So should you refuse to blow in a DUI now that the City of Missoula has created a law penalizing a refusal?
Usually, the answer is yes – refuse a breath test in a DUI investigation. However, some things have changed with this new law that only applies within the city limits of Missoula. If in Missoula, you are investigated for DUI and you refuse a breath test, now you will be charged with another misdemeanor charge for that refusal IN ADDITION TO A LICENSE SUSPENSION. The penalty for violating this new city ordinance against refusals is a maximum fine of $500. So, there is no possibility of jail time, just increased financial considerations. Considering you could lose several thousands of dollars, jobs, relationships, etc., if convicted of a DUI, that is a penalty worth considering. Plus, you can challenge it and work out a plea deal later down the line via plea agreement so it won’t cost so much. When prosecutors have a breath test reading, that is powerful evidence they can use in front of a jury or judge to establish guilt and can hinder a plea agreement. With a refusal, your chances are much greater at being able to challenge a DUI charge.
Before this law, your license was suspended anyway, so the only real difference that has been created is a fairly hefty fine. I continue to recommend to my clients that if they have had more than 1 drink per hour and are pulled over, they should probably refuse to blow, and take the fine. We can fight it later, and hopefully save you from a DUI conviction.
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.