In the state of Maine, a DUI / DWI falls under the heading of an OUI, and is treated as a criminal case. The consequences of conviction include imprisonment fines, alcohol education classes, installation of an ignition interlock system and even the loss of your driver’s license. Refusal to take any alcohol test can be used as proof showing consciousness of guilt. However, taking the test can generate evidence that can lead to an OUI conviction, which will carry the fines and penalties listed below.
The penalty of a conviction will vary depending on the number of past convictions and any aggravating or mitigating factors.
If you are charged and convicted of an OUI in Maine, the first action will be to suspend your license. This will occur before any court appearances so that you cannot drive even while waiting for your hearing.
Zero Tolerance Law – Under 21 DUI
The zero tolerance law refers to those drivers who are under the age of 21. As you can imagine, zero tolerance means exactly what it sounds like – no amount of alcohol can be in your system. If even a trace amount of alcohol is found while you are found operating or attempting to operate a motor vehicle, your license will be revoked for one year. If you then refuse to take a test, your license is taken away for 18 months. Having an additional passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle, 180 days will be added to the suspension. Even with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of less than .08%, the person in question can be prosecuted for OUI.
BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Limit
In Maine, the BAC threshold for operating under the influence is .08%. This is measured by a breath test or a blood test. This can be enough evidence to convict without further evidence.
Minimum Maine OUI Penalties
|1st no aggravating factors||150 days||0||$500|
|1st w/aggravating factors*||150 days||48 hours||$500|
|1st (refusal)**||275 days||96 hours||$600|
|2nd***||3 years||7 days||$700|
|2nd (refusal)||2 years||12 days||$600|
|3rd||6 years||30 days||$1,100|
|3rd (refusal)||4 years||40 days||$1,400|
|4th or more||8 years||6 months||$2,100|
|4th (refusal)||6 years||6 months & 20 days||$2,500|
*Aggravating factors include a BAC of .15 percent or more, or traveling 30 m.p.h. or more over the speed limit, or attempting to elude an officer of the law, or having a passenger under 21 years of age. Drinking and driving penalties require an additional 275 day suspension be imposed by the court or the Secretary of State if transporting a passenger under 21.
**Refusal to be tested results in a loss of license for at least 275 days which is consecutive to (in addition to) any suspension imposed for an OUI conviction.
***A second conviction within ten years prohibits the offender from obtaining a work-restricted license or from registering a vehicle.
For more information read Changes to Maine’s OUI Law written by Attorney Nichols.
Information taken from Bureau of Highway Safety – Maine’s OUI Laws Explained