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  • DUI & DWI in Maine

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    Drinking and driving is a serious offense in Maine. The state has tough operating under the influence (OUI) laws that kick in as soon as you're stopped for the suspicion of OUI. Here's a round-up of everything you need to know about the laws and penalties surrounding operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or drugs in Maine.

    Blood-alcohol Limits

    In Maine, you are considered operating while under the influence (OUI) if you are found to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.08%. For driver's under 21 years old there is Zero Tolerance for any measurable amount of alcohol (anything over 0.0% BAC). CDL driver's are considered breaking the law with only a 0.04% BAC. Blood-alcohol content is measured by law enforcement authorities with either a breath analyzer or a blood test.

    OUI Penalties

    In Maine you will face penalties from not only the courts but also from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The BMV has the right to suspend your license if you refuse or fail a chemical test using civil Administrative Per Se law. This suspension, any fees, or requirements, will be in addition to any criminal penalties. You can fight an Administrative suspension but you must do so by requesting a hearing within 10 days of receiving a suspension notice. Your suspension notice will contain all the information needed to request a hearing.

    If you receive an Administrative suspension and the court penalty also includes your license being suspended - you will serve the greater of the two. With Administrative license suspensions you may reduce the suspension time by having an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in your vehicle. For more information on IIDs see the heading below)

    Refusing a Chemical Test

    If you refuse to take a test, your driver's license can be immediately suspended by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles under the same Administrative Per Se law. The suspension of your license can be as long as 6 years. This suspension requires no court hearing and is based on the fact that by accepting a driver's license you have consented to a chemical test if asked to take one by law enforcement. If you haven't been drinking, it's worthwhile to take the test, which can prove you innocent of OUI―as well as guilty. If you do refuse the test you can face:

    • First refusal: Driver's license suspension: 275 days.
    • First refusal under 21 years old: Driver's license suspension: 18 months.
    • Second refusal: Driver's license suspension: 18 months.
    • Second refusal under 21 years old: Driver's license suspension: 30 months.

    Any more refusals can subject you to your license being suspended for 6 years.

    OUI First Offense

    Administrative Penalties

    • Driver's license suspension: 150 days (Reduced to 30 days with an IID).
    • Driver Education.
    • Ignition Interlock Device.
    • Reinstatement fees.

    Criminal Penalties

    Without aggravating factors you will face:

    • Driver's license suspension: Minimum150 days.
    • Conditional license: Minimum 1 year.
    • Fine: Minimum$500.
    • Court costs.

    OUI Second Offense

    Administrative Penalties

    • Driver's license suspension: 3 years (Reduced to 9 months with an IID).
    • Driver Education.
    • Ignition Interlock Device.
    • Reinstatement fees.

    Criminal Penalties

    Without aggravating factors you will face:

    • Driver's license suspension: Minimum 3 years .
    • Conditional license: 10 years.
    • Imprisonment: Minimum 7 days.
    • Fine: Minimum $700.
    • Court costs.

    OUI Third, Fourth and Subsequent Offenses

    Penalties, both Administrative and criminal only get harsher. Criminal charges can have you sentenced to up to 6 months in jail, have your license suspended for 8 years and pay a minimum fine of $2,100. Administrative actions include having your license suspended for 8 years, education programs and their costs as well as reinstatement fees. This is if you have no aggravating factors in your case.

    Aggravating Factors

    Aggravating factors will increase penalties. They include any of the following:

    • BAC of 0.15% or more
    • Traveling 30 MPH or more over the speed limit
    • Trying to elude a police officer
    • Having a passenger under 21 years old.

    Ignition Interlock Device

    You can petition the BMV for an early reinstatement of your license after serving the minimum suspension time for you offense. In order to request the reinstatement you must fill out an Petition for Early Reinstatement with Ignition Interlock Device form. There is a $50 fee to file this form. If you qualify for a conditional license, one of the requirements is going to be an Ignition Interlock Devices (IID). You can only have an IID put in your car by an approved dealer. Cost associated with an IID are usually the installation cost and a monthly monitoring fee. Fees for an IID will vary based on dealer and how longg you will be required to have an IID on your vehicle.

    OUI Cost to You

    Beyond the official penalties, you can expect to dole out around $7,000 for a OUI conviction:

    • You'll need a lawyer.
    • You'll see increases in your car insurance premium.
    • Add in the cost for bail, towing charges, required alcohol education, and even loss of work time.

    Operating Under the Influence of Drugs

    Alcohol is a drug, but so are marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and speed. Anyone caught operating under the influence of drugs can face the same penalties as operating under the influence of alcohol. Law enforcement authorities can detect drugs through blood tests, but officers are also permitted by courts to use personal observations and physical tests as evidence for a driving-while-impaired conviction.

    How to Avoid OUI

    The best way to avoid an OUI conviction in Maine is never to drive at all if you've consumed any alcoholic beverages over the past few hours.

    All of the these factors play a role in how fast your body can absorb and process alcohol: how much you weigh, your gender, the amount of food in your stomach,the time you spent drinking, and how long it's been since your last drink. If you have been drinking out of the home and need a ride, don't be afraid to designate a driver or even call a cab.

    Additional Information

    The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety has compiled a fair bit of straightforward information about drinking and driving. These pages can help you avoid an OUI―or help you understand what's in store for you in the unfortunate event that you are arrested:

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