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Drunk and carrying a concealed weapon? It’s illegal

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | Criminal Law |

Residents of Montana don’t need a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public, but there are certain corner cases when having a concealed weapon could get you into trouble with the law.

Let’s say you’re driving one night after drinking with friends. You have a concealed firearm on your person, and you’re just trying to return home from the bar. Suddenly, a police car motions you to a traffic stop because of your inebriated driving.

If the officer finds you drunk and discovers your concealed firearm, not only do you face a charge for driving under the influence, but the cop can also additionally charge you for possessing a concealed weapon while drunk.

The law on illegal weapon possession while drunk

According to Montana law, a person violates the law if they have a concealed weapon while under the influence of an intoxicating substance such as alcohol or drugs. If convicted of this offense, you could face jail time of up to six months and pay as much as $500 in fines.

Having a permit isn’t an excuse

But what if you have a concealed carry permit?

This year, Montana started to issue an enhanced concealed carry license, allowing residents to carry concealed firearms in other states. Can this license exempt you from a weapons offense charge if you’re caught possessing a concealed weapon while drunk?

Unfortunately, state law explicitly says that you can’t use the defense that you have a concealed carry license if you’re charged with possession while intoxicated.

In summary, having a concealed weapon on you while drunk is an offense that comes with both fines and jail time. It may not be a serious criminal offense, but you should treat this weapon charge seriously in court.