Drivers can receive traffic tickets in Montana for a wide range of traffic violations. Regardless of whether you are interested in contesting a traffic ticket in MT or you decide to pay the traffic fine, you must settle the issue by the date displayed on the ticket in order to avoid further penalties. The processes of paying driving fines and fighting traffic tickets in MT may vary from county to county, due to the different practices of separate state courts. To resolve certain types of MT traffic violations, motorists will be required to make a mandatory court appearance. Learn more about Montana traffic citations and how to settle them in the sections below:
- Fighting a Montana ticket.
- Paying a Montana ticket.
- Lost tickets in Montana.
- Montana fines and penalties.
- Points in Montana.
- How tickets affect a Montana drivers license.
- Montana car insurance fines and violations.
Fighting a Montana Ticket
The process of contesting a traffic ticket in Montana can generally be initiated by appearing at the presiding court on the date of arraignment, which is displayed on the MT traffic ticket. After submitting a plea of not guilty, the judge will set your trial date about six to eight weeks from your first court appearance. Fighting traffic tickets in MT is a procedure that may be comprised of two steps. Drivers will first be required to attend a pretrial hearing, during which, they will have an opportunity to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser punishment. If you do not settle your traffic citation issue at the pretrial hearing, you will be required to attend your official court hearing.
After presenting your MT traffic ticket defense, the judge will render a decision. A verdict of not guilty to a traffic violation will exempt the driver from paying the ticket violation payment, and his or her driving record will remain unaffected. If you are found guilty, on the other hand, you will be required to pay the MT traffic fine in its entirety. You may also be required to pay additional court-set costs, and the conviction will be reported on your driver's record.
Note: Depending on the court handling your case, you may also be eligible for a deferred sentence. This decision remains at the discretion of the presiding judge who generally takes into consideration your driving history and the nature of the offense.
Paying a Montana Ticket
Paying traffic tickets online in Montana is the fastest and most convenient method of providing your fine payment within the state. Note that the methods available to pay driving tickets in MT may vary from county to county, as not all state courts offer the option to pay traffic ticket online. If you are unable to pay your ticket and settle the traffic citation issue via the internet, you will still be able to submit your payment in person or by mail. Learn more about the process of paying driving fines in Montana by visiting the "How to Pay Traffic Tickets" page.
Lost Tickets in Montana
Regardless of whether drivers decide to pay traffic citations in Montana or they choose to dispute traffic tickets through the state court system, they must have the citation information in their possession. Therefore, drivers who lose their MT traffic tickets may encounter certain difficulties when completing either procedure. The process of retrieving the data from a lost ticket can easily be completed by contacting the court that is handling your case and providing your personal details, such as full name, date of birth and license number.
Montana Fines and Penalties
If you are unable to dismiss traffic tickets in Montana by preparing a traffic ticket defense, you will be required to pay the fine associated with the citation. Note that in addition to the base MT traffic fine, drivers may also be required to pay additional surcharge costs. The total payable costs vary from county to county since courts adhere to the Bond Schedule published by the state Supreme Court, which sets the minimum and the maximum fine amount for each traffic violation.
Review several offenses that incur traffic citations in Montana and their resulting fines in the following list:
- Failure to stop for a school bus that is being boarded: $10 to $100
- Reckless driving: $25 to $300
- Speeding above the posted limit: $0 to $500
- Permitting operation of your vehicle without the proper liability insurance: $250 to $500
In addition to the MT traffic tickets payments outlined above, drivers may also be subject to further penalties, such as suspension or revocation of their driving privileges and/or a jail sentence.
Points in Montana
Drivers who are unable to beat a traffic ticket in Montana generally receive a specific number of points on their driving records when they are convicted of a traffic violation within the state. Note that certain offenses punishable by traffic tickets will not result in demerit points, regardless of whether or not the conviction was reported on the driver's record. The amount of assigned points varies based on the nature of the offense. The following list outlines several examples of traffic infractions and their corresponding point penalties in MT:
- Following another vehicle too closely: 2 points.
- Speeding violations: 3 points.
- Failure to report an accident: 4 points.
- Reckless driving: 5 points.
- Driving while suspended: 6 points.
- Driving under the influence: 10 points.
Note: The state Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) or the court handling your MT traffic citation case may offer you the option of enrolling in an approved traffic school program for purposes of points reduction or ticket dismissal. Contact the state MVD or the presiding court to enquire about the availability of this option.
How Tickets Affect a Montana Drivers License
Motorists who were issued traffic tickets in Montana may also be at risk of loss of their driving privileges, in addition to paying a speeding ticket or other types of citations. Under the rules and regulations of the state point system, accumulation of a certain number of demerit points on your driving record may lead to license suspensions or revocations. For example, drivers who commit MT traffic violations which result in 30 points within a three-year period will be penalized with a driving license revocation. Note that certain types of offenses may even result in immediate credential suspensions or revocations.
Montana Car Insurance Fines and Violations
Drivers can also receive traffic citations in Montana for failure to present proof of a valid vehicle insurance policy after participating in a traffic accident or upon request from a law enforcement official. To avoid paying driving fines in MT for an insurance-related violation, motorists must maintain a minimum coverage of at least $10,000 for property damages, $25,000 for bodily injuries or death of one individual and $50,000 for bodily injuries or death of all participants in the accident.
Note: Since information regarding convictions of traffic violations in MT is available to car insurance providers within the state, drivers who commit several offenses within a certain time period may also be subject to an increase of their vehicle insurance rates.