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OUI Attorney in Freeport at The Maine Criminal Defense Group

Maine treats all instances of drunk or drugged driving very seriously, and Freeport is no exception. Here is what you need to know if you have been accused of operating under the influence (OUI) in the Freeport area.

Maine’s OUI Law

Maine’s OUI statute is found at 29-A Maine Statute § 2411. It criminalizes having a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08% or being inebriated while driving a motor vehicle.

Police use breath, blood, or urine testing to determine an OUI suspect’s BAC, most frequently in the form of a portable breathalyzer. However, even if they find that your BAC is below the legal limit, police can still make an arrest for OUI if they come under the impression that you are inebriated. They can form this impression based on your performance in field sobriety tests or just by interacting with you during the traffic stop.

Penalties of an OUI Conviction

The penalties of an OUI conviction depend on whether you have had a prior OUI conviction in the last 10 years, as well as whether there were any aggravating factors in your case that made the alleged offense worse:

Class of CrimeLicense SuspensionJail TimeFines
1st OffenseD (Misdemeanor)150 daysMinimum of 0-96 hoursMinimum of $500
2nd OffenseD (Misdemeanor)3 yearsMinimum of 7-12 daysMinimum of $700
3rd OffenseC (Felony)6 yearsMinimum of 30-40 daysMinimum of $1,100
4th or Subsequent Offense (or more)C (Felony)8 yearsMinimum of 6 monthsMinimum of $2,100

Aggravating factors that can enhance these penalties include:

  • A BAC of 0.15% or above, which requires a minimum of 48 hours in jail for a conviction
  • Going at least 30 miles per hour over the stated speed limit, which can also come with a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail
  • Attempting to elude police or refusing to pull over for a traffic stop, which also comes with 48 hours in jail
  • Driving with a passenger under the age of 21, which comes with both 48 hours in jail as well as an additional 275 days of license suspension
  • Refusing a valid chemical BAC test, which comes with an extra 275-day license suspension and a minimum of 96 hours in jail

Defenses to an OUI Charge

Being accused of breaking Maine’s OUI law is serious. However, an accusation and even a criminal charge are just claims that you broke the law. Prosecutors still need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be convicted of OUI.

There are numerous legal defenses you can raise to challenge the prosecutor’s case and protect your future.

Illegal Traffic Stop

You have Fourth Amendment rights that prohibit police from conducting unreasonable searches or seizures. Traffic stops lead to a search for evidence of an OUI, so they have to be supported by probable cause. If the police have no probable cause to believe that a crime is happening when they pull you over, any evidence that they find during that traffic stop can be excluded from your case. Showing that there was no reason for the traffic stop is just one way to defend against an OUI charge.

Poorly Conducted Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests need to be administered properly for them to provide even somewhat reliable evidence of an OUI. However, police frequently make mistakes when they conduct them. Worse, some officers set them up to produce a failure, whether by making you walk a straight line on a sloped ground, or track the motion of their finger as cars rush by in the background. Proving that the field sobriety test was poorly conducted is just one other way to defend against an OUI charge.

Miscalibrated Breathalyzers

Breathalyzers are one of the most common sources of evidence of an OUI. However, breathalyzers – especially the portable ones that police officers usually use during a traffic stop – are not infallible. They are machines that need to be programmed and maintained. While calibrating a breathalyzer is crucially important and makes sure that a breathalyzer’s reading is accurate, police frequently skirt their responsibility to ensure their breathalyzers are accurate. Showing that the breathalyzer used in your case was not calibrated is another possible defense to raise.

OUIs in Freeport

If you were pulled over in Freeport and ended up being arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you’ll be brought to the Freeport Police Station at 16 Main Street. There, you’ll be asked to perform a more precise breath test on a machine at the station. You may also be given a urine test if the police believe you’re under the influence of drugs or even brought to a local hospital for a blood test if you’ve been involved in an accident involving serious bodily injury or death.

The next step in the OUI process in Freeport is the arraignment, where the charges against you are formally presented and you plead guilty or not guilty. This happens at the West Bath District Courthouse in West Bath, Maine. Like many other courthouses in Maine, your personal presence is required at the arraignment – unless you retain one of our attorneys to appear on your behalf.

The arraignment is a very serious event that you do not want to miss or even be late for.  If you are not there, it can lead to a bench warrant for your arrest, which can make the underlying OUI case even trickier to defend against. Showing up early to find parking can be a wise move to make, as the parking lot quickly fills up around the courthouse.

OUI-Defense in Freeport at Maine Criminal Defense Group

The OUI-defense lawyers at Maine Criminal Defense Group strive to legally represent those who have been accused of driving while drunk or drugged in the Freeport area. With our legal guidance and defense, you can raise the arguments that are most likely to successfully defend against the OUI charge you are facing. Contact us online.

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