The penalties for a second DUI in Montana are set forth in Section 61-8-401 and subsequent sections of the state’s statutory code. This section establishes the criminal and other penalties for second DUI offenses, and states that a prior offense is any DUI occurring in any state within the past five years.
Look Back Period
In Montana, a court can legally consider any DUI occurring five years before the currently pending DUI in its punishment of the offender. This means that if a DUI offender has committed a previous DUI inside or outside of Montana within the past five years, he or she will be considered a second time offender and punished accordingly.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
Like other states, a misdemeanor in Montana is any crime punishable to no more than a year in prison. A felony is any crime punishable by at least a year in prison. A second offense DUI is a misdemeanor in Montana, because it is punishable by six months in jail, or twelve months if a passenger in the car is 16 years old or younger.
A Montana court can sentence a second DUI offender to a minimum of seven days and a maximum of six months in prison. However, this sentence can be suspended if the offender attends alcohol treatment. Additionally, it can fine the offender between $600-1,000. If a passenger is 16 years old or younger, the court can punish the offender to no less than 14 days and no more than 12 months in prison and fine them between $1,200-2,000.
Additionally, the court can order that an ignition interlock device be placed on the offender’s vehicle, to prevent them while driving intoxicated, and even order that their car be seized for as long as a year.
Pleading In a Montana Court
A second time DUI offender in Montana can plead guilty and accept the court’s punishment, not guilty and proceed to trial or enter into a plea bargain with the state’s prosecutor. In a trial, a jury decides the offender’s punishment if they determine that he committed the crime. Although he can appeal the jury’s penalty, there is very little that can be done about their decision. In a plea bargain the prosecutor and offender agree about the offender’s punishment. The offender either pleads guilty or “no contest” which is a way of agreeing to be punished without having to plead guilty. These agreements often have lesser criminal penalties.
An administrative penalty is one imposed by an entity other than a criminal court. In a Montana DUI case, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) imposes these punishments. The Montana DMV has the authority to revoke a second time DUI offender’s driver’s license for as long as a year.
Getting Legal Help
If you are facing a second DUI action in Montana, seek legal advice. An attorney will review your case and discuss with you the best plea and the possible punishments you could receive.