Information on Ignition Interlock Devices in the Big Sky State of MT
The MT Ignition Interlock and driver’s license suspension laws for DUI offense charges are the same in Bozeman, Missoula, Great Falls, Helena, Butte, Kalispell, White Fish, West Yellowstone, and in every other city and town across the state of Montana. Any driver operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more will be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). A BAC of 0.08 percent is often the standard for being charged with a drinking and driving related crime in all states across the country due to government research proving that everyone’s ability to drive is impaired when their BAC is that high.
People who are subsequently convicted of DUI face a number of different penalties including jail time, a suspended driver’s license, monetary fines, and possibly having to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). Drivers with a BAC of 0.08 percent are not the only ones who could face a DUI conviction, however – the state of Montana enforces a “zero tolerance” policy for minors, which means if their BAC is anywhere above 0.0 percent, they are charged. Additionally, those who are operating commercial vehicles can be charged with drinking and driving when the BAC is at or above 0.04 percent. For the best chances of success in avoiding the Ignition Interlock requirement and preventing a DUI license suspension in MT – a driver needs to have the arrest details examined online with us as early as possible for defense options.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Montana?
For those drivers in the state of Montana convicted of even a first DUI offense charge, they face a number of different penalties for breaking the law. Montana and most other states use this variety of penalties including using an Ignition Interlock device as a means to discourage offenders from committing the crime again. Those who have received their first DUI conviction will face penalties, such as the following:
- Two Days to Six Months in Jail
- MT Driver’s License Suspension of Six Months
- Fines and Penalties Equaling Between $300 and $1,000
- The Possibility of Having to Get an Ignition Interlock Device Installed
Montana increases the severity of these penalties for those who have been arrested and convicted for a repeat or 2nd DUI offense. Anyone with a previous DUI conviction in the last 10 years is considered a repeat offender. Those who have received their second DUI conviction face penalties, such as the following:
- Seven Days to Six Months in Jail
- Driver’s License Suspension of One Year
- Fines and Penalties Equaling Between $600 and $1,000
- Having to Use an Ignition Interlock For at Least 1 year
Those who have received their third DUI conviction in MT will face penalties, such as the following:
- 30 Days to One Year in Jail
- Driver’s License Suspension of One Year
- Fines and Penalties Equaling Between $1,00 and $5,000
- Having to Use a DUI Interlock 2 Years on Average
The state of Montana has also outlined the penalties for those offenders who are on their fourth conviction. Those who have received their fourth DUI conviction face penalties, such as the following:
- Ignition Interlock Requirement For Several Years
- Jail Sentence of Five Years
- Monetary Fines of $10,000
Implied Consent Law in Montana
Montana enforces an “implied consent law” for DUI arrests along with most other states across the country. Under this DUI law, all residents of the state of Montana who hold a driver’s license automatically consent to having chemical testing conducted to determine their BAC – this testing can include Breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. Should drivers refuse to have this testing completed, they face an automatic fine and license suspension. First time DUI offense drivers will have their license suspended for six months, and second and third time DUI offense drivers who refuse testing, will have a suspended driver’s license for one year and have to get an Ignition Interlock installed on any car they drive.
What is an MT Ignition Interlock Device and How Does It Work?
An IID or BAIID (Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device) is a type of car Breathalyzer device installed in offender vehicles and possibly any vehicle registered in an offender’s name. This DUI Interlock device requires operators to submit a breath sample before they can start the car – should this sample fall above the predetermined BAC threshold, the vehicle does not start. The threshold is set based on the requirements of the court, and the percentage can vary – in the state of Montana, the average threshold setting is 0.02 percent.
Essentially, the Ignition Interlock will block the signal from the starter to the vehicle’s ignition. This remains interrupted until the device has received an acceptable breath sample from the driver. Additionally, the IID may require a random test after the vehicle has been started as a means to prevent a third party from providing a breath sample. Should the Interlock device require a random sample and that sample falls above the predetermined threshold, the event is logged in the device’s system and an alarm sounds that does not stop until the car is parked and turned off by the driver.
When is Using an Ignition Interlock Device Required in the State of Montana?
The state of Montana has authorized the use of the Ignition Interlock device for specific drivers convicted of a DUI offense or other alcohol related driving offenses. Courts require the installation and maintenance of an Interlock as a condition of getting a MT driver’s license back for all drivers considered repeat offenders. Additionally, an IID can be ordered for first time offenders as well if the judge overseeing the case deems it necessary.
In MT, Who is Responsible for Paying for the Cost of an Ignition Interlock Device?
In almost all of the DUI Interlocks in the state of Montana, DUI offenders are responsible for paying costs associated with the device. This includes the cost of installation, the cost of maintenance and calibration, monthly lease payments, including the cost of having the Ignition Interlock device removed when the period of use has ended. For a 1st time DUI offense, a person should expect to pay up to $100 for installation (although some providers offer free installation) as well as between $75 and $125 a month in lease payments. Please note these costs vary by Interlock providers as well as by geographical area across the state of MT.
What is the Process of Obtaining an Ignition Interlock Device in Montana?
Once offenders have been authorized to use an Ignition Interlock for a DUI offense in MT, they are likely given a window of time in which they have to complete the process of having the device installed. First, individuals need to find and connect with a state approved DUI Interlock device provider. There are a number of these providers across the state of Montana, and a full list of these Ignition Interlock companies can be found on the Montana Department of Justice website.
After the Interlock device has been leased from one of the state’s approved providers, it needs to be professionally installed to the state’s standards. Once this process has been completed, it is not uncommon for offenders to have to report back to the court, their probation officer, or the Department of Justice to notify them of the completion. Often times, a convicted DUI driver will need to provide a copy of the lease agreement for the device as well as a copy of the receipt for the device’s installation. When a MT Ignition Interlock attorney reviews a person’s own DUI circumstances online with us, the local Montana lawyer who examines the circumstances of what happened, can then explore all options for what potential strategies are available for how to avoid having to get an Ignition Interlock device installed in:
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