Montana Drunk Drivers Learn How to Beat the System

By Beacon Staff

Some officials in Montana say repeat drunk drivers have learned how to avoid severe penalties by simply refusing to blow into a breath analyzer, and the state should eliminate the problem by making that refusal a crime.

Jim Smith represents the Montana County Attorneys Association and says it’s the biggest loophole and the top thing to change if the state wants to get serious about drunk drivers.

But advocates say they could face tough opposition in Republican state Sen. Jim Shockley of Victor.

Shockley is a member of the legislative interim committee reviewing possible DUI law changes.

Shockley says he doesn’t think criminalizing a refusal to take a breath test fits with the state’s constitution and wouldn’t make it through the Montana Supreme Court.

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