Being Arrested For OUI In Maine - Ashe Law Offices

Flashing lights start beaming in your rearview mirror and thoughts start flying through your head: how many drinks did you have with dinner? The next thing you know, an officer is asking you to step out of your vehicle or breathe into a breathalyzer device. What should you do? That is what this article will help you figure out: what to do and what to expect when pulled over or arrested for Operating a motor vehicle Under the Influence of Intoxicants (OUI) in Maine. It discusses:

  • Whether you should give a breath or blood sample for alcohol level testing during an arrest.
  • How the state proves that you were driving or operating a vehicle while impaired.
  • What happens to your driver’s license during and after your OUI arrest in Maine.

Do I Have To Give A Breath Or Blood Sample During An OUI Arrest In Maine? What Happens If I Refuse?

By driving in Maine, you are, in theory, considered to have given consent to provide a breath or blood sample, as per the implied consent law. This law mandates that you comply with an officer's request for such a sample when driving.

In theory, the officer should have probable cause—a valid reason—to request a breath or blood test. However, in practice, engaging in real-time debates with officers about your due process rights is generally not favored by the justice system. Consequently, it is often advisable to avoid conflict or debate with the officer, comply with the request, and then address the legality of the request later in court.

What Are The Consequences Of Refusing A Breath Or Blood Alcohol Test In Maine?

Typically, after being arrested and brought to a jail or police station, authorities may ask for a blood or breath test. If you decline to provide the requested chemical sample at this stage, your driver's license can face an administrative suspension.

Whether you hold a Maine driver's license or one from another state or country, the suspension period is 275 days simply for refusing the test. Importantly, the state isn't required to demonstrate impairment at this point; they only need to establish that you declined the test. This administrative suspension occurs during the administrative hearing.

Is There Anything I Can Do To Avoid The Driver’s License Suspension After Refusing A Test?

Fortunately, there are legal arguments that an attorney can leverage to help you steer clear of license suspension. If you declined a chemical test without proper notification or without understanding the implied consent form, you may have a way out. This is especially true if the form is not clear due to language barriers, such as if English is not your primary language.

Another potential defense is challenging the absence of probable cause for administering the test. Prevailing in this argument during the administrative hearing could potentially spare you from the 275-day suspension.

However, dealing with this suspension will be challenging regardless, because your license will be suspended while you await the administrative hearing, restricting your ability to drive. Moreover, if law enforcement proceeds to charge you with Operating While Intoxicated (OUI), the fact that you refused the test could result in a sentencing enhancement, leading to a mandatory minimum of four days in jail.

How Will The Police Convict Me For An OUI Without A Breath Or Blood Sample?

To secure a conviction for an Operating Under the Influence (OUI) charge, the state must demonstrate that you were impaired, and they can rely on various types of evidence beyond just a chemical test.

Unfortunately, if you are convicted of an OUI in the Maine court system, you will automatically face a 150-day loss of your license or right to operate. What makes it worse is that this period is consecutive with the suspension for refusing the test if you choose not to take it.

As a result, refusing the test may limit the state's evidence against you, but it comes with serious and risky consequences. If you refuse and still get convicted, you could end up with a 425-day loss of your right to drive. This makes the decision to refuse the test a significant and weighty choice.

What Will Happen To My Driver's License After An OUI Arrest And Charge In Maine? Do I Lose It Immediately?

If you refuse a breath or blood test, or if your test results indicate a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, your license may face suspension, but it won't happen immediately. An arresting officer can submit a form to the Secretary of State's office in response to a test refusal or elevated results. Subsequently, the government processes this form and sends you a personal letter notifying you of the impending license suspension in Maine. The suspension becomes effective on the specified date in the letter.

While you retain the right to challenge this suspension, it's crucial to note that the letter is sent directly to you, not your lawyer. Informing your lawyer promptly upon receiving the letter enables them to request a hearing with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

In most cases, you are allowed to continue driving while awaiting the hearing. The actual suspension is typically postponed until the hearing determines whether your license should be suspended or not. Since you usually receive this letter within a month of being charged, it's essential to reach out to a defense attorney as soon as possible after your Operating Under the Influence (OUI) arrest. For more information on Being Arrested On OUI Charges In Maine, an initial consultation is your next best step.

William Ashe, Esq Attorney - Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ellsworth Maine - Ashe Law Offices
Call Now To Speak With Attorney Ashe: (207) 813-2935

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