Montana ACT Program Providers

Almost every DUI I handle that doesn’t result in a not-guilty verdict or an outright dismissal includes a requirement that the defendant complete an approved ACT Program and complete any suggested follow-up treatment.

Currently in Kalispell, there is only one approved ACT Provider: Flathead Valley Chemical Dependency Clinic. As of today, they are charging $375 for the program. They can be reached by calling 756-6453 for the Kalispell office. They also have offices in Eureka, Libby, and Thompson Falls.

The next closest alternative for those of us in the Flathead is Western Montana Addiction Services, with offices in Missoula and Polson. In Missoula, they can be reached at 406-532-9800 and in Polson their number is 406-883-7310.

As a reminder, completing the ACT class is often a condition of a plea deal. If you have plead in a DUI case (or to reckless driving where the original charges were DUI) and agreed to enroll in the ACT program within a certain amount of time: MAKE SURE YOU DO IT. The last thing you want is to jeopardize your freedom because you didn’t get moving and make a phone call to take a class.

If you have any questions about the ACT Class or ACT Providers, please call me at 406-752-6373. I offer a free first meeting with people accused of DUI so you’ve really got nothing to lose.

Deferred Prosecutions in Montana DUI

A deferred prosecution is a type of plea bargain, and basically a contract with the Court where you agree to meet certain conditions in exchange for the Court agreeing to postpone prosecution of your case. If you complete all the requirements, your case will be dismissed and no conviction will be entered against you. Let that sink in for a minute. No conviction. Not for anything. You can see why deferred prosecutions are very appealing to Montana DUI defendants.

In a way, a deferred prosecution is like a bet with the Court. You are betting that you can go the required time without having any more legal troubles. If you win the bet, you get a great result. If you lose the bet, you generally get a worse result. Because not only do you have the original problem bearing down on you again, but you’ve also proven to the prosecutor that you can’t keep your nose clean for a relatively short period of time.

Especially for first time DUI defendants, this case is the only time they will face legal troubles in their lives. For them, a deferred prosecution is an excellent option, and exactly the sort of situation this was designed for. It allows the Court to supervise the person for a period of time and make sure they can stay out of trouble, but (assuming it works) allows the defendant to keep their record clean of a DUI.

Negotiating a deferred sentence in a Montana DUI can be a trick proposition and requires a thorough understanding of the law and procedures surrounding Drunk Driving charges. I offer a free consultation, what have you go to lose?

Montana DUI Plea Agreements

A plea agreement is a compromise between the prosecution and the defense. It typically involves the defendant pleading guilty to some charge (often a less serious one than that originally charged), in exchange for other charges being dropped and often a recommendation from the prosecutor regarding sentencing. For example, a defendant charged with DUI and an open container violation might plead guilty to reckless driving in exchange for having the DUI and open container charges dropped. This is just an example of a possible outcome.

In order to enter into a plea agreement, the defendant must be advised that 1) the Court is not bound by plea agreements; 2) if the Court rejects a plea agreement which calls for a specific recommendation jointly made by the prosecution and defense, the Court shall inform the parties, afford the defendant an opportunity to withdraw the plea, and advise the defendant that if the defendant persists in the guilty plea, the disposition of the case may be less favorable than the plea agreement.

However, if the plea bargain does not involve a recommendation by the prosecution (and only an agreement that the prosecutor will not oppose the defendant’s recommendation) – the Court does not have to allow the defendant to withdraw from a guilty plea.

You may have heard the adage that an oral contract is worth the paper that it is printed on, but in Montana – an oral plea bargain is binding. This can be helpful to those charged with DUI when the prosecutor makes an offer he later regrets. But it can be a problem when the defendant regrets his decision later. So remember, always think carefully and consult an attorney before entering into any sort of plea bargaining for Montana DUI.