Montana law establishes certain conditions under which a driver’s license or driving privilege is withdrawn from someone who violates traffic laws or who is otherwise not entitled to use our highways. It is important that people understand and inform themselves of the responsibilities of having a license. Under state law, a driver’s license may be suspended, revoked, or cancelled.
Driver License Suspension
When a driver’s license is suspended, the privilege to drive a motor vehicle upon public highways is withdrawn for a specified period.
|Basis for Suspension||Number of Convictions, Refusals or Violations||Period of Suspension|
|Driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater||first conviction||6-month suspension|
|second or subsequent conviction within 5 years||1-year suspension|
|Refusal to submit to alcohol testing (implied consent or preliminary alcohol screening test)||first refusal||6-month suspension|
|second or subsequent refusal||1-year suspension|
|Operation of a vehicle by a person under 21 years of age with a BAC of 0.02% or more||first conviction||90-day suspension|
|second conviction||6-month suspension|
|third conviction||1-year suspension|
|Commercial driver operating a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more||first violation||1-year suspension|
|first violation, if transporting hazardous materials requiring a placard||3-year suspension|
|second or subsequent violation||Suspension for life (reinstatement may be reconsidered after 10 years)|
|Non-payment of fines or non-appearance on a notice to appear||n/a||Indefinite suspension until all conditions of court sentence are met|
|Failure to pay child support||n/a||Indefinite suspension until child support obligations are met|
|Default on a student loan||n/a||Indefinite suspension until student loan association notifies Motor Vehicle Division of compliance|
|Unsatisfied judgment||n/a||6-year suspension|
|Driver medically unable to safely operate a motor vehicle||n/a||Indefinite unless the medical condition changes|
There are other penalties after conviction for alcohol-related driving offenses:
- In the 24/7 Sobriety Program, drivers charged or convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense can be ordered to undergo twice-daily breath tests or to wear a bracelet that monitors alcohol in their bodies.
- Authority of court to order participation in a sobriety program: MCA 44-4-1205
- Additional impaired driving information can be found through the Montana Department of Transportation.
Ignition Interlock Vendors
A driver who has been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or with an alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more may be restricted to operating a vehicle that is equipped with an ignition interlock device. The following companies are approved interlock vendors:
10520 Hickman Road, Suite F
Des Moines, IA 50325
DMB Interlock & Safety Services, Inc.
Billings, MT 59101
Smart Start, Inc.
4850 Plaza Drive
Irving, TX 75063-2317
#1 A LifeSafer of Montana – LifeSafer
1660 Jasper Street, Unit I
Aurora, CO 80011
Clean Start of Montana, LLC
P.O. Box 1332
Bozeman, MT 59771
Toll Free: 1-800-820-4637
For the following violations, Montana law and other established rules, regulations and standards mandate that a driver’s license is suspended for varied periods lasting from 30 days to one year (or in some cases, indefinitely). These violations include, but are not limited to:
- drivers convicted of three reckless driving offenses committed within a period of 12 months
- drivers who use a motor vehicle in the theft of motor vehicle fuel
- failure to obtain required medical evaluation or submit to testing
- fraudulent application for a license to drive
- falsifying a date of birth on a driver’s license application
- altering a driver’s license or identification card to obtain alcohol
- authorizing another person to use your license or identification card to obtain alcohol
- any unlawful use of a driver license
Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)
Under 45-5-624 of the Montana Code Annotated, MIP convictions are not recorded on an individual’s Montana driving record. However, a driver license suspension resulting from an MIP conviction is permanently recorded on the offender’s driving record.
Confiscation – A driver license confiscation is not the same as a suspension. Confiscation is between the violator and the court. If a person with a driver’s license is convicted of an MIP violation, the court must confiscate the license:
- first MIP offense – 30-day confiscation
- second or subsequent MIP offense – 6-month confiscation
A violator who drives during a period of driver license confiscation may be charged with driving without a license. A violator may also be subject to additional sentencing provisions imposed by the court.
Suspension for failure to complete substance abuse course – Under Montana’s MIP law, violators who fail to complete a community-based substance abuse course may have their driver’s licenses suspended:
- first failure to complete substance abuse course – 3-month suspension
- second failure – 9-month suspension
- third or subsequent failure – 12-month suspension
Driver License Revocation
When a license is revoked, it is terminated for a specific reason and may not be renewed or restored. When the period of revocation expires and the individual meets all of the requirements to be licensed, that person must then apply for a new license, completing applications, paying all fees and taking all applicable knowledge and skills tests.
|Conviction||Period of Revocation|
|Negligent homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle||1 year|
|Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used (including 4th offense DUI/BAC violations)||1 year|
|Failure to stop and render aid as required in the event of a motor vehicle accident resulting in the death or personal injury of another||1 year|
|Perjury or the making of false affidavit or statement under oath relating to the ownership or operation of motor vehicles||1 year|
|Negligent vehicular assault involving a motor vehicle||1 year|
|Habitual traffic offender accumulating 30 or more conviction points within a three-year period||3 years|
To reinstate registration after a second or subsequent conviction for no insurance:
- Follow any instructions that the judge or court gave
- Provide proof of liability insurance to the Motor Vehicle Division Records and Driver Control Unit in Helena
- Mailing address:
P.O. Box 201430
Helena MT 59620-1430
- Purchase restricted registration and plates at your local County Treasurer’s office
- When your suspension period is complete in 90 or 180 days, return to your local County Treasurer’s office to have a new registration printed that removes the restriction
If you have questions or need additional information, please call 406-444-3289.
When a license is cancelled, it is terminated because a person is no longer entitled to it. However, upon meeting certain requirements, a person whose license has been cancelled may reapply for another license. Examples of cancellation include:
- the death of the person signing a minor’s application
- fraud and/or falsifying information on an application for a license to drive
- paying for a driver’s license service with a non-sufficient funds check
- removal of parental consent
- voluntary surrender of a license
- a license is suspended or revoked in another state
Instructions for Paying a Reinstatement Fee
- Send your payment (check or money order only) to:
Motor Vehicle Division
Records and Driver Control Bureau
P.O. Box 201430
Helena MT 59620-1430
- Make the check or money order payable to the Motor Vehicle Division (U.S. funds only). Credit cards are not accepted.
- Include your driver license number (if known) and full name and date of birth with your payment.