DUI laws of Montana can get a bit confusing. To confuse the matter even more is a slang term called DUI Per Se. There is no Montana Code for “DUI Per Se”, it is a term of art that those in the criminal justice system call the offense of Driving with a blood alcohol of .08 or more found under Mont. Code Ann. s 61-8-408. The usual “DUI” offense is driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs found at Mont. Code Ann. s 61-8-401. The difference between the two offenses is mostly minor, however the “Per Se” statute does not require mandatory minimum jail time like the normal DUI statute does. DUI Per Se is usually not the citation officers will issue, as that is the DUI citation. However, sometimes officers will issue this offense instead of the usual DUI charge in cases where the only real evidence they have is a blood alcohol result, and no actual driving . Typically, an accused can attempt to negotiate a plea agreement by pleading down from a DUI to a Per Se so they may not be sentenced to serve the minimum jail time. So, the next time you hear someone talk about what a DUI Per Se is in Montana, you will know exactly what it is, and they probably won’t.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.