Petaja Law
Petaja Law

Petaja Law fights to ensure your Constitutional and Due Process rights are upheld through aggressive representation at all stages of your case.

Criminal Defense


Driving under the Influence charges-  Petaja Law understands the implications a DUI conviction has on a person's life.  DUI affects a person's ability to legally drive which in Montana can all but make it impossible to earn a living.  Whether a Bozeman resident or an out of state guest, Petaja Law will get you back legally driving while your case is pending whenever possible under the law.


DUI laws continue to become more aggressive.  The Montana Legislature has continued its current trend this 2013 session to implicate stiffer DUI penalties and longer look back periods for enhancing sentences with prior DUI's.  Further, Montana now has a per se marijuana DUI law making it possible for the government to convict you without any evidence of impaired driving based on blood evidence.


Petaja Law has over 6 years representing people in DUI cases and trials.  DUI's are increasingly being charged based on not only alleged alcohol impairment, but legally consumed prescription drugs.  Law enforcement officers are being trained to make inquiries into the driver's personal and protected health care information in an attempt to bolster their case.


From the time you are arrested, Petaja Law provides fair and honest representation.  At your Initial Appearance, I can help ensure your release conditions do not interfere with your work.  Getting your license restored, when possible, is handled first.  Discovery (the police reports/ patrol car videos) is requested and reviewed.  Where necessary, experts are obtained to further evaluate the case.  Potential sobriety witnesses' statements are obtained early on.


DUI's are defended on multiple fronts.  Petaja Law is up-to-date on the current precedent concerning traffic stops.  A suppression motion is filed in cases where the traffic stop is illegal or evidence is obtained unlawfully.  Montana law now allows law enforcement to forcibly withdraw one's blood against their will.  Forced blood draws must comply with certain statutory procedures are they are invalid. 


While plea bargaining is often appropriate in DUI cases, trial can rarely be ruled out.  Petaja Law offers experienced, aggressive trial advocacy to succeed at trial.  Trial by jury is often ultimately necessary in DUI cases as DUI cases are unique in that paid law enforcement officers, trained to testify, are allowed to opine that one is guilty as charged.   


Petaja Law offers a fair approach to DUI retainer fees.  Fees and costs are broken down in stages to allow clients to make informed decisions as their case progresses and they have been able to review the evidence and consult with counsel.  


Partner or Family Member Assault (or "PFMA") charges- PFMA or Partner or Family Member Assault is the equivalent in Bozeman and Montana to what other states refer to as domestic battery or domestic violence.  In Montana arrest is the preferred response to a call of a domestic disturbance.  This means that law enforcement often, with very little evidence, will arrest a person for PFMA based on a call from an reporting party, such as a neighbor, who has little to no personal knowledge of the events that took place.  Further, PFMA is a detainable offense meaning if arrested you will not be eligible for release on bond until you can be seen by a judge.  If arrested Friday evening, you will face imprisonment till Monday.  It is IMPERATIVE you exercise your right to remain silent and contact a lawyer immediately upon questioning by law enforcement.


In most courts in Bozeman and Gallatin County upon arrest for a PFMA the judge will often restrict one's contact with their spouse, fiance, girlfriend, or family member.  The person may be banned from returning to their own home.  Petaja Law has the experience to successfully represent those charged with PFMA at the initial bail hearing to attempt to mitigate some of the overly burdensome conditions often placed on individuals facing PFMA charges.  Where contact will not be allowed, Petaja Law can help secure a Sheriff's escort to obtain vital personal effects from one's residence required to continue to work and live as the case progresses.  Modifications to No Contact Orders can be sought as well.


Often in PFMA cases Orders of Protections are sought by the opposing party.  It is important to have representation at these hearings to ensure protection orders are not illegally granted.  Like a PFMA conviction, a person is often banned under Federal and State laws from possessing a firearm subject to a Protection Order.  Protection Orders can have serious collateral consequences on your ability to possess firearms and freely associate.  Further, critical evidence can be obtained at protection order hearings which may be beneficial in defending the PFMA criminal case.


Unlike DUI cases, PFMA cases rarely turn on professional witnesses, i.e. trained law enforcement.  PFMA cases usually involve lay witnesses and often only the two individuals involved have any personal knowledge of what happened.  In-depth investigation including interviews are utilized by Petaja Law in PFMA cases.  Plea bargaining, when appropriate, can oftentimes be fashioned to protect an individual's gun rights.  At trial, self-defense, defense of others, and good character can often be introduced to secure acquittal.    

Petaja Law's other Areas of Practice

Chris will gladly represent you in cases regarding:

  •  Social Security Disability law 
  •  Employment law
  •  Personal injury law
  •  Bankruptcy law

Petaja Law utilizes assitance for outside experts and counsel whenever necessary to achieve the best results for its clients. 

If you have any questions initial consultation is always free.

Contact us at (406) 570-0440 or via our contact form.

Contact Christopher C. Petaja

Petaja Law

13 South Willson Avenue

Suite 3

Bozeman, MT 59715


Phone: (406) 570-0440

Fax: (406) 404-1929


Or use our contact form.


Suspended License?



(406) 570-0440

ARRESTED OR DETAINED? CALL 24/7 (406) 570-0440

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