When investigating someone for driving under the influence (DUI), it's common for an officer to ask the person to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in the driver's system. The driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the concentration of drugs in the driver's blood is often used to prove a DUI in court.
This article gives an overview of Montana's implied consent law and the consequences of an unlawful refusal.
Montana's implied consent law specifies that any person who holds a Montana driver's license or operates a vehicle within the state is deemed to have consented to a blood, breath, or urine test. For a DUI arrest to be lawful, the officer must have probable cause to believe that the driver was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or that an underage driver was operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol.
The consequences of a refusal generally depend on how many prior offenses the driver has that occurred within the past five years. However, the rules that apply to commercial drivers are more severe.
First offense. For a first refusal, the driver is generally facing a $300 administrative fee and a six-month license suspension.
Second offense. For a second refusal within five years of a prior refusal, the driver is looking at a $300 administrative fee and a one-year license suspension.
During the suspension for a refusal, the driver won't be eligible for a restricted license.
Drivers who wish to contest their refusal-related suspension can request an administrative hearing.