Montana CDL Traffic Violations: Commercial License Issues

Commercial driver's license (CDL) holders in Montana who commit moving violations may lose their commercial licenses and pay higher-than-normal fines. Rules for traffic violations committed by CDL holders are established in Chapter 61 of the state's revised code.

Out-of-State Tickets

Like other states, Montana includes tickets issued by other states in penalties to Montana licenses. For example, if you are convicted of a DUI or traffic violation in Montana, you could be subject to the penalties for a second-time offender due to having a prior ticket or violation in another state.

Violations While Driving a Private Vehicle

Under Montana law, driving violations while you operate a private vehicle may still affect your commercial license. DUIs and excessive speeding, in particular, will affect a CDL.

Moving Violations

In Montana speeding, failing to stop and illegally changing lanes are all moving violations. The legislature establishes fines for these violations, but local authorities (such as the state's department of transportation or county governments) can change the fines. Because of this, the exact values of fines are not included in the state's statutes, but instead change in each county. Speeding fines increase depending on the number of miles per hour you exceeded the limit, but they do not exceed $500. These rules apply regardless of whether a commercial vehicle was towing a trailer at the time of the offense. Fines for lane violations follow the same rules as those for speeding and in general also do not exceed $500.

Three points may also be ascribed against your license for moving violations. These points may apply to either your private license or your CDL, or both, depending on the local authority's discretion.

CDL-Specific Violations

You may face fines for operating a commercial vehicle which is heavier than the state permits on a certain road, failing to make complete entries in your logbook or violating grade restrictions. The amount of these fines differs depending on the severity of the violation, but fines do not exceed $1,000.

DUI Violations

In Montana a CDL holder with 0.04 percent or more blood alcohol content commits a DUI. Penalties for a first DUI include between 24 hours to 6 months in jail, a 6-month license suspension, a fine of $300 to $1,000, required completion of a treatment program and possibly the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. A second DUI is punished by 7 days to 6 months in jail, a fine of $600 to $1,000, a year-long license suspension, completion of an alcohol treatment program and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

If you are convicted of a DUI, regardless of whether it occurred while you were driving a commercial vehicle, your license will be suspended for the first violation. A second violation results in a lifetime revocation. You will also receive 10 points against your license.

Impact on Your CDL

Montana allows CDL holders who have their licenses suspended to appeal the suspension with the local traffic agency. This procedure is an administrative one, meaning that it does not occur before a court but rather the agency's tribunal. To retain your license, you or your attorney must demonstrate the evidence does not support the allegations. A case is only dismissible if no evidence of the violation is provided by the state prosecution or ticketing agency.

Getting Legal Advice

If you want to know the potential penalties you may face for a moving violation or DUI, seek legal advice. An attorney will review your case and discuss with you the punishments you might receive.

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