Montana prohibits driving without a valid license—suspended, revoked, or never issued. This article explains what constitutes these violations, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the rule.
Every person who operates a motor vehicle on a Montana highway generally must possess and be able to display a valid driver's license.
Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving (meaning the driver was never issued a license) is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
License not in possession. A driver who is licensed but is unable to display a valid license to a requesting officer can be arrested. However, the charge will be dismissed if the driver can subsequently present a then-valid license to the court or officer.
Exceptions. Deployed military and non-resident drivers with valid driver's licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without a Montana license, subject to Montana age restrictions. Military personnel can drive military vehicles without a driver's license on highways. Farmers driving tractors and engineers driving trains can also temporarily drive or cross over highways without a license. And youth between ages 12 and 16 can operate an off-highway vehicle with an "off-highway vehicle safety education course," but only temporarily along forest development roads.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license will face jail time, fines, and an extended license suspension.
Suspended. Generally, driving while suspended or revoked will result in a fine of up to $500, up to six months in jail, or both.
A second offense carries at least two days in jail, with a maximum of six months. And the court may still issue a fine of up to $500.
DUI-related. Driving while suspended carries increased penalties if the suspension was related to a DUI incident. Convicted persons must serve at least two days in jail, with a maximum of six months. The court can also order the motorist to pay a maximum $2,000 fine and complete up to 40 hours of community service.
A second or subsequent offense carries the same penalties as a first but can also include:
All convictions for driving while suspended or revoked will result in an additional one-year suspension or revocation.