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Montana Auto Driving Laws

Realizing the need to exercise control over the users of Montana's highways for the protection of our citizens, the Legislature has established certain actions to be taken to withdraw the license or driving privilege of those persons who violate Montana driving law or are otherwise not entitled to the use of our highways.

Many people get into serious trouble with their driver's license because they do not understand or inform themselves of the legal responsibilities of having a license.

Under Montana driving law, there are three separate actions that can be taken against the driver's license or privilege to drive. They are:

Suspension

A suspension is when a license or driving privilege is temporarily withdrawn, and restored when eligible. Examples of suspension under Montana driving law include:

  1. First Offense Driving Under the Influence, or operating with a Blood Alcohol Content of .10 or greater. 6 Months Suspension.
  2. Minor in Possession of alcohol. Minor in Possession (MIP) convictions are no longer reported to the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and MVD does not keep a tally of the number of offenses an offender has committed.
  3. Persons under age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of .02 or greater. 90 day suspension 1st offense. 6 month suspension - 2nd offense. 1 year suspension - 3rd or subsequent offense.
  4. Child Support. Indefinite suspension - until in compliance.
  5. Careless or negligent driving. Up to 1 year suspension.
  6. Default on Student Loan. Indefinite suspension - until notified by student loan association of compliance.
  7. Failure to submit to reexamination. Indefinite - or until requirements are met.
  8. Multiple Violations. May result in warning or suspension of 6 months.
  9. Refusal of Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test. 6 months suspension - 1st offense.
  10. Refusal to submit to alcohol testing (Implied Consent). 6 months suspension - 1st offense.
  11. Unlawful use of a driver's license. 6 months suspension.
  12. Habitually reckless or negligent driver. 6 months suspension.
  13. Nonpayment of fines, or nonappearance on notice to appear. Indefinite - until notified by court of compliance.
  14. Unsatisfied judgement. 6 years suspension.
  15. Fraudulent application for a license to drive. 6 months suspension.
  16. Medical. Indefinite.

Revocation

A revocation is a termination of the license for a specific reason, and may not be renewed or restored. When allowed, the individual must reapply for a new license upon meeting certain requirements. Examples of revocation under Montana driving law include:

  1. Second offense (within 5 years) Driving Under the Influence, or operating with a Blood Alcohol Content of .10 or greater. 1 year revocation - 2nd or subsequent offense.
  2. Minor in Possession of alcohol. 1 year revocation or until age 18 (whichever is last) for 3rd or subsequent offense if under 18 and driving.
  3. Persons under age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of .02 or greater. 1 year revocation or until age 18 (whichever is last) for 3rd or subsequent offense.
  4. Fail to stop and render aid. 1 year revocation.
  5. Felony drug conviction. 1 year revocation.
  6. Felony in which a motor vehicle was used. 1 year revocation.
  7. Habitual Traffic Offender. 3 years revocation.
  8. 2nd or subsequent offense for refusal to submit to alcohol testing (Implied Consent) within 5 years. 1 year revocation.
  9. Negligent homicide. 1 year revocation.
  10. Negligent vehicle assault. 1 year revocation.
  11. Perjury. 1 year revocation.
  12. Possession of intoxicating substance under age 21. This is a revocation action taken by the court.
  13. Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test. 1 year revocation for 2nd or subsequent offense.
  14. Three reckless driving within 1 year. 1 year revocation.

Cancellation

A cancellation is a license that is annulled and terminated because a person is no longer entitled to such license, and they may reapply for another license upon meeting certain requirements. Examples of cancellation under Montana driving law include:

  1. Death of person signing minor's application.
  2. Fraud, and/or falsifying information on application for a license to drive.
  3. Paying for driver license service with non-sufficient funds check.
  4. Removal of parental consent.
  5. Voluntary surrender of license.
  6. Suspended or revoked in another state.

License Restoration

In accordance with Montana traffic laws, with any suspension, revocation or cancellation, certain requirements must be met before a license to drive may be reissued. Under Montana driving law, these requirements may include, but are not limited to:

  • $100 reinstatement fee;
  • Filing proof of financial responsibility for 3 years;
  • Completion of treatment programs;
  • Surrender of old driver's license;
  • Retaking driver examination; and
  • Recommendation of the court.

Driver Improvement Points and the Habitual Traffic Offender Program

In accordance with Montana driving law, each traffic conviction for violations of Montana traffic laws has a certain amount of points assigned to it as defined in the Habitual Traffic Offender law. These points range from zero (0) to fifteen (15) points.

When a record reaches eighteen (18) points within 2 years, a letter is sent to the individual advising that they have been declared a driver in need of rehabilitation and improvement, as defined in 61-11-203, MCA.

Unless they enroll in and successfully complete, within 90 days of notification, a certified driver rehabilitation and improvement course, as provided in 61-2-302, MCA, the driver's license will be suspended for a period not to exceed 6 months or until the person has successfully completed the course, whichever occurs first.

When determined by the record that an individual has thirty (30) habitual offender points within 3 years, the Driver Control Bureau revokes the license for a period of 3 years.

In accordance with Montana driving law, a person revoked as an Habitual Traffic Offender may apply for a probationary license after serving one year of the three year revocation, if eligible.

Depending on the past driving history, proof of financial responsibility must be filed with the Division and all driver license fees must be paid and tests completed before a license is issued. Points under Montana driving law include:

  • Deliberate Homicide - 15 points
  • Negligent Homicide (Vehicular) - 12 points
  • Negligent Vehicular Assault - 12 points
  • Felonies (Vehicular) - 12 points
  • DUI - 10 points
  • BAC of .10 or greater - 10 points
  • Driving while suspended or revoked - 6 points
  • Reckless Driving - driving with willful & wanton disregard for the safety of persons and property - 5 points
  • Drag Racing - 5 points
  • Insurance Violations - 5 points
  • Hit and Run (Property) - 4 points
  • Speeding - 3 points
  • No Driver's License - 2 points
  • Other moving violations - 2 points

Under Montana driving law, a person driving while an Habitual Traffic Offender may be imprisoned for a period not to exceed 1 year, fined not more than $1,000, or both. In addition, a 1 year revocation of the license or privilege to drive will be added to the original revocation.

Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS)

Montana is connected to a nationwide computer system that will search a common computer database to determine if a new applicant for a driver's license is currently suspended or revoked in any jurisdiction.

If you are, you may not make application or renew a license to drive in Montana until your previous driving status is no longer suspended or revoked.

Driving While Suspended or Revoked

Under Montana driving law, any person who drives while their license or privilege to drive is suspended or revoked in Montana, or any other jurisdiction, may be fined not more than $500, sentenced to a minimum of two days in jail and have an additional "like" period of suspension or revocation added to their record.

In addition, a person operating a motor vehicle while their license is suspended or revoked under Montana driving law for an alcohol offense will have their vehicle seized and rendered inoperable by the court for thirty (30) days.

For More Information

Montana Department of Transportation

(Source: StateDrivingLaw.com)


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