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Can I refuse a chemical test in Maine after pulled over for OUI?

Posted by Will Ashe | Oct 02, 2019 | 0 Comments

You have choices. When you are pulled over, maybe for a minor traffic violation, and the officer for whatever reason suspects you may be operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OUI), you have a choice when asked to participate in field sobriety tests or to submit to a chemical test – more specifically, to a breath or blood test. 

Refusal, however, in terms of submitting to a breath or blood test, can have an immediate impact on your driving privileges regardless of whether or not you are actually illegally intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle in Maine. Refusing to perform a field sobriety test has no such consequence.  

Here's what you should know before you refuse a breath or blood test during an OUI investigation in Maine.

Consequences of a Breath or Blood Test Refusal in Maine

There are two specific consequences that occur in Maine when you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test. 

  1. Your driver's license will automatically be suspended for at least 18 months and an additional 180 days is added if you had a passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle; and
  2. Your refusal will be considered as an aggravating factor in your criminal case for operating a vehicle under the influence, and that means your sentence may end up harsher than what it could have been. See the table below that provides the number of the offense with no aggravating circumstances versus the same number of the offense but with a refusal.

Offense

Suspension

Jail Time

Fine

1st 

150 days

0

$500

1st refusal

275 days

48 hours

$500

2nd

3 years

7 days

$700

2nd refusal

3 years

12 days

$900

3rd

6 years

30 days

$1,100

3rd refusal

6 years

40 days

$1,400

4th

8 years

6 months

$2,100

4th refusal

8 years

6 months & 20 days

$2,500


Knowing what the consequences are, it may be in your best interests to not refuse a breath or blood test in Maine. Remember: these tests can be challenged (and challenged successfully in many cases with the right OUI attorney in Maine) but what can't be challenged (at least not as easily) is a refusal.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Refusing a Breath or Blood Test in Maine

There are a few things you will want to keep in mind if you are ever pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

First, it is understandable your initial reaction to an officer's request of you to submit to a breath or blood test may be to refuse it. You may think to do so will prevent evidence against you, but that is inaccurate. You can be arrested and later convicted of an OUI without test results indicating your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. There is other evidence that the officer can obtain that requires no BAC – and the law does not require a BAC result in order to convict you, but having one makes prosecution of an OUI that much easier for the prosecutor.

Also, even if you refuse, the police can still obtain a warrant. A warrant can allow the officer to obtain a blood sample as opposed to a simple breath test. Keep in mind that blood tests are much more accurate than breath test results, and as such, harder to challenge (that said, they can still be challenged).

An OUI charge is serious. Speak with a skilled OUI attorney in Maine to understand what you are up against and how you can build a strong defense, especially when you have refused a breath or blood test.

About the Author

Will Ashe

William Ashe is an experienced trial attorney with a career track record of determined effective representation and consistent sustained success on behalf of his clients. William Ashe started trying cases when he was 10 years old.  At a school mock trial, Will defended a wrongly accused student ...

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