Driving on a Suspended License in Montana
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Driving privileges of Montana drivers may be suspended or revoked for many reasons, including certain convictions or failures to appear in court for criminal charges. Like all states, Montana takes driving on a suspended or revoked license seriously. If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you may be charged with a crime.
Reasons for Suspension or Revocation
Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for certain criminal convictions. For example, it may be suspended if you are convicted of:
- driving under the influence,
- three reckless driving charges within 12 months,
- or theft of gasoline. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-205(2).)
Your license may be revoked if you are convicted of:
- negligent homicide resulting from operating a vehicle
- a felony, if a vehicle was used to commit it
- failing to stop if you are involved in an accident causing death or injury to another
- fleeing or eluding a police officer, or
- negligent vehicular assault. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-205(1).)
Your license may be suspended if you do not follow certain court orders, including:
- failure to appear for court after you are issued a complaint, summons or court order for certain misdemeanor charges,
- failure to comply with sentences for certain convictions, including fines or restitution. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-214(1).)
Reinstating Your License
The length of your suspension or revocation may depend on the reason for the suspension, whether you have previous suspensions, and other factors. You should not drive while your license is suspended or revoked. After your period of suspension or revocation expires, you may need to pay a reinstatement fee, other fees, or complete other conditions before you may legally drive again.
Typical reinstatement fees are $100. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-218 (1).) Under certain conditions, your reinstatement fee may be $200. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-2-107.) Your reinstatement fee may be reduced by 50 percent if you complete a driver rehabilitation program. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-219.) You do not have to pay a reinstatement fee if your license was suspended because the department concluded that you lacked the ability to safely control your vehicle after a medical examination or after you were required to re-take a driving test. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-218(2)(b).)
Criminal Charges for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
You may be charged with a misdemeanor if you drive while your license is suspended or revoked. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-307.) If you are convicted, you may sentenced to:
- between two days and six months in jail, and
- a fine up to $500. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-212(b)(i).)
If your license was suspended or revoked due to certain convictions, including DUI, you may be sentenced to:
- between two days and six months in jail,
- a fine up to $2,000, and
- up to 40 hours of community service. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-212(b)(ii).)
As a result of a conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license, your period of suspension or revocation may be extended for a year. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-212 (2)(a).) In certain circumstances, your vehicle may be impounded. (Mont. Code. Ann. § 61-5-212 (2)(b).)
Legal Help for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
A conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license comes with serious consequences. As you have learned, you may be fined, sentenced to jail, and may lose your license for a longer period of time. Your ability to stay employed, to go to school, and generally live your life may be affected.
The law provides specific penalties for this crime, but sentences are also determined by the attitude that prosecutors and judges in your area have of driving on a suspended or revoked license. Only a lawyer who is familiar with how these charges are handled in your area will be able to give you this information.