When it comes to penalties associated with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), not every state has the same punishment. Each state sets forth its own set of penalties based on how serious the charges of DUI or DWI. In some cases, DUI is considered a civil infraction while other states view this offense as a more serious crime. In the state of Montana, the penalties for first offenders are moderate in comparison to other states, but still very serious.
First time offenders of DUI in the state of Montana can expect a license suspension of six months – for second and third offenses, the suspension is one year. Additionally, first time offenders will be required to complete an alcohol education program as well as getting assessed and possibly treated for alcohol dependency. While the offender’s vehicle will not be confiscated until his or her third offense, it is possible for first offenders to require the use an ignition interlock device depending on the charge’s severity.
Scary Statistics on Drunk Driving in Montana
Just over 10 years ago, Montana enacted the 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content per se law. Since then, state lawmakers have made slight advancements in the area of DUI reform by implementing further penalties targeted toward repeat offenders. In Montana alone, 44 percent of the total traffic accidents in the state were considered drunk driving fatalities – this is an almost 10 percent increase in deaths from the previous year. Additionally, taxpayer subsidies for drunk driving fatalities climbed over $400 million.
Underage DUI Penalties in Montana
Underage drunk driving has been on the rise for the past few years – although underage drivers only account for 10 percent of the licensed population, they are responsible for 17 percent of the drunk driving fatalities that occur each year. With these statistics growing every day, many states have enacted stricter underage DUI penalties. In the state of Montana, the legal drinking age is 21 years old with the only exception being alcohol served on a non-selling premise with a legal guardian’s permission.
For those underage individuals who are charged with Montana DUI, there are some strict penalties associated with their crime. First, the offender will face imprisonment for a period of between one day and six months. Additionally, they will face having their licenses suspended for a period of up to six months as well as having to pay fines between $300 and $1,000. Individuals who offend again within five years will face a longer imprisonment, higher fines, and a longer licenses suspension.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.