What is the true cost of a DUI?

If you choose to drink and drive, you should be prepared to pay out a lot of money for your evening of imbibing the spirit of choice.

The Montana Department of Sate Traffic Highway Safety recently developed information about the true costs of being charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

Montana laws state it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

No proof of impairment is required. A commercial vehicle operator’s threshold is a BAC of 0.04 and the threshold for a person under the age of 21 is a BAC of 0.02.

In 2013, a marijuana-impaired driving law went into effect that establishes 5 ng/ml of Delat-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC as excessive marijuana concentration.

Again, no proof of impairment is required.

The impact of a DUI conviction can include, but is not limited to the following:

Driving Record – serious traffic convictions stay on a person’s record for life and can impact vehicle insurance with higher rates or cancellation of the policy.

DUI convictions stack up – the fourth DUI conviction is a felony and can be considered in any future sentencing, no matter how minor.

Employment – positions that require driving include a review or the driver’s record. DUIs in a private vehicle can impact commercial driving privileges-up to suspension for life.

Ability to drive-after just one DUI/BAC conviction, a driver’s license will be suspended for six months for the first offense and one year or more subsequent offenses.

A DUI can cost a first-time offender $5,000 to $6,000.

Fines may range for $300 to $1,000.

Court costs may cost you between $135- $500 with a trial.

Attorney fees could run you $70 an hour for a public defender, $100-$300 an hour for private counsel.

A chemical dependency assessment and mandatory alcohol class are $325 and up.

A driver license reinstatement fee is $200.

Costs vary widely for a vehicle impound and two.

Additional options a judge may order:

Ignition interlock - $75 to $120 for installation, plus $70 a month.

A Transdermal alcohol monitoring device is $12 a day or $360 a month.

A 24-7 Sobriety Program is $4 a day or $120 a month.

A DUI crash can easily cost you more the $100,000 if injuries are involved.

The best idea for those who choose to drink is to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, arrange for a taxi if you plan to drink in a larger city, or use a community safe-ride program though the Conrad City Police or the PCSO.

Editor’s note: For copies of a brochure with more DUI information, contact Lorelle Demont of the MDT at (406) 444-741 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .