Maine drunk driving cases are referred to as OUI, operating under the influence, or OWI, operating while intoxicated. It’s important to appeal to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of your arrest, or you will risk losing your license. If you’ve been arrested in Maine it’s important to contact an experienced attorney right away to protect your rights.
You can get your life back on track after a Maine OUI. But it’s important to understand that there are extremely serious consequences for a Maine DUI conviction. Consequences include jail time, fines, alcohol education classes, and losing your driver’s license. All is not lost though. It is possible to fight your charges with the help of an OWI attorney in Maine. Contact a Maine drunk driving attorney right away.
NOTE: In Maine, drunk driving cases are referred to as OUI (operating under the influence), DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while intoxicated), or OWI (operating while intoxicated).
WARNING! You could end up with a suspended license after your Maine OUI arrest. Unlike most states, police officers WILL NOT take away your license at the scene of your arrest. But the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) will put you on notice that your license must be surrendered. You only have TEN DAYS from the time of your suspension to request a hearing with the BMV. The length of your suspension can be found on the Administrative Notice of Suspension that you received from the Maine BMV in the upper right-hand corner. If you need help making this request, or understanding anything about your suspension, speak to a skilled Maine DUI lawyer today.
Besides your license suspension, your Maine DUI arrest will also trigger a criminal case. It’s your criminal case that will result in punishments including jail time, fines, and being forced to install an ignition interlock system in your car.
Did you refuse to take a chemical test? If so, that decision can be used against you in your criminal case to show consciousness of guilt. However, if you did take a blood or breath or urine test, that evidence alone can be used to convict you of a Maine OUI. This is why it is so essential to speak with an experienced OWI attorney near you.
If you are convicted of a Maine DUI, you will be punished. But penalties will vary, depending upon whether the arrest is for a first-offense, second-offense, third-offense, or fourth-offense drunk driving charge. There is a “washout” period for these cases, meaning that if a prior offense is more than ten years old, it will not count as a prior conviction for the purposes of calculating your offense level, but can be used as an aggravating factor at sentencing. Jail alternatives are an option regardless of your history with Maine OUI convictions. In fact, it is even possible to get your case dismissed with the help of an OWI attorney. Talk to one of our DUI LAWS attorneys right away if you want to get help fighting your case and avoiding harsh penalties.
A first offense Maine DUI, with no aggravating circumstances, carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 90-day license suspension and a $500.00 fine. The first sixty days of that suspension are without a work license. The maximum penalties for a first offense OUI are 364 days in jail, a $2,000.00 fine, a 90-day suspension, and one year of probation.
If there are aggravating circumstances such as a BAC above .14, a passenger under 21 years of age, exceeding the speed limit by 30 m.p.h. or more, or attempting to elude the police, there is a mandatory minimum 48-hour jail sentence. If a person refuses to take a breath, blood, or urine test, the mandatory minimum sentence is 96 hours in jail, a $600.00 fine, and a 90-day suspension. If the person is under the age of 21, the minimum suspension is one year. All fines have substantial penalty assessments that significantly increase the amount that must be paid. Some judges routinely exceed these minimum sentences.
A second offense Maine OUI, carries a minimum of seven-day jail sentence (twelve days for a refusal), a $700.00 fine ($900.00 for refusal) and a 3-year license suspension without a work license, and a 3-year suspension of your vehicle registration. After 9 months, your license and registration can be reinstated if you install an ignition interlock device in your car for 2 years. If the person is under the age of 21, the minimum suspension is for 2 years. In addition, the judge can order drug or alcohol treatment at their discretion.
A third offense Maine DUI is a felony. It carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $5,000.00 fine, and 2 years of probation. There is a minimum thirty-day jail sentence (forty days for a refusal), a $1,100.00 fine ($1,400.00 for a refusal), a six-year license suspension without a work license, and a six-year suspension of your vehicle registration. After three years your license and registration can be reinstated if you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for three years. In addition, the judge can order drug or alcohol treatment at their discretion.
A fourth offense Maine OUI, or subsequent offense is a felony. It carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a minimum jail term of six months (six months, twenty days for a refusal), two years of probation, a minimum fine of $2, 2100 ($2,500 for a refusal), a six-year license suspension without a work license, and a six-year suspension of your vehicle registration. After the six-year suspension, you must install an ignition interlock device in your car for four years. In addition, the judge can order drug or alcohol treatment at their discretion.
If a person who is operating under the influence (OUI) causes serious bodily injury or death or has either a prior conviction for a felony OUI or OUI homicide, it is a strict liability felony. This offense carries a minimum sentence of six months in jail (six months, twenty days for a refusal), a $2,100.00 fine ($2,500 for a refusal), and a six-year suspension. In addition, the judge can order drug or alcohol treatment at his or her discretion. The maximum sentence is five years in jail, a $5,000.00 fine, a six-year suspension, and two years of probation.
If the person had a passenger under the age of 21, there is an additional 275-day suspension in addition to the minimum jail, fine, and suspension penalties described above. If the person is under the age of 21, there is an additional suspension of 180 days.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles Penalties (BMV)
Even if you are not convicted in criminal court, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) can suspend your license! The suspension periods are the same as for the court suspensions listed above. If you refuse a breath test the BMV can take your license for up to six years, with a 275 days suspension being the penalty for a first refusal. While you have a right to a hearing, you have only ten days to request it.
The Secretary of State will suspend the license of a driver with a BAC of .08% or more (or a minor with any detectable BAC, for one year or more) for the periods listed above for convictions. This suspension runs concurrently with any suspension imposed for the conviction and consecutively with any refusal suspension. This suspension is initiated by the officer filing the report with the Secretary of State. A hearing must be requested within ten days of the date of the suspension. Any suspension imposed will remain in effect, even if the person is acquitted of the criminal OUI charge. Always make sure you review and follow the statutory requirements for reinstatement with your OWI attorney.