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OUI Defense Lawyers in Belfast, Maine

Belfast Maine Operating Under the Influence (OUI) Lawyers

Facing Operating Under the Influence (OUI) charges in Belfast, Maine demands a robust defense, as the consequences are severe. Law enforcement is unforgiving, and the distinction between a lasting criminal record and potential jail time hinges on the strength of your defense.

At The Maine Criminal Defense Group, our steadfast OUI defense lawyers in Belfast bring tenacity and a deep understanding of Maine’s OUI laws. We navigate the complexities of the Belfast, Maine court system, offering formidable defense to mitigate the serious repercussions of an OUI conviction.

Common Concerns About OUI Charges in Belfast, Maine

OUI Resources for Belfast, Maine

OUI Penalties Underage OUI Felony OUI
OUI Habitual Offenders Implied Consent Laws OUI Field Sobriety Testing

OUI Penalties in Belfast, Maine

Under Maine OUI laws, you are not allowed to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicant. Most drivers know this and many also understand that the legal limit is .08 percent Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

In Maine, you can be arrested and charged with an OUI even if you are within the legal limit. If a law enforcement officer suspects you of operating a vehicle in an impaired way, you will be arrested and asked to submit to certain tests.

Review the potential penalties for operating under the influence charges in Maine.

No. of Offense (Last 10 Years) License Suspension Jail Time Minimum Fine
1st Offense 150 Days 0 – 96 Hours $500
2nd Offense 3 Years 7 Days $700
3rd Offense 6 Years 30 Days $1,100
4th Offense 8 Years 6 Months $2,100

Read More Extensive Guide to OUI and Impaired Driving Penalties in Maine

First OUI Penalties

A “first offense” means that you do not have any prior OUI convictions in any state within the preceding 10 years.

Maine imposes the following set of mandatory minimum criminal penalties for a first offense OUI conviction:

  • $500 fine
  • 150-day driver’s license suspension
  • Misdemeanor on your permanent record

Belfast judges frequently exceed these minimum penalties and hand down harsher punishments. It’s important to bear in mind that even for a first conviction, Maine OUI laws allow for a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail.

Penalties for second and subsequent OUI offenses carry harsher minimum and maximum penalties.

BMV OUI penalties

The BMV in Belfastdoesn’t wait for a conviction before suspending your driver’s license.
If you fail a breathalyzer test with a BAC of .08 percent or higher, the BMV will suspend your driver’s license. This is an automatic suspension unless you contest it by requesting an administrative hearing (in writing) within 10 days of the notice of suspension date.

An OUI lawyer from The Maine Criminal Defense Group can file for and represent you at the hearing, which can be especially beneficial if you live out of state or are busy working.

If you are unsuccessful at your BMV hearing and are later convicted in court, any criminal driving suspension runs concurrently with the BMV one. You serve the suspension only once.
Read More Refusing a Breathalyzer or Chemical Test when Pulled jOver for an OUI in Maine

Second OUI Penalties

For a second OUI offense in Maine, it’s considered a Class D crime with potential penalties. The maximum jail term is 364 days, and fines can reach up to $2,000. Mandatory minimum penalties include:

  1. Seven days of mandatory minimum jail time.
  2. A mandatory minimum fine of $700.
  3. A three-year license suspension and loss of the right to register a motor vehicle.

If you refused a chemical test, the penalties become more severe:

  1. A mandatory minimum jail sentence of twelve days.
  2. A mandatory minimum fine of $900.

To learn more about the penalties for subsequent OUI charges in Maine, please review our comprehensive guide or contact us directly.

Underage OUI penalties

For drivers under the age of 21 (the legal drinking limit in Maine), Zero Tolerance laws apply for OUI.
Your license will be suspended by the BMV for any amount of alcohol and, for a first-time OUI, you will face the following criminal penalties:

  • 150-day suspension
  • Driver Alcohol Education (DEEP Program)
  • Reinstatement fees

Read More Underage OUI Charges in Maine

Implied consent penalties in Belfast, Maine

You are breaking the law if you refuse a breath, blood or urine test if you are suspected of OUI in Belfast and requested to submit a chemical sample.
This is known as the “implied consent” law, meaning that drivers in Maine must submit to a BAC test or breathalyzer when requested by a qualified law enforcement officer. Refusal will lead to an automatic suspension of your driving privileges for 275 days.

For drivers under the age of 21, a refusal means an automatic suspension of driving privileges for 18 months.

Possible OUI defenses in Belfast, Maine

If you’re facing an OUI charge in Belfast, Maine, the legal process unfolds through the Unified Criminal Docket (UCD) in Cumberland County. Unlike more serious offenses, misdemeanor OUI cases won’t be transferred to the superior court for a jury trial.

Here’s an overview of the key legal steps in the OUI case:

Arraignment

During arraignment in Belfast, Maine, the defendant appears before a judge, hears the charges, and enters a plea. This crucial step sets the stage for subsequent legal proceedings in the case.

Dispositional Conference

Approximately six weeks after arraignment, a meeting takes place involving the defense, prosecution, and sometimes the judge. The purpose is to explore whether a negotiated resolution is possible.

Motion Hearing

The defense often files motions, such as to suppress evidence or for additional discovery. These motions must be submitted by the day after the dispositional conference and are typically heard around two weeks later.

Jury Selection

If the case proceeds to trial, jury selection in Belfast generally occurs on a Monday a few weeks after the motion hearing.

Trial

The trial is usually scheduled approximately two weeks after jury selection. Before the trial, additional motions may be filed to determine the admissible evidence. Typically lasting one or two days, the OUI trial process concludes in Belfast.

Contact Our OUI Defense Lawyers in Belfast, Maine

In Belfast, Maine, confronting an OUI charge may feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it in isolation. Our steadfast OUI defense team is ready to safeguard your rights, scrutinize evidence, and strive for the optimal resolution in your case.

Backed by a history of successful outcomes, we are dedicated to offering you seasoned legal advice and steadfast assistance through this demanding period. Should you have inquiries about navigating an OUI charge in Belfast, Maine, reach out to The Maine Criminal Defense Group at (207) 571-8146.

Belfast Court Location

If you get arrested for operating under the influence (OUI) in Belfast, your case will be handled in the Waldo County Superior Court, and in the Maine District Court, both in downtown Belfast, Maine. Both are located within one block of each other on Church Street.

The District Court is at 103 Church Street, at the intersection of Spring Street, while the Superior Court is 137 Church Street, near the intersection of Church and High Streets. All of the Superior Court cases are actually heard at the District Court building, in large part because it’s far more modern than the old Superior Court.

However, if the case goes to a jury trial, the jury will be selected at the historical Superior Courthouse building, and the case will be tried there, as well.

Unfortunately, the Superior Courthouse has no modern amenities, like audio-visual equipment, so attorneys have to bring their own, if they want to use them.

Note that the mailing address for the Superior Courthouse is actually the physical address for the District Court. All of the mail for both buildings goes to the District Courthouse, and gets directed from there to its proper destination.

If you’re looking for driving directions to either court, they can be found on the website for the Superior Court and the District Court. Google Maps can also direct you to either the Superior Court, or to the District Court, as well.

Parking

The District Court has a small, dedicated parking lot behind the building, accessible off Spring Street. Additionally, there are lots of parking spaces on Church Street, very close to the courthouse, and there is also street parking on Spring Street, as well.

The Superior Court, however, does not have a specified parking lot for the building, and there are only a handful of spaces immediately surrounding the courthouse. With that said, the courthouse is in the middle of the downtown area of Belfast, and there are plenty of parking spots on the streets within a block or two. Just plan ahead and give yourself a couple of extra minutes to find one and walk to the courthouse.

Prosecutors

The District Attorney for Sagadahoc, Lincoln, and Knox counties is Geoffery Rushlau. Because most district attorneys only have to cover one county, Mr. Rushlau has the most territory in his jurisdiction in the state. He was first appointed to district attorney in 1993, and has won reelection every year since 1994, making him the second-longest running district attorney in all of Maine, behind only Stephanie Anderson, who’s held her position in Cumberland County since 1991.

District Attorney Rushlau tends to have a fairly tough stance on OUI charges, as well as domestic violence charges, and crimes against children. However, the assistant district attorneys on his staff have a great deal of experience – many of them have been in the office for a decade or more. They generally have the discretion to drop charges down to a lesser offense without seeking prior approval first.

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