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Consequences of Felony OUIs






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Jun 18, 2015

Consequences of Felony OUIs

As we’ve detailed in prior blog posts, the penalties for operating under the influence (OUI) in Maine increase if you’ve already been convicted for the crime in the past ten years. Increasing the penalties that you could face for subsequent offenses is not unusual – nearly all criminal laws, not just in Maine, but across the U.S., use growing penalties to try to prevent people from becoming “repeat offenders.” Knowing that the punishment will be worse, if caught a second, third, or fourth time, can make someone think twice about their actions.

It’s important to note that, in Maine, getting convicted for a third OUI offense within the span of ten years turns the conviction from a Class D crime, a misdemeanor, into a Class C crime, a felony. This is a big jump.

For starters, the jail time, fines, and license suspension grows significantly between a second OUI offense, and a third:

In the past 10 years, this is your… Class of Crime License Suspension* Jail Time** Fines**
2nd Offense D (Misdemeanor) 3 years 7-364 days $700 – $2,000
3rd Offense C (Felony) 6 years 30 days – 5 years $1,100 – $5,000

Not only does the license suspension double, to six years, but the maximum possible jail time goes from nearly one year, to five years. This poses a great threat to your liberty. Facing five years behind bars can literally ruin your life.

While these penalties are significant, they’re not the only new factors that a felony OUI conviction brings to the table. While the fines, license suspension, and jail time for a felony OUI are higher than they were for a misdemeanor OUI, it’s the different definition of the crime that triggers other serious, and sometimes more lasting, repercussions, as well.

Another one of our recent blog posts dealt with how difficult it can be to get your life back on track, if you have a criminal history. Many important aspects of life, like renting an apartment, getting a loan, or finding a new job are severely restricted if you have a criminal background, especially if it includes a felony conviction. The ways that criminal convictions can impact your life indirectly – outside jail time, fines, and other immediate penalties that you know you’ll be facing if you’re convicted – are called “collateral consequences,” and are everywhere. A recent study done by the American Bar Association found that there are more than 46,000 collateral consequences of committing a crime in the United States, and that more than 60% of these are restrictions on employment.

With all of that in mind, a third OUI conviction in Maine can be a life-changer. If you thought that the license suspension was inconvenient, the fines steep, and the jail time challenging before, a third OUI conviction is even worse. Additionally, having a criminal background is difficult enough to put behind you. Having a felony in your past is nearly impossible. If you or someone you know is facing a third OUI charge, call the law office of William T. Bly at (207) 571-8146.



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