You might be amazed just how many people drive in Montana with a suspended license. Whether one’s license is suspended from unpaid fines or refusing to submit to a field sobriety test, it is hard for a lay person to realize the consequences of being pulled over for driving with a suspended license. No matter what caused a license suspension, the reality of being a working adult in the Flathead Valley, without the ability to drive to your job, is frightening. We lack any significant public transportation and relying on friends and family for transportation can be difficult and unreliable. In other words, good luck keeping your job if you can’t drive to it.
Last year, the Montana legislature changed the sentencing provisions for driving with a suspended license. What does this mean if you are facing a driving with a suspended license charge? It means you can no longer qualify for a public defender with a first offense charge, despite facing significant penalties, such as prolonged license suspension. 61-5-212, MCA. The system essentially throws a cement block to a drowning person, especially if the suspension resulted from failure to pay a fine. Not only will you owe the past fines and added penalties, but you will receive the added bonus of additional fines due to your new driving while suspended conviction. 61-5-218, MCA. You could also be facing jail time for multiple offenses, and face losing your job as a direct result of being unable to drive to work. Id.
Be informed and know your rights. If you are facing a driving with a suspended license charge, contact our office. We can guide you and find a path that potentially leads to: 1) obtaining a valid license and 2) working with prosecutors to help ensure that you do not lose your driving privileges for an even greater amount of time. The attorneys at Bryan, diStefano & Mattingley, PLLP have defended many cases in the state system and possess extensive knowledge in this area, please contact our office to set up an appointment.