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3 things you need to know when stopped on suspicion of drunk driving

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2021 | Criminal Law |

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Drunk driving is a bad idea. You should not drive while drunk because you do not want to endanger anyone’s life, including yours. 

Montana is one of the deadliest states when it comes to drunk driving accidents. In fact, according to an NHTSA report, nearly 30% of all fatal crashes involve at least one driver whose BAC is higher than 0.08%, the state’s legal limit. Because of this, you can expect the authorities to be aggressive about potential drunk drivers.

If you are ever pulled over on the suspicion of drunk driving, there are a number of things you should know. Here are some of them:

Montana is an implied consent state

Under Montana’s Implied Consent Law, every licensed driver in the state must agree to take a chemical test when stopped by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of driving under influence. The test can include a breath, blood or urine test and is always taken at the police station when you have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. 

Refusing to take the chemical test can land you in trouble

Declining to submit to the chemical test in Montana can result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license for a period not exceeding six months. Plus, the prosecution can use the decision to refuse a chemical test as evidence against you in court.

However, this law does not apply when it comes to a field sobriety test (where the police may request you to perform certain physical tasks under supervision). These, you are free to refuse without putting your license or future in danger.

Your encounter with the police might be taped

These days, pretty much every encounter between the police and the public is videotaped as a way to protect both parties. As such, you should assume your DUI stop is being taped and carefully weigh what you say and do. Be polite and cooperate with the police to the best of your ability – all the while keeping in mind that everything you say and do can be used against you in court. 

Drunk driving is a serious offense that attracts a severe penalty. If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of driving under the influence, it is important that you know what you should (and shouldn’t) do to ensure that you do not hurt your case should you go to trial.