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Commercial Drivers License and DUI in Montana

Montana DUI laws have created a distinction between “commercial” and “noncommercial” vehicles.  Montana law has defined a “commercial driver’s license” as a driver’s license that authorizes a person to operate a class of commercial motor vehicle and allows a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle. Montana law has also defined a “commercial motor vehicle” as a motor vehicle in commerce to transport passengers or property that is  26,001 pounds or more, is designed to transport at least 16 passengers including the driver, is a school bus, or is used in the transportation of hazardous materials. Some vehicles, however, are exempt to the above rule like emergency vehicles or signaling equipment.

Blood or Breathalyzer Tests

Montana law establishes different penalties for holders of commercial driver’s licenses who refuse blood or breathalyzer tests. In general, individuals who have commercial licenses are responsible for invaluable materials or actual human lives, and are therefore held to a higher standard. The breakdown is as follows:

First Refusal

-          Suspension of license for one year

Second or Subsequent Refusal

-          Suspension of license for life

  • However, the person has the possibility for reinstatement after 10 years

“Excessive Alcohol Concentration” for Commercial Vehicles

The offense “Excessive Alcohol Concentration” stipulates a different set of elements for an individual who is operating a commercial motor vehicle. The required alcohol concentration for a violation is less than the requirement for operation of a noncommercial motor vehicle. The elements are as follows:

  1. Drive OR be in actual physical control;
  2. Of a commercial motor-vehicle; AND
  3. The person’s alcohol concentration is 0.04 or more;

Penalties

A person driving a commercial vehicle is still held to the same above stated penalties for “Excessive Alcohol Concentration.” However, an individual may receive more punishment if they are operating a commercial vehicle and are found in violation of the “Excessive Alcohol Concentration” statute. The following are a list of additional penalties

-          License temporarily suspended by an officer for one year, three if the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials.

-          Individual will be out of service for at least 24 hours.


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