In Maine, driving while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicant is known as OUI. If you are pulled over on suspicion of OUI and your blood alcohol level is .08 percent, then you may be arrested, and the police report and blood level will be examined by the Secretary of State. If you are guilty of the charge, then the Secretary of State will suspend your license immediately with no questions asked. This process is completed before you go to court to face the judge.
There is a zero-tolerance policy for drivers who are under the age of 21 under Maine OUI laws. If there is any amount of alcohol in your body that can be measured and you are under 21, your license will be suspended for one year. If you refuse a blood alcohol test, you will lose your license for 18 months if you are under 21. Passengers under 21 will add about 180 days to the length of time you are without a license.
The only thing required for proof of guilt for driving under the influence is the blood alcohol content. As long as it is at least .08 percent, you may face a variety of penalties for violating Maine DUI laws. In the state of Maine, drivers are on the road under implied consent. This means that if you are pulled over for drink driving, you cannot refuse a chemical test if the officer has a probable cause to give it to you. If you do refuse the test, then you will lose your license automatically. This suspension could be a few months or up to six years. You do not have to go to court for your license to be suspended in this situation. If you are pulled over for an OUI and have a suspended license, then your car can be impounded, and you can go to jail. The length of time you lose your license or spend in jail will be determined by aggravating factors such as concomitant traffic violations or whether a third party was injured or killed in an accident involving OUI as well as the number of prior offenses you have on your record.
Helpful resources exist for those involved in drunk driving in Maine. Graduated licensing is an option if you have lost your license and want to get it back. It is a three-step process that involves a permit and provisional license.
Changes to Maine OUI Laws
As of Dec. 1, 2013, the court-ordered license suspension period for first-time OUI offenders was increased from 90 to 150 days. The $500 fine — $600 if the person refused to submit to chemical testing — remained the same. Another significant change that went into effect in December 2013 was the mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of individuals convicted of a first-time OUI if they can afford it. These individuals must pay a double license reinstatement fee as well, but by paying for the IID and the fee, they can obtain a “work only” license that allows them to continue to drive to and from work and bypass the lengthened suspension period.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Maine?
Police officers in Maine enforce a legal alcohol limit of .08 percent, though this restriction does not apply to all drivers. Operators of commercial vehicles may be charged with operating under the influence (OUI) if a BAC is .04 percent or higher. Drivers under 21 can face charges with any measurable amount of alcohol.
Maine authorities typically seek harsh punishment for people found guilty of OUI. Potential penalties for those convicted include:
- Fines. A first OUI can yield a fine of $400 and a second can cost $600. A $1,000 fine can accompany a third offense, and a fourth can be $2,000.
- Jail time. Imprisonment for OUI typically begins with a second offense, bringing a sentence of up to seven days. A third conviction can lead to a jail term of 30 days, and a fourth offense may require six months in jail.
- License suspension. A first OUI can bring a suspension of 150 days, and a second offense one of three years. A third offense can lead to loss of driving privileges for four years, and an eight year suspension can accompany a fourth offense.
Additional punishments – such as mandatory substance abuse education – may be necessary for those convicted. All penalties may be enhanced if aggravating factors (like a BAC of .15 or higher) are involved.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Maine
Ignition interlock device (IID) installation is required for reinstatement of driving privileges following any OUI conviction. IID eligibility requirements are:
- After a first offense, license reinstatement can occur after serving 30 days of a 150-day suspension.
- Following a second offense, driving privileges may be reinstated after nine months of the three-year suspension.
- After a third offense, a license can be reinstated after three years of a six-year suspension period.
- Following a fourth offense, privileges may be reinstated after four years of the eight-year suspension period have passed.
Vehicle owners are responsible for all costs associated with the device, and failed tests can result in additional penalties.