DUI Attorneys Missoula MT

NCDD-memberLooking for a great premier DUI defense attorney, DWI attorney, or drunk driving lawyer in Missoula? That’s a wise choice, because driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime in Montana, and a DUI conviction will stay on your driving record for the rest of your life. A drunk driving attorney like the DUI attorneys at Judnich Law will be more familiar with the justice system, the courts, plea bargain possibilities, and administration details than even the most dedicated Law & Order fan.

Why choose the Judnich Law Office? Marty Judnich is a former prosecutor that prosecuted hundreds of DUI and DUI related cases. Once becoming a private defense attorney Marty has gone above and beyond any other defense attorney in Montana to take cases to trial and win DUI cases, including cases involving blood draw results. Marty has completed a certificate of training from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for DWI detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student Course.

Judnich Law NHTSA Certification

This is the exact same training all law enforcement officers complete to be able to arrest for DUI and conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Marty has an advantage over any other defense attorney because he knows exactly how police officers have been trained, how to administer the tests the correct way, and how to establish that a police officer may not have followed their training resulting in a jury acquitting an accused of charges.  Make no mistake, there is a difference between defense attorneys who plead every case out and an attorney that wins at trial and is able to obtain successful resolutions for their clients. You want the attorney with the most advantages, experience and training.

judnich-dui-certificationBeing charged with a DUI means a police officer thought you were operating your car while your ability to operate the vehicle was impaired by alcohol. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) might have been under the legal limit of .08 but high enough for the cops to think you were under the influence. (More about that later.) The police will be trying to prove this with the results of a field sobriety test (learn more here about unlocking the mysteries of DUI field sobriety tests). A good Missoula DUI lawyer will be able to help you out, even if you made these mistakes when getting a DUI arrest.

After a DUI Arrest

car keys and shot glassesOnce you’ve been arrested for a DUI, it will be a condition of your release on bond that you abstain from possessing or consuming any alcohol. You might even be tested to that effect. So no drinking! You cannot have alcohol at your house and you will not be able to go to bars or casinos other than for employment purposes. The court system is trying to figure out your relationship with alcohol — did you make a one-time error in judgment, or do you have a drinking problem? If you get caught with alcohol you will go back to jail. Most courts will also place you on some type of alcohol monitoring system initially to ensure you are not drinking.

How Do We Defend You Against DUI Charges?


Defending someone accused of a DUI crime is a very difficult job. If considering an attorney, you should ensure you hire someone that defends DUI charges all the time and is in court and trial often. General defense attorneys cannot keep up with changing DUI laws and defense techniques. The Judnich Law Office goes above and beyond to obtain training and experience that gets results.

DUI charges can involve interpretation of the NHTSA approved  Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and if they were properly administered per official officer training as well as extremely complicated issues surrounding breath tests, breath test refusals and blood draw tests for alcohol.  Only experienced DUI defense attorneys in Missoula MT such as our office have the experience to exclude these results from evidence and limit the ability of prosecutors to prosecute cases and increase the opportunity for successful plea negotiations.

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Montana DUI Penalties


First-time penalties are understandably less severe than second- or third-time offenders. And the research backs this up. People who get more than one DUI are vastly more likely to have a drinking problem, so this is when you may be ordered to go into alcohol counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous, or something similar. Penalties are also worse if you have someone under 16 in your car with you.

Aggravated DUI (1st Offense):  Fine of $1,000; not less than 48 hours in jail, up to 1 year, completion of ACT program, prohibited from entering bars or casinos or possessing alcohol for 6 months after conviction.

DUI Per Se (1st Offense):  Fine between $600-$1,000; up to 6 months in jail, suspension of driver’s license for at least 6 months, completion of ACT program, prohibited from entering bars or casinos or possessing alcohol for 6 months after conviction.

DUI (1st Offense): Fine between $600-$1,000; not less than 24 hours in jail and up to 6 months in jail, suspension of driver’s license for at least 6 months, completion of ACT program, prohibited from entering bars or casinos or possessing alcohol for 6 months after conviction.

DUI (2nd Offense): Fine between $1,200-$2,000; between 7 days in jail to 1 year in jail, suspension of driver’s license for at least 1  year, completion of ACT program, possibility of ignition interlock device, possibility of sobriety monitoring, possibility of forfeiture of motor vehicle, prohibited from entering bars or casinos or possessing alcohol for 1 year after conviction.

DUI (3rd Offense): Fine between $2,500-$5,000; between 30 days in jail to 1 year in jail, suspension of driver’s license for at least 1 year, completion of ACT program, possibility of ignition interlock device, possibility of sobriety monitoring, possibility of forfeiture of motor vehicle, prohibited from entering bars or casinos or possessing alcohol for 1 year after conviction.

DUI (4th or subsequent): Felony offense: Fine between $5,000-$10,000;  residential inpatient treatment called WATCH program for up to 6 months, followed by probation of up to 5 years, suspension of driver’s license for at least 1 year, mandatory ignition interlock device, felony probation with sobriety monitoring, possibility of forfeiture of motor vehicle.

turning ignition to turn on carIn addition to the legal penalties, if you are convicted of a DUI, your car insurance company will increase your rates or drop you all together. You will have to pay to get your license reinstated following the suspension time, which is hundreds of dollars. People that travel to Canada often run into problems crossing the border as Canada does not allow people to enter their country with DUI convictions unless a certain amount of years have elapsed since the conviction. Find out more about travel restrictions to places such as Canada here.

DUI Driver’s licensing and Refusals

In Montana, if you refuse a breath or blood test, under our Implied Consent laws, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended; just for that refusal. This suspension last for six (6) months and starts as of the day you refused. You will be given a five (5) day permit to drive to get yourself prepared to not drive again for 6 months. This suspension has nothing to do with the actual DUI criminal charge. The refusal suspension in civil in nature, and is not dependent on the outcome of the DUI arrest.  That means, even if your DUI case is resolved without a DUI or you are acquitted, the refusal suspension still remains for the full 6 months.

DUI Conviction and Refusal Suspensions

If you are convicted of a DUI, you will suffer another separate suspension of your driver’s license that is completely independent of a breath test refusal suspension. A DUI conviction suspension is a criminal penalty for the DUI, where the refusal suspension is a separate civil suspension.  Only a DUI 1st offense is eligible for a probationary license in Montana after conviction. So, only people convicted of DUI 1st offense can get a probationary license, subsequent convictions cannot obtain such a license, and are simply suspended. The DUI criminal suspension is in addition to any refusal suspension, so they can start at different times and mean that well after 6 months from a DUI arrest, your license may still be suspended from a DUI conviction.

Driver’s license refusals and suspensions can get very confusing and complicated. A premier DUI defense attorney such as the Judnich Law Office can help you straighten your situation out, so give us a call to help.

Court Process


hands cuffed behind back

Here’s a guide of what to expect at your first DUI court appearance. In a nutshell, after someone bails you out, you have to go to the Municipal Court Magistrate or the Justice Court Justice of the Peace (they’ll tell you which) within a couple days of getting arrested. At that first appearance, also called the arraignment, the judge verifies your identity and asks how you plead. Always plead “Not Guilty.” If you plead “Guilty,” you’ll get your sentence right there. Pleading “Not Guilty” means you have time for your DUI lawyer to put together a case for you and possibly get the charges reduced.

After the arraignment, your next court appearance is a pretrial hearing called an OMNIBUS hearing at which your lawyer updates the judge about your case and possibly meets with the prosecution to talk about plea bargain options. Then you could have to show up at a motion hearing if certain evidence might be inadmissible. After that, you have the actual trial — whether a jury is present or not is something your Missoula DUI lawyer will help you decide. If you come to a plea agreement, you should be able to have that hearing and your sentencing on the same time. Most people accused of a DUI will be physically present in court 3-4 different times.


Why Hire Judnich Law Office?


The Judnich Law Office has represented hundreds of people accused of DUIs in Montana ranging from first offense to felony DUI. Martin Judnich was formerly a DUI prosecutor and has put that experience to use representing hundreds of those accused, so he knows firsthand how to build a successful defense case. (Read the bios of the Judnich Law Team here.) We at the Judnich Law Office can advise you about how to plead, the penalties and fines in Montana, sentence bargaining, repeat offenses, and more. Lately we have had success in excluding blood draw evidence where our clients have either consented to a blood draw or a search warrant was obtained to take their blood against their consent. Our constant research and experience with these cases makes a difference for our clients case outcome.Our office typically devotes numerous hours just in reviewing videotapes and reports. Many more hours are devoted to live witness interviews and negotiations.  We then take that information to use against the investigating officer to help a jury understand why the officer’s conclusions may not be correct. Our clients must fill out an exhaustive questionnaire for our office that helps us determine what facts an officer may have overlooked or disregarded in every single case. Our firm is part of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys as well as the National College of DUI Defense and we utilize many resources to obtain results. We utilize the officer’s own training manuals in establishing why our clients may not be under the influence. If you are deciding what DUI Defense attorney is right for you, ask them to show you the NHTSA they utilize for their clients, or ask them if they are certified to administer SFST’s. If they say “no” to either, you should think about coming to see us for a free consultation. When you are deciding on an attorney to hire, it is an investment. You should decide whether you want such an investment to be bargain basement (with bargain basement services – that we don’t offer), or if you want to make a significant investment that ensures complete and exhaustive investigation and attention to your individual case. We don’t mind taking cases to trial either. We believe with a well researched case, options at trial are not as bad as most attorneys, who don’t want to go to trial, will tell you. We will show you the officer’s own training manuals that we use to successfully defend DUI cases and we will show you why we have the experience and expertise to earn your confidence. Can you say the same about any other law office?

Our office typically devotes numerous hours just in reviewing videotapes and reports. Many more hours are devoted to live witness interviews and negotiations.  We then take that information to use against the investigating officer to help a jury understand why the officer’s conclusions may not be correct. Our clients must fill out an exhaustive questionnaire for our office that helps us determine what facts an officer may have overlooked or disregarded in every single case. Our firm is part of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys as well as the National College of DUI Defense and we utilize many resources to obtain results. We utilize the officer’s own training manuals in establishing why our clients may not be under the influence. If you are deciding what DUI Defense attorney is right for you, ask them to show you the NHTSA they utilize for their clients, or ask them if they are certified to administer SFST’s. If they say “no” to either, you should think about coming to see us for a free consultation. When you are deciding on an attorney to hire, it is an investment. You should decide whether you want such an investment to be bargain basement (with bargain basement services – that we don’t offer), or if you want to make a significant investment that ensures complete and exhaustive investigation and attention to your individual case. We don’t mind taking cases to trial either. We believe with a well researched case, options at trial are not as bad as most attorneys, who don’t want to go to trial, will tell you. We will show you the officer’s own training manuals that we use to successfully defend DUI cases and we will show you why we have the experience and expertise to earn your confidence. Can you say the same about any other law office?

Experience counts, and when it is your life and liberty on the line, you want to hire an expert in the DUI legal field — take a look at our client testimonials for examples of our efficacy. Get in touch today for a free consultation to discuss the many issues related to DUI or DWI, as well as your rights and options. Private criminal defense is an investment into your future, and given the heavy potential penalties of a DUI or DWI conviction, hiring a DUI attorney is an investment well worth making.

More Info

To learn more about avoiding a DUI and finding a good drunk driving attorney in Missoula, check out our blog posts about DUIs:

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We are Missoula-based attorneys focusing on Criminal Defense with a history of winning cases.
Client comfort and confidence is our goal.

Clients Trust Judnich Law


Sue McCay DUI Testimonial
“Marty was my attorney for a DUI, reckless driving, and refusing a breathalyzer test. I was impressed that he always answered my phone calls, and emails promptly. He made me feel that my case was of utmost importance to him, though I was aware that he had many other clients. He listened to my needs and concerns.

My main priority was to get my driving privileges restored, and he was able to accomplish this need by meeting with the prosecutor within days of my request. Marty is very knowledgeable, and very up to date with the intricacies of the law.

My DUI charge was reduced, and the reckless driving charge was dropped. He was able to arrange the minimum penalties for my reduced charge. Mr. Judnich is well respected in the legal community, and this is a great asset for his clients.

I do not hesitate to give Martin Judnich my highest recommendation. He is truly Missoula’s best.”

 Sue McCay


Ethan Clum DUI Testimonial

“Thanks Judnich Law Office!! Marty represented me and I got the result I was looking for. I’m glad I chose your office. Christy and Marty Kept me informed and there was never a question of what the next step was, or what the next action to take was. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!”

— Ethan Clum

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