In Montana, it’s illegal for anyone with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent to operate a motor vehicle. Most drivers here are familiar with this law and its consequences — a DUI or blood-alcohol conviction stays on your driving record for life.
But with the legalization of medical marijuana in Montana and the recreational use legalized in nearby states (and in Montana based on today’s election outcome), it means there will be more drivers hitting the road after they’ve smoked, vaped, eaten, or otherwise consumed marijuana.
It’s illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana because you’re considered an impaired driver. In Montana, drivers who are pulled over and found to have 5 ng/ml of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, one of the active chemicals in marijuana) in their system are legally considered impaired, though they don’t even need to have that much in their blood if there is sufficient evidence of impairment. With Montana’s implied consent laws, law enforcement can legally test a driver’s blood if they’ve been legally pulled over, even if the driver refuses at the moment.
The punishments for marijuana-impaired driving are the same as those for excessive blood-alcohol content: first offense costs $600-$1,000 in fines (not including court costs) and potentially six months in jail. The second offense faces a mandatory five days in jail to a potential year and doubles the fines. The fines are doubled again for the third offense, and mandatory jail time rises to 30 days.
This charge also means losing your driver’s license for at least 6 months depending on the number of offenses on your record.
At Terrazas Henkel P.C., we know the law. We’ll listen to your side of the story, perform our own investigation, and work with our negotiation and litigation experience to find the best solution for you. A criminal charge can affect your entire life, and we want to make sure it doesn’t have an outsized impact. Call us at 406-541-2550 to talk to our experienced attorneys today.