First time DUI potential penalties

Are you scared and confused after a regrettable night and find yourself charged with a DUI in Missoula, MT? It happens more often than you think, and the process can be very intimidating. Knowing the possible penalties is important so you keep yourself informed.

If you are accused of a first time DUI in Montana you are facing a potential sentence of at least 24 hours in jail and up to 6 months in jail. The sentencing statute requires at least 24 hours be served although Courts may often allow those hours to be served in a jail alternative like work release or jail weekends. Typically the minimum time of the 24 hours is imposed, but it is possible for the Court to impose any amount up to the 6 months. In addition, the Court will sentence you to fines, court fees and special conditions of the sentence. Fines are at least $600 and usually go up from there and court fees vary by court but are typically around $100. Lastly, conditions of sentence typically include mandatory alcohol counseling called ACT that you must complete and pay for – the cost is typically several hundred dollars. Some courts credit the payment of the ACT program cost against your fines, so be aware of that!  The judge may also sentence you to misdemeanor probation, alcohol testing – such as breath tests, an ignition interlock device, as well as conditions such as not consuming or possessing alcohol or entering bars or casino’s for 6 months.  If you have prior DUI convictions within the last 10 years, the penalties go up significantly and the mandatory jail time can be very difficult to deal with.

Also, as a result of a DUI conviction the DMV will suspend your driver’s license for at least 6 months. At the end of 6 months you will be eligible to reinstate your license for a fee. Possibilities exist for a 1st time DUI conviction to allow you to obtain an essential driving permit during the 6 month suspension, that will allow you to drive to work, school, etc., during the suspension upon your enrollment into the ACT program. This is not a guarantee and must be recommended by the Court, so ensure your premier DUI defense attorney obtains this Court Order for you.  Other conditions and regulations can occur from judge to judge. As you can see, possible DUI sentencing options are very expensive and very confusing. All the more reason to consider hiring an experienced DUI defense attorney to take a look at your case and potentially get you a resolution other than a DUI conviction.  Please call our office for a free consultation to discuss your options and rights. (406) 721-3354