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Suspended License Information for Montana

While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's Montana driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).

REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS

There are a variety of reasons why your Montana driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a Montana driver's license to be suspended or revoked.

  • Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Montana operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate points for three or more reckless driving incidents in 12 months on your current driver record, your license will be suspended.
  • Driving Under the Influence. Your Montana driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is found to be 0.08% or more, your license will be suspended for six months if it is a first conviction and for a year for second and subsequent convictions. Refusing to take the alcohol test will also result in suspension of your license. Once again, it is six months for the first conviction and a year for second and subsequent convictions.
  • Minors convicted of DUI. If you are a minor and charged with having a BAC of 0.02% or more, your license will be suspended for 90 days for the first offense, 6 months for the secondand1 year for the third offense.

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  • Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver's license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
  • Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Montana must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
  • Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Montana driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway. Other reasons include three convictions of reckless driving within a year, using a motor vehicle to steal motor vehicle gas, giving false information while applying for a driving license, giving a false date of birth on a driving license application, changing a driver's license or ID card to obtain liquor, allowing another person to use your driving license or ID to obtain alcohol, any unlawful use of a driver's license and failing to obtain medical evaluation or take tests. The suspension period can be anywhere between 30 days to 12 months and sometimes even indefinitely.
  • Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Motor Vehicle Division can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely. This suspension can be indefinite until the medical condition improves.
  • Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include not responding to a Motor Vehicle Division notice or not appearing in court, failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges, defaulting on a student loan, unsatisfied judgment and not paying child support. These offenses will result in indefinite suspension until all the charges have been complied with and the MVD is notified of the same. A conviction of unsatisfied judgment will bring about a 6 year suspension.
  • Minors in possession of Alcohol (MIP). If you are a minor and convicted of this charge, your license will be confiscated by the court for 30 days for a first offense and for 6 months for second or subsequent offenses.
  • Commercial Driver Suspension. If you are a commercial driver and are operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more your license will be suspended for a year if it is a first conviction. If it is a first conviction and you are transporting hazardous material, the suspension period is 3 years. Second and subsequent suspensions will result in your license being suspended for life. A reinstatement may be considered after ten years.
  • Failing to Complete a Substance Abuse Course. The first time you fail to complete such a course will result in a 3 month suspension, the second a 9 month suspension and third or subsequent failure will give you a 12 month suspension.

REASONS FOR DRIVER LICENSE REVOCATION

  • Negligent Homicide. If you are convicted of homicide while using a motor vehicle, your license will be revoked for a year.
  • Felonies. Any felony in which a motor vehicle is used will see your license being revoked for a year.
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident. If you flee from the scene of an accident where there is a death or personal injury, without giving aid, your license will be revoked for a year.
  • Perjury. Any false statements while under oath relating to operating or owning a motor vehicle will result in revocation for a year.
  • Assault by a Vehicle. If you are convicted of this your license will be revoked for a year.
  • Habitual Traffic Offender. If you accumulate 30 or more points within a three year period, your license will be revoked for 3 years.

REASONS FOR CANCELLATION OF A DRIVER'S LICENSE

The following reasons will lead to a cancellation-

  • Death of a parent/guardian who has signed a minor's application.
  • Giving false information while applying for a driver's license.
  • Paying for a driver's license with a check that bounced.
  • Parents withdrawing consent.
  • Surrendering a license of your own free will.
  • A license that has been suspended or revoked in another state.

In certain cases, cancelled licenses may be reinstated after certain conditions have been met.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR MONTANA DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED

Having your Montana driver's license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.

The most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:

  1. If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the Montana Motor Vehicle Divisions. You can surrender your license in person at a County Treasurer's office, or mail it to:
    Motor Vehicle Division
    

    Montana Department of Justice

    303 N. Roberts

    P.O. Box 201430

    Helena, MT 59620-1430

  2. While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased.
  3. After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the Montana MVD.
  4. You may also apply for a restricted probationary license. Fill up the Application for Restricted Probationary License and submit it to the address given above.

APPEALING A SUSPENSION

If you receive a notice of suspension from the MVD, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or the MVD Chief Administrator will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program removes two points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.

It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.

RESTORING YOUR LICENSE

You will receive a notice from the MVD after you have completed your suspension period. The notice will include complete instructions regarding how to get your license back. Generally, you will need to:

  1. Pay a restoration fee. The fee can be paid in person at a County Treasurer's office . You can also mail a check or money order payable to:
    Motor Vehicle Division
    

    Montana Department of Justice

    303 N. Roberts

    P.O. Box 201430

    Helena, MT 59620-1430

  2. Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.

Note that after your license is restored, you may be subject to a probation period of one year, during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your Montana driver's license.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

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