In Maine, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is called Operating Under the Influence or OUI. An OUI is a serious criminal offense that invites steep legal and civil penalties. Drivers can incur punishments that include monetary fines, jail sentences and loss of driving privileges.
Avoiding an OUI in Maine requires drivers in the state to recognize the legal blood alcohol content limits. They also need to be aware of what penalties they can incur if they are convicted of this crime.
OUI in Maine
Maine defines Operating under the Influence or OUI in a number of different ways. The per se definition is driving a vehicle while having a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. This definition applies to non-commercial drivers who are 21 years of age or older.
For commercial drivers, the definition of OUI in Maine is driving with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher. This pertains to people who drive school buses as well.
The underage OUI definition for drivers under the age of 21 is driving with any trace of alcohol or drugs in their bodies. They cannot have any traceable BAC if they want to avoid being arrested for OUI in Maine.
Motorists do not have to be driving a car to be charged with an OUI in Maine. Law enforcement simply has to prove that a driver has the intent to drive the car while inebriated and has taken substantial steps toward doing so.
OUI Penalties in Maine
Maine utilizes a washout period for OUIs where prior OUIs do not count toward current charges if they were committed longer than 10 years ago. They cannot be considered for the purpose of enhancing the current OUI charges against a person.
A first OUI conviction in Maine can result in a maximum of one year in jail with a minimum 96-hour minimum if the person unlawfully refused a BAC test. The person can pay a fine of $500 to $2000 and have his or her license suspended for 150 days.
A first-time OUI offense can also be enhanced if the driver:
- Had a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher
- Attempted to elude law enforcement
- Was speeding 30 miles per hour or more past the posted speed limit
- Had a passenger younger than 21 in the car
The minimum mandatory amount of time for an enhanced first-time OUI is 48 hours.
A second OUI conviction garners a jail term of seven days to one year. Twelve days in jail is mandatory if the driver unlawfully refused a BAC test. The penalties also include a fine of $700 to $2000 of which $900 is mandatory if the driver refused a BAC test. The driver will also have his or her license suspended for three years, and he or she must complete a drug or alcohol abuse program.
A third OUI in Maine is a Class C felony and leads to a jail term of 30 days to five years in jail. Forty days in jail is mandatory if the driver unlawfully refused a BAC test.
The penalties also include a fine of $1100 to $5000 of which $1400 is mandatory if the driver refused the BAC test. The license will also be suspended for six years, and the driver must complete a drug or alcohol abuse program.
An OUI will be charged as a Class C crime if it resulted in bodily harm or injury to another person. The driver must pay a fine of up to $5000 and have his or her license suspended for six years.
An OUI will be charged as a Class B crime if it resulted in the death of another person. The penalties are six months to 10 years in jail, a fine of $2100 to $20,000 and a 10-year license suspension. The conviction also stays indefinitely on the driver’s record and is used to consider penalties for future OUI convictions.
Underage OUI in Maine
Maine has two categories for underage OUI convictions in the state. The first category is reserved for drivers who are under the age of 21 but at least 18.
If they are arrested with any traceable BAC, they face penalties a one-year drivers’ license suspension for a first conviction and a two-year suspension for a second conviction. The license suspension is increased to an additional 180 days if they have a passenger under the age of 21 in the car.
The second category is for drivers who are under the age of 18. A first-time OUI in Maine for this age category results in a license suspension of at least 180 days. The underage driver can also be placed in a juvenile correctional facility or be required to participate in a work or service program and also pay a fine or restitution to the state.
OUI License Reinstatement in Maine
In Maine, it is possible for OUI offenders to have their licenses reinstated after their convictions. If they cannot get their licenses reinstated, they could apply for a restricted license during their suspension period.
The first requirement they will be expected to comply with involves having an ignition interlock device or IID installed on their vehicles at their own expense. They also must petition the Secretary of State for their license reinstatement or restricted license privileges and complete the requirements for the number of OUI convictions that they have on their record.
A first-time OUI offender must complete 30 days of the license suspension period and maintain an IID on his or her vehicle for the remainder of the license suspension period. A second-time OUI offender must complete nine months of the license suspension and use an IID on his or her vehicle for two years. A third-time OUI offender must complete three years of the license suspension period and use an IID for three years.
Operating Under the Influence or OUI in Maine is a serious crime that results in legal and administrative penalties. These consequences apply to drivers of all ages.
Depending on the number of offenses and the completion of program requirements, OUI offenders could have their licenses reinstated with restrictions. Their convictions can stay on their records for up to 10 years or indefinitely if they cause the death of another person.