Missoula County getting tougher on DUI arrests

The most recent 63rd Montana Legislature passed a new law that treats repeat DUI offenders much more harshly. A new offense on the books is now called “aggravated DUI”. The penalties for an aggravated DUI are longer periods of jail time and longer license suspensions. What is an “aggravated DUI”? The new law defines the offense as driving with a blood alcohol of 0.16 or more, or a person has a previous DUI conviction within the last 10 years. This look back period of prior DUI convictions is much more aggressive than the prior five year lookback period for a standard DUI 2nd offense. The results of this change in the law are yet to be determined, but the law essentially allows prosecutors the discretion to ignore the more lenient DUI 2nd and 3rd laws for sentencing purposes, and charge individuals with aggravated DUI instead, potentially subjecting the accused to a more harsh penalty.