Libby, MT DUI Attorney

A person charged with Driving Under the Influence in Libby, MT may face misdemeanor or felony DUI charges depending on facts specific to each offense. The charges may be filed in Libby city court, Lincoln County Justice Court, or Lincoln County District Court. Misdemeanor charges can be heard in city and justice court, while felony charges must take place in District Court.

Libby City Court is for misdemeanor DUIs which take place in Libby City limits. A drunk driving conviction in Libby City Court, or any city court, is very serious. A conviction is a permanent part of your criminal history and subjects you to the same penalties as in another court.

A DUI trial in Libby operates under the same rules as the rest of Montana. It occurs in the courtroom, and involves a judge. Testimony, evidence and arguments are admitted by attorneys and guilt or innocence is determined by a judge or jury. Some people believe that city court charges are somehow less important or serious that other courts. This is not true. You must protect your rights in city court as in Justice Court or District Court. DUI convictions in Libby are a serious matter and worth addressing.

As with any DUI charges, I offer a free consultation for defendants in Libby City Court or Lincoln County Justice or District Court. Call today to schedule a free appointment.

Helping Drunk Drivers?

As a Montana criminal defense attorney and DUI defense lawyer, I often get asked how I can justify what I do. The person who asks this question always seems to think that I am making the world a more dangerous place for Montana drivers, by ensuring that dangerous people aren’t punished for their drunk driving. The answer to that question is complex, and has a lot to do about my role in a larger system.

That’s why I was glad to see Justin McShane’s post on the PA DUI Blog, which I think is a terrific answer to a tough question. Justin writes:

Please keep in mind this important fact, I do not make the decisions about who is guilty and not guilty of a crime.  Judges and juries make these decisions.  My only job is to present the facts of the case and ensure that the prosecution has met its burden of proof of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  I have tried hundreds of DUI cases and not once has a judge dismissed a case just because they liked me.  Every single case that has been dismissed, withdrawn or found not guilty, has been because of a legal issue that warrants that action.

In reality, defense attorneys work hard to protect their clients from false prosecution.  If you doubt the dark reality of false prosecutions, please take a look at the Innocence Project and see how many people have been exonerated.  The nature of DUI cases and the heavy reliance on intangible evidence makes these cases especially prone to mistakes.

These are the things I try to remind people of when I’m accosted for what I do. Thankfully, any legal charges (especially for DUI), must be proven in a Court of law. My job is to represent my clients in the best way possible to make sure all their rights are protected and the state plays fair.

I sleep just fine at night, thank you very much.

Drunk Driving in Kalispell

If you are arrested for Drunk Driving in Kalispell, Montana, you could find yourself in any one of a number of different courts. If you were arrested by Kalispell City Police for DUI within Kalispell city limits, you will likely be charged in Kalispell City Court with Judge Heidi Ulbricht. If you are arrested by County or State Officers, like the Flathead County Sheriff’s Department or the Montana Highway Patrol, you will be tried in Flathead County Court, meaning either Flathead Justice Court or Flathead District Court.

Almost certainly, the initial appearance for a DUI will be in Justice Court. At this hearing, you will be advised of your rights and often enter a plea of guilty or not-guilty. I almost-always recommend that people plead not-guilty at this stage.

Whether your charges are a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI will determine where your case goes from there. Misdemeanor DUIs are tried in Justice Court, while felony DUIs take place in District Court. For a standard DUI, whether your charges are misdemeanor or felony depend on the number of past convictions for DUI you have. A first, second, and third DUI in Montana is a misdemeanor offense. A fourth or subsequent DUI in Montana is a felony.

It is important to realize that Drunk Driving charges can have lasting effects on your life and should be treated very seriously. While it may be tempting to quickly plead guilty and have the whole affair over with, the quick fix now may haunt you for the rest of your life.

I offer a free initial consultation for people charged with DUI in Montana, and would be happy to discuss your case with you at no charge. Please consider calling me today at (406) 752-6373.

DUI in Flathead Justice Court

In Montana, a person’s first, second, and third conviction for DUI are misdemeanor offenses. This means that your case will generally be held in Justice Court. In Flathead County, the Justice Court is located on the second floor of the Justice Center.

The fourth and subsequent convictions are felonies, meaning that they must be heard in District Court, and not in Justice in Court. Justice Court is a County Court, with jurisdiction over whatever happens in the County. That means that if you are arrested for DUI in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, or Bigfork – you may end up in Flathead County Justice Court.

Make no mistake, Justice Court is a very real court with very real judges who can sentence you to very real jail time. Some people have the mistaken impression that Justices of the Peace only marry people. But as many DUI offenders in Flathead County can attest, a Justice of the Peace can also sentence offenders to jail time. As we’ve discussed before, even a first offense for DUI can carry up to six months in prison. That is why it is so important you protect yourself when accused of DUI in Flathead County. If you, or someone you know, has been charged with Drunk Driving, please call me today for a free consultation.