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OUI Defense Lawyers in Maine

drunk driving OUI Defense Attorneys in Maine

In the state of Maine, driving under the influence of alcohol, which is commonly known as DUI or drunk driving in other jurisdictions, is specifically termed Operating Under the Influence (OUI). This offense occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher.

If you are found to have a BAC above the legal limit, you can be arrested and charged with OUI, leading to severe consequences that can significantly impact your life. Maine enforces a strict zero-tolerance policy, even the slightest alcohol trace in those under 21 can lead to OUI charges. Consequences are harsh, affecting your future.

An OUI arrest can mean a possible license suspension, disrupting daily life restricting your ability to travel to work, school, or fulfill any daily responsibilities. The Maine Criminal Defense Group is here to guide you toward the best outcome for your case.

Common Concerns About OUI Charges in Maine

 

OUI Resources for Maine

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

What is the difference between an OUI & DUI in Maine?

DUI in Maine, also known as OUI (Operating Under the Influence), pertains specifically to impaired driving. While OUI and DUI terms are used interchangeably in some places, Maine distinguishes OUI as driving under the influence. Facing an OUI charge demands a robust defense to mitigate life-altering penalties.

When stopped by law enforcement with suspicion of alcohol or drug use, you may undergo field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer test, which can trigger an OUI charge. It’s critical to note that refusing blood or breath tests in Maine can lead to immediate arrest and charges.

In Maine, you can be charged with OUI even with a BAC below 0.08%. If your driving is impaired due to alcohol or drugs, per the police officer’s observations, you can still face OUI charges. Any impairment affecting safe vehicle operation can result in OUI charges, regardless of BAC.

Getting your drivers license back after an OUI in Maine

To regain your driver’s license after an OUI in Maine, a lawyer can guide you through the necessary steps, which typically include serving a suspension period, completing an OUI education program, potentially installing an ignition interlock device, obtaining SR-22 insurance, paying reinstatement fees, and securing clearance from the Secretary of State’s office. It’s crucial to seek the legal assistance of William Bly and his team for personalized guidance through the OUI process.

What are the penalties for an OUI in Maine?

Understanding the consequences of operating under the influence (OUI) is essential. Whether it’s your first offense or a subsequent one, the penalties in Maine vary based on the circumstances. Read below about the legal ramifications and potential sentencing for an OUI / DUI in Maine.

Is an OUI a criminal offense in Maine? (Video)

First OUI Penalties

A first OUI in Maine carries penalties consistent with a misdemeanor offense. These penalties include a mandatory minimum 150-day license suspension, along with a $500 fine plus additional court-related fees. During the first 100 days of the license suspension, individuals are ineligible for a work-only license. To reinstate a full license after 30 days of no driving, attendance at alcohol school is required. It’s important to note that an Ignition Interlock Device must be installed until the end of the suspension period.

If there are aggravating circumstances present, such as a BAC of .15 percent or higher, passengers under the age of 21, or speeding over 30 mph above the speed limit, a mandatory minimum two-day jail sentence applies.

Second OUI Penalties

If you have a second OUI offense within 10 years of a prior offense in any state or if you refused a breath test in Maine during the same period, it will be considered a second misdemeanor offense. The penalties for a second offense include a mandatory minimum three-year suspension of your license and registration, a seven-day jail sentence, and a $700 fine. To reinstate a full license after three months of not driving, completion of alcohol school is required, and an Ignition Interlock Device must be installed for two years.

Third OUI Penalties

A third or subsequent OUI conviction within ten years or an OUI accident resulting in serious injury will elevate the offense to a Class C felony in Maine. The penalties for such an offense include a maximum of five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and two years of probation. Additionally, a minimum 30-day jail sentence and a $1,100 fine are mandatory. The license suspension for a Class C felony OUI is six years, with no eligibility for a work-only license and the suspension of vehicle registration privileges. Completion of alcohol school is required for license reinstatement, and an Ignition Interlock Device must be installed for three years.

Fourth OUI Penalties

A fourth OUI offense in Maine is classified as a Class C felony. The penalties for this offense include a maximum prison sentence of five years, a fine of up to $5,000, and a probation period of two years. Additionally, a minimum jail term of six months and a fine starting at $2,100 are mandated. Your license will be suspended for eight years, during which you will not be eligible for a work-only license and the registration of your vehicle will be suspended. After the license suspension period, it is mandatory to install an Ignition Interlock Device for four years.

Maine OUI Enhancements for Injuries and Fatalities

In Maine, an OUI involving an accident with serious injury or death carries severe penalties. In the case of serious injury, it is classified as a Class C felony and entails the following penalties:

  • A maximum prison sentence of five years, a $5,000 fine, and a two-year probation period.
  • A minimum jail term of six months and a fine starting at $2,100.
  • A six-year license suspension without eligibility for a work-only license and suspension of the right to register a vehicle.

For fatality OUIs, it is classified as a more serious Class B felony with the following penalties:

  • A maximum prison sentence of ten years, a fine ranging from $2,100 to $20,000, and a ten-year license suspension.
  • A minimum jail term of six months and a fine starting at $2,100.
  • A fatality or injury OUI conviction remains on the driver’s record indefinitely and can lead to increased penalties for future OUI convictions.

Additionally, attendance at alcohol school is mandatory. After three months of not driving and completing alcohol school, full license reinstatement is allowed, provided an Ignition Interlock Device is installed for three years.

Learn MoreOUI Laws & Penalties in Maine (2023)

License suspension for excessive blood-alcohol levels

License suspension for excessive blood-alcohol levels can have significant implications, and it is important to understand the process and potential consequences. In Maine, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles can impose license suspensions even before your court date if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is measured at or above 0.08 percent.

If you wish to challenge the license suspension, it is crucial to take action promptly. You must submit a written request for a hearing within ten days from the date of the suspension. This is a critical step in potentially avoiding or reducing the duration of the suspension.

It is important to note that the administrative license suspension will remain in effect regardless of whether you are found guilty of the criminal OUI charge, unless successfully challenged through the appropriate legal channels. Seeking the guidance of an experienced OUI defense attorney can greatly enhance your chances of mounting a successful challenge.

For drivers aged 21 years or older who are found to have a passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the license suspension consequences become even more severe. In such cases, an additional 275-day suspension will be imposed on top of the initial suspension.

Does an OUI show up on a background check in Maine?

An OUI conviction in Maine can potentially show up on a background check. Background checks typically include information on criminal records, and an OUI is considered a criminal offense. It is important to note that background check procedures can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the entity conducting the check.

Having an OUI on your record can have various implications, such as affecting employment opportunities, professional licenses, or other aspects of your personal and professional life. However, it is worth noting that some background checks may only go back a certain number of years or have limitations on the types of offenses they report.

If you are concerned about how an OUI charge or conviction might impact your background check, it is advisable to consult with an experienced OUI defense attorney. They can provide you with valuable insights and help you understand the potential consequences of an OUI on your record. Additionally, a skilled attorney can work toward minimizing the impact of the charge and explore possible avenues for expungement or other legal remedies to mitigate the long-term effects.

Refusal to submit to implied consent testing in Maine

The implied consent laws in Maine mean that you cannot refuse to submit to a blood, urine or breath test if requested by a police officer.

If you do refuse, you will face the following administrative BMV penalties:

  • A 275-day license suspension for a first refusal
  • An 18-month operator license suspension for a second refusal within 10 years
  • A three-year driver’s license suspension for a third refusal within 10 years
  • A six-year operator’s license suspension for a fourth refusal within 10 years
  • An 18-month driver’s license suspension for a first refusal by a driver aged under 21
  • A 30-month driver’s license suspension for a second refusal by a driver aged under 21

Common types of OUI charges in Maine

Underage OUI

Our state operates under the zero-tolerance rule, which means that if a driver is under the age of 21 and is found to have any amount of alcohol in their blood, they could be accused and charged with DUI.

This could greatly affect their future and have significant repercussions.

Learn More An overview of Juvenile OUIs and Other Juvenile Offenses in Maine

OUI Accidents

If you were accused of causing an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol, you could be facing harsh consequences.

When serious bodily injury or death occurs as the result, the crime will be enhanced to a higher level.

OUI related injuries

If you were accused of causing an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol, you could be subject to stricter penalties. When the victim of the accident sustained a serious bodily injury rather than just property damage, you need to ensure that you have a strong representative on your side.

Felony OUI

Typically a felony OUI occurs when a person has multiple prior OUI convictions within a specific timeframe, usually over a 10-year period. When someone accumulates three or more prior OUI convictions, their subsequent OUI charge can be classified as a felony. Felony OUI convictions carry much more severe penalties, including longer license suspensions, significant fines, and potential imprisonment.

Vehicular manslaughter

The most serious charge to be facing in relation to OUI is vehicular manslaughter. When an individual is killed because of a drunk driver, there will be serious repercussions.

Also known as vehicular homicide, the penalties in Maine up to twenty years in prison. Not only that, but you could be given heavy fines as well as lose your driver’s license for an extended amount of time.

Of course, there is also the possibility that the decedent’s family will bring a civil lawsuit against you for wrongful death.

Leaving the scene (hit and run)

When any accident occurs, it is against the law to leave the scene of the accident until you have exchanged contact information and sought medical attention if anyone was injured.

If you were shown to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, leaving the scene will only add to the penalties you could be facing.

OUI from out of state

If you were accused of an OUI while in a state other than your own, you could be facing penalties in both states.

For this reason, it is important to ensure that you have qualified assistance from someone who understands the complications which can arise from these types of cases.

OUI & suspended driver’s license 

It may seem like a suspended license is one of the least serious types of penalties you could be facing following a DUI conviction.

the reality is it could greatly hinder your ability to get to work and support yourself and your family.

In cases where the accused was in possession of a commercial driver’s license, then they could risk permanently losing their driver’s license and thus, their livelihood.

Boating under the influence (BUI)

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol consumption is more dangerous on water than on land. Boating under the influence will include the factors of water motion and glare as well as the fact that boating operators generally have less experience than motor vehicle drivers.

Those convicted of BUI will be subject to the same penalties as someone accused of DUI.

Learn more about Boating Under the Influence (BUI).

Commercial Driver’s License OUI

When a driver has a commercial driver’s license (CDL), they are subject to different rules and regulations. Rather than the legal limit being 0.08%, they will instead be able to be subject to a much lower standard of 0.04% if they’re driving a commercial motor vehicle.

If they are driving a car, the .08% standard applies. This is extremely serious as it means that they could lose their license and with it their ability to support themselves and their family.

Learn more about Commercial OUI Charges.

Child endangerment & operating under the influence

When a driver has a passenger in their car who is under 21 and they are accused of DUI, their penalties will be enhanced.

They will be facing at least 48 hours behind bars, have their license suspended for 90 days, and be fined at least $500.

Child endangerment charges could also bring up issues of child neglect and you could potentially lose your children as well.

Learn more about Child Endangerment Laws.

Learn MoreTypes of OUI Charges in Maine

Why you should never plead guilty to an OUI in Maine

Watch this video where William Bly explains exactly why you should never plead guilty to a drunk driving charge in Maine. This is an emotionally highten period in your life. Take a step back and understand what your options are moving forward.

Challenging an OUI / DUI in Maine

The results of your field sobriety test, blood test, or breath test could prove to be the largest portion of evidence against you. Therefore, if our OUI attorneys in Maine are able to challenge this evidence, the case against you could be substantially weakened.

We will examine the accuracy of the tests in order to discover if there were any errors in the administration or interpretation of the test.

Learn MoreUnderstanding Impaired Driving and OUI Laws in Maine (2021)

Understanding the Maine OUI court process

When faced with an accusation of driving under the influence, you will probably have many questions going through your mind. You need to be aware of what to expect so that you have the best chance of defending yourself.

Following the initial traffic stop, you will be brought into custody where the booking process will take place. After this there will be a preliminary hearing.

This is important because it is here where the judge will decide if there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.

BMV hearings in Maine

Only the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has the ability to suspend a driver’s license. Due to this fact, you may be found not guilty of DUI in court, yet still have your license suspended by the BMV.

The BMV hearing will take place at the office closest to where the offense took place and it is here where statements will be heard regarding the case.

Unlawful OUI police stops in Maine

If a police officer did not have reasonable cause to pull you over, yet you were arrested for drunk driving, this could cause your case to be dropped. One of your civil rights is protection against illegal search and seizures, and if this has occurred in your case, any evidence they believe they have against you may have to be dropped.

Expungement of an OUI in Maine

Expungement is the process of clearing or sealing an individual’s record. This benefit is not available to everyone, but it is worth attempting to avail of this so that your criminal record will not affect your future.

You could be able to answer “no” when asked if you have ever been arrested or convicted.

Ignition interlock devices in Maine

If you were accused and convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, one of the penalties you could be facing includes an ignition interlock device.

This device is installed on the dashboard or wheel of a car and it will not allow the engine to start until the driver has blown into the device and shown to not have alcohol in their body.

Contact Our OUI Defense Lawyers Today

Attorney William T. Bly is a highly skilled OUI lawyer and has received the following DUI certifications that enable him to defend the rights of the accused:

Having this extensive knowledge of how sobriety tests are administered allows attorney Bly to examine your police stop and arrest and look for errors. Even something that seems minor to the common person could be grounds to argue that your test results were not accurate.

Questioning sobriety test results in a DUI case is usually the best defense because in many cases it is the best and only evidence the court has against you. If that evidence (i.e. the test results) is put into question, your defense becomes a lot stronger and, in some circumstances, may lead to your charges being thrown out.

For some people, the loss of their ability to drive is the worst part of an OUI conviction.

The good news is that with the help of an experienced OUI attorney, you may be able to get a restricted license that will allow you to drive to and from school, work and health-related appointments.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving anywhere in Maine, contact The Maine Criminal Defense Group directly online or call us at (207) 571-8146 to speak with an experienced OUI lawyer who can help you. We have offices conveniently located in Portland & Kennebunk, Maine.

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