There are a variety of reasons you may find yourself being pulled over by a Montana police officer for DUI. If you make an overly wide turn, are swerving or wavering from your own lane, braking erratically, driving too fast or too slow or almost hit another vehicle or object, the police officer may immediately assume you are driving under the influence. Single-vehicle accidents are also likely to cause suspicion in a Montana police officer, such as running off the road for no apparent reason, or striking a stationary object, such as a tree. Other driving “mistakes” which could trigger suspicion include following another car too closely, driving at night with no headlights, turning without signaling or stopping on the shoulder without cause.
No matter what the reason, if you are arrested and charged with DUI, you could face serious penalties and consequences that could have a ripple effect through your entire life. From the start, you need an experienced Billings DUI defense attorney on your side. Your attorney will be able to investigate your incident, review BAC records, and determine if your rights were violated during the arrest. Your attorney may be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Montana DUI Laws Changed in 2015
In 2015, a number of changes were made to the DUI laws in the state of Montana. The minimum fines for a DUI conviction were doubled, maximum sentences for DUI offenders were increased, and funds were allocated to DUI task forces across the state.
Current Penalties for a Billings DUI
You could find yourself behind bars following a Montana DUI conviction—two days to six months for a first offense, seven days to six months for a second offense, thirty days to one year for a third offense, and up to five years for a fourth or subsequent offense. Your fines could range from $300 to $10,000, depending on whether it is a first, second, third, fourth or subsequent offense.
You could have your driver’s license revoked for a period of six months to a year—if you refuse a chemical or breathalyzer test, under Montana’s implied consent laws, you could face a license suspension from six months to a year with no possibility of a probationary license. You will also have to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle at your expense for a second, third, fourth or subsequent DUI conviction, and potentially even for a first.
Other Montana DUI Consequences
It is essential that you obtain experienced Billings legal representation if you have been charged with a DUI. Aside from the criminal penalties you will face, you could also lose your current job, have great difficulty obtaining another job, and could find that your insurance rates are simply unaffordable. Having a knowledgeable Billings DUI attorney on your case from beginning to end can help you achieve a much better outcome, while ensuring your rights and your future are protected. Don’t attempt to go it alone, contact our law firm immediately to begin fighting these serious charges.