The answer to this question is an unequivocal “yes.” All a police officer must prove is that you had actual physical control over the vehicle. This means if you pull off the road to “sleep it off,” but your keys remain in the ignition, or even in the front seat, close to the ignition, you are considered to be in actual physical control of the vehicle and can be cited for DUI if your BAC is over the limit.
Under Montana law, a request to submit to a blood or urine test is not considered a “custodial interrogation,” therefore you are not entitled to legal representation. While you are not legally obligated to submit to a chemical test, there are penalties for not doing so.
Like a chemical test, you are not legally required to submit to a breathalyzer test, however you can be penalized for refusing to do so through the loss of your driver’s license.
While you do not have to submit to a field sobriety test, the state of Montana allows a refusal to submit to field sobriety tests to be used as evidence against you in court. (Some states do not allow refusal of a field sobriety test to be mentioned in court or used as evidence, however Montana does). Refusing to take a chemical or breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test may be used as “evidence” of your guilt—meaning if you were not inebriated, you would not refuse any of the DUI tests. This is not necessarily true, and your attorney can challenge this assumption.
A first-time DUI conviction can result in a six-month license suspension, jail time from two days to six months, fines from $300 to $1,000, the possibility of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and possibly a Mandatory Chemical Dependency Assessment and/or Alcohol Education Course. The penalties for a 2nd DUI conviction include a one-year license suspension, jail time from 7 days to six months, fines from $600–$1,000 and the installation of an ignition interlock device. A third Montana DUI conviction can result in thirty days to one year in jail, a fine from $1,000 to $5,000, the installation of an ignition interlock device and a one-year driver’s license suspension.are penalties for not doing so.
Whether you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car depends on whether it is your first, second or third offense. A first offense may or may not require you to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, while a second and third DUI offense will require you to have the device installed on your vehicle.
In addition to fines, jail time, a license suspension and the necessity of having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, you will also face other consequences not related to the criminal penalties. Your vehicle insurance will probably be cancelled, and to reinstate your insurance could be prohibitively expensive. Having a DUI on your criminal record can prevent you from getting a job or could even cause you to lose the job you have. Additionally, it can be embarrassing for you when your friends, family members or others in your community find out about your DUI conviction. For all these reasons it is imperative that you do everything you can to avoid a Montana DUI conviction.
If you lose your driver’s license because you refused a breathalyzer or chemical test, then you may not obtain a probationary license. If you did not refuse a breathalyzer or chemical test, you may be able to obtain a probationary permit or essential driving permit if you pay the $200 reinstatement fee, obtain a judge’s recommendation for the license, enroll in an Alcohol Treatment Program, and, in some cases, take a driver test.
An experienced Montana DUI attorney will work hard to ensure the very best outcome possible following your Montana DUI charges. Having a knowledgeable DUI attorney by your side can make a huge difference, so do not try to handle your DUI on your own.