“If I am charged with operating under the influence (OUI), are there potential collateral damages beyond the suspension of my license, a fine and a jail sentence?”
Yes. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things you need to know.
Canada: If you have been charged with OUI, you are banned from entry into Canada while the charge is pending. If you are either convicted of OUI or the reduced offense of driving to endanger (DTE), that ban continues for ten years from the time that your final punishment ends (jail, license suspension or probation, etc.). If you lose your administrative license suspension hearing for operating with an excessive breath-alcohol level or refusing to submit to a chemical test, regardless of the outcome of your court case, the ban likewise remains in effect for ten years. You may be allowed to enter Canada in any of the foregoing situations, but you will have to jump through some hoops in order to do so legally.
Licenses: Any criminal conviction may effect licenses beyond and in addition to your driver’s license. Whether you are licensed by the FAA, Homeland Security, Medical Board, Board of Bar Overseers, Nursing Board, SEC, Superintendent of Insurance, Real Estate Commission, etc., you likely have self-reporting or disclosure requirements. It is your obligation to be aware of and adhere to those requirements. Some licensing authorities require disclosure upon questioning. Some require self-reporting upon triggering events (license suspension, conviction or arrest for example).
DEEP: If your license is suspended administratively or based upon a criminal conviction for OUI, you will have to complete the Driver Evaluation and Education Program in order to reinstate your driver’s license. This restoration requirement can often be confusing, time consuming and frustrating.
Bail Conditions: In most cases you will be required to sign a bail bond that prohibits you from possessing or consuming alcohol. This condition will remain in effect until the final disposition of your case (not your first court appearance), unless amended by a judge. Possession includes actual possession as well as constructive possession (alcohol under your control such as alcohol in your home or vehicle).
Cumulative Consequences: a conviction for OUI will result in no less than two ongoing restraints/enhancements. First, if convicted, you will be subject to a “zero tolerance” restriction following restoration of your license. This restriction lasts for twelve months subsequent to restoration following a first offense conviction and ten years following a second or subsequent conviction. Second, minimum mandatory jail sentences, fines and license suspensions increase if you are convicted of OUI in the future.
If you have been charged with OUI or any criminal offense, call me for a free consultation at NICHOLS & CHURCHILL 207-879-4000. I am in the Time & Temperature Building, 477 Congress Street, Portland. Check me out at www.nicholschurchill.com.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general, not specific, information about Maine law. The publication of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the author(s) and the reader(s).