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What Happens After a First OUI in Maine?

What Happens After the First Offense OUI in Maine

A first OUI offense in Maine can potentially have long-term consequences, but with the right legal representation, alleged offenders can escape the harshest penalties.

A first offense for impaired driving is likely to lead to an arrest, charge, and a court appearance. However, the criminal justice system recognizes that some people with no criminal record make honest mistakes, which can afford some leniency in sentencing.

The focus of sentencing for first offenders is often on ensuring that the same mistakes are not repeated. Jail time is possible, but not probable unless there are aggravating circumstances. Sentencing may involve extensive fines and fees and rehabilitative measures, such as attendance at a DUI school, community service or alternative treatment programs.

Call 207-571-8146 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys today.

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What happens when you get your first OUI in Maine?

If you operate a motor vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 grams per 100ml or higher, you will be charged with OUI in Maine.

The charge can affect your employment, family, and your future because a misdemeanor will appear on your criminal record, even if it’s just your first offense.

In drunk-driving cases, after your arrest and charge, your driver’s license will immediately be suspended for 150 days by the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles). Even if you’re not yet charged with a crime, but you refuse to submit to the post-arrest chemical test, your license will be suspended under Maine’s “implied consent” law.

The refusal also leads to mandatory jail time of no less than 48 hours if you are later convicted of OUI and sentenced.

An administrative license suspension can be challenged within 10 days of being issued, providing a chance to save your license. Evidence must be presented before a Hearing Examiner. Chances of a positive outcome may be improved with legal representation.

The criminal process after an arrest and charge begins with an arraignment, which is the first court appearance. It’s advisable to have already sought legal advice before this hearing to discuss your legal options with an experienced OUI lawyer and challenge your license suspension.

1st OUI offense penalties and other consequences

If you are convicted of a first OUI offense in Maine, with no prior convictions and no breath test refusal on your record in the last 10 years in any state, the court’s OUI penalties include:

  • A mandatory minimum penalty of 150 days of license suspension (in addition to the administrative penalty)
  • A $500 fine
  • Additional surcharges and fees

If you want to drive after serving 30 days of your suspension, you may be able to do so if you’re eligible to fit an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for the remaining 120 days of the suspension.

If aggravating circumstances are present with the OUI, such as a blood or breath-alcohol content above .14, a passenger under 21 years of age, excessive speeding (30+ mph over the limit) or an accident, a mandatory minimum two-day jail sentence applies.

A refusal to take a chemical test (breath, urine or blood test) in these circumstances results in a mandatory minimum sentence of four days in jail and a $600 fine.

If an impaired driver causes the death of another person, a prison sentence of up to 30 years (for a felony) can be imposed, along with six years of probation, a $20,000 fine, and a license suspension of 10 years to life.

Accidents involving OUI drivers can result in significant civil claims as well as criminal charges.

The long-term consequences of a criminal record should not be ignored either. Simply having a blot on your record due to a first offense OUI can impact employment, education, accommodation, travel (including to Canada), and immigration status. Offenders may also face higher insurance premiums and find renting a car to be challenging.

Call 207-571-8146 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys today.

How can you beat a 1st OUI in Maine?

With the potentially serious consequences of a first OUI in Maine, pleading guilty is rarely the best option.

Despite what police officers say, proving OUI in court can be highly technical and is often problematic for the state, especially if you secure the help of an experienced OUI attorney.

Every case is different, but some common defenses include:

  • The police lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop your vehicle: the police need reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed, or the evidence gathered may not be admissible. Usually, speeding, running stop lights or exhibiting driving impairment patterns are cited by police as the cause for the stop.
  • Unreliable field sobriety test results: the results of the “Walk and Turn”, “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus” or the “One Leg Stand” tests, which are often used in Maine roadside OUI stops, can often be questioned as they depend on the subjective opinions of police officers.
  • Inaccurate breathalyzer or chemical test results: the equipment used during breath or chemical tests may have been poorly calibrated or the individual operating it may not have been authorized to do so or did not follow the correct procedures.
  • A medical condition: if you are taking certain medications or following certain diets that would affect the test results, it may be argued that this resulted in a higher-than-normal BAC.
  • Breach of constitutional rights: if law enforcement fails to uphold your constitutional rights during the stop, arrest or charge process, the case against you maybe dismissed.
  • BAC below .08% at the time of operation: alcohol levels in the blood gradually rise for up to three hours after consuming alcohol. The argument may sometimes be made that the reading was over .08 at the time the chemical test was taken but below it while operating the vehicle earlier.
  • Mistaken driver identity: the state must prove that you were the driver of the vehicle that was stopped.

If you or someone you know is the subject of first-time OUI charges in Maine, call The Maine Criminal Defense Group at 207-571-8146 for assistance.

Call 207-571-8146 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys today.

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