montana’s Department of Corrections. These offenders will also be sentenced to a five-year suspended sentence. The fine is between $1,000 and $10,000. The driver’s license revocation period is one year.

Additional Penalties for Driving with Excessive BAC of .08 or Greater

  • For a first offense under this statute, the offender faces a maximum of six months in prison and an additional fine of $300 to $1,000. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the additional prison term is up to six months, and the additional fine is $600 to $2,000.
  • For a second offense under this statute, the offender faces a maximum of one year in prison and an additional fine of $600 to $1,000. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the additional prison term is up to 60 days, and the additional fine is $1,200 to $2,000.
  • For a third conviction under this statute, the offender faces an additional maximum of one year in prison and an additional fine of $1,000 to $5,000. If, however, a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the additional prison term is 12 months, and the additional fine is $2,000 to $10,000.

Ignition Interlock

If a judge recommends a probationary license, a second-time DUI offender may be restricted to driving only a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device during the probation period. Anyone convicted of a second or subsequent DUI, however, will be restricted to driving only a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device for one year after expiration of the driver’s license revocation period. If the offender fails to equip his or her vehicle with an ignition interlock device, the vehicle will be seized and subject to forfeiture.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Montana’s DUI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted of DUI while operating any vehicle will have his or her commercial driver’s license suspended for one year. If, however, the offender was driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the suspension period is three years. If a commercial driver commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle, the offender’s commercial driver’s license will be suspended for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of 10 years.

Drivers Under 21 with a BAC of .02 or More

  • A driver under 21 who commits a first DUI with a BAC of .02 or more is subject to a fine of $100 to $500. The driver’s license suspension period is 90 days. The offender is also required to take a chemical dependency education course.
  • A driver under 21 who commits a second DUI with a BAC of .02 or more is subject to a fine of $200 to $500 and incarceration for up to 10 days. The incarceration period, however, does not apply to offenders under 18. The driver’s license suspension period is six months. The offender is also required to take a chemical dependency education course.
  • A driver under 21 who commits a third or subsequent DUI with a BAC of .02 or more is subject to a fine of $300 to $500 and incarceration for up to 60 days. The incarceration period, however, does not apply to offenders under 18. The driver’s license suspension period is one year. The offender is also required to take a chemical dependency education course.

DUI Offenses Committed by Persons Under 18

A person under 18 who commits a DUI is subject to a fine that cannot exceed that which could be imposed if the offender was an adult; revocation or suspension of the minor’s driver’s license as ordered by the court; and/or impoundment of the vehicle being driven at the time of the offense for up to 60 days, if the minor owns or uses that vehicle.

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What is Montana’s Dram Shop Act?

Under Montana law, a drinking establishment can be held liable for injuries caused as a result of serving alcohol to a minor or a visibly intoxicated person. Under this statute, the injured person must provide notice of intent to file the action to the person who furnished the alcohol by certified mail within 180 days from the date of sale or service. The civil action must be commenced within two years after the date of the sale or service. Total liability for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering may not exceed $250,000. The total liability for punitive damages may not exceed $250,000.

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What is Montana’s Unlawful Transactions with Children Statute?

Under this statute, it is a crime for a person to sell or furnish alcohol to a person under 21. First-time offenders face a maximum county jail term of six months, a maximum fine of $500, or both. Second-time offenders face a maximum county jail term of six months, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

Please note: All of our lawyers are licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. We also have lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, and West Virginia and we associate with experienced attorneys in other states.

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