Powerful Advocacy,  Investigation, Negotiation, and Litigation

The financial consequences of your first DUI in Montana

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2023 | Criminal Law |

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Montana, you may be facing a range of financial consequences in addition to the potential criminal penalties. The economic impact of a DUI can be significant, from fines and fees to increased insurance rates and lost employment opportunities – even a first offense can cost you a pretty penny.

This blog will take a closer look at these consequences.

Fines for conviction, enhancements

If a Montana court convicts you of DUI for the first time, it can order you to pay a fine between $600 and $1,000. The court may require just the fine or you to also serve up to six months of jail time.

However, if you had at least one passenger under 16 during the time of the offense, a court can instead impose a fine between $1,200 and $2,000 – effectively double the amount of what you would’ve paid if you didn’t have a minor passenger.

Driver’s license restoration fees

In the lead-up to your DUI charge, suppose an officer pulled you over for a traffic stop and you refused to undergo blood or breath tests. In that case, the officer can seize your license and forward it to the Montana Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to process the suspension of your driving privileges.

This suspension period lasts up to a year, and only after the period ends can you reinstate your license. However, this process isn’t free – you’ll have to pay a $100 fee to the MVD.

Ignition interlock device installation

While your driver’s license is under suspension, a court might grant you a probationary license allowing you to drive only to specific places, such as school and work. But apart from limiting the places you can drive to, this license also restricts you to driving a car with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed.

It costs about $100 to have an IID installed in your car, and about $2.50 a day to rent it. Considering that a court can order you to use this device for six months to a year, your rental costs can quickly add up.

A conviction for DUI also leads to other financial impacts, such as a potential increase in auto insurance premiums. You might also have to pay to have your vehicle released from impoundment. To learn more about the penalties of a DUI, consider consulting a legal professional. More than the financial cost, a DUI also leads to jail time and a criminal record, so it’s best to have an attorney explain your defense options.