Consequences Of Being Arrested For OUI In Maine -  Ashe Law Offices

A simple mistake can sharply escalate out of your control once law enforcement gets involved, as any driver in Maine pulled over for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) knows all too well. In this article, we have gathered some important advice and useful information for anyone facing OUI charges in Maine, including:

  • What will happen to your driver’s license after an OUI conviction in Maine.
  • Two options that will allow you to continue driving after an OUI conviction.
  • The possible penalties for an OUI conviction in Maine (and how to avoid them).

What Is Going To Happen To My Driver's License After An OUI Arrest In Maine?

Driver's license suspensions due to an Operating Under the Influence (OUI) charge involve a complex process that typically unfolds in two potential phases. The first is the administrative suspension, which occurs while your case is pending, and the second is the court suspension, which happens if you are convicted.

Following an OUI arrest in Maine, your license is likely to face a temporary suspension, and it will certainly be suspended if you refuse to undergo a chemical test. However, this suspension can be contested through an administrative hearing at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) which provides an opportunity to challenge the suspension and present arguments in your defense.

How Will An OUI Conviction Impact My Driver’s License Suspension In Maine?

Following a conviction for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) in Maine, a 150-day loss of your license or right to operate is typically expected for a first offense. However, there are circumstances that could lead to longer suspensions:

  • Chemical Test Refusal (Implied Consent Violation)

If you were convicted after refusing to take a breath or blood test, you might face a more extended consecutive suspension.

  • Underage Passenger

Having an underage passenger could result in an additional 275 days added to the overall suspension time.

  • Multiple Offenses

Second or third offenses within a close span of years may also result in longer suspensions.

On the positive side, if you have already completed your administrative suspension, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) may give you credit for the time already served. In such a situation, you can request a stay of execution from the BMV to confirm your completed suspension. This means that if you are convicted, you won't face an additional suspension, treating the administrative and court suspensions as overlapping rather than cumulative.

While a suspension after an OUI conviction is highly likely, an experienced OUI defense attorney can potentially help you retain driving privileges, especially if there are no aggravating factors involved.

Can I Get A Temporary Or Restricted Driver's License After An OUI In Maine?

In Maine, being charged with OUI typically doesn't mean you will face a complete revocation of your driving privileges. For most offenders, there are two options available:

  • Work-Restricted License

This option, often granted during the administrative suspension by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, allows first-time offenders to continue driving for work purposes only throughout the entire suspension period. However, be cautious about accepting or requesting a work-restricted license, as the time spent driving under it may not count towards a suspension that arises from a conviction of OUI, potentially requiring you to serve both.

  • Ignition Interlock Device

This involves installing an ignition interlock device in your car, preventing you from driving if you've been drinking. The device requires a breath sample before starting the car and sometimes during driving. Despite the inconvenience, this option gets you back on the road after just 30 days, allowing you to complete the remaining suspension period (120 days) with the device.

To qualify, you must complete a Driver Education and Evaluation Program (DEEP course), available online via Zoom. Because of this, you may consider completing the DEEP course ahead of time while waiting for the administrative suspension decision to help streamline the reinstatement process with the ignition interlock device.

What Are The Penalties For An OUI Conviction In Maine?

The penalties you face for an OUI conviction will depend on a number of different factors, including whether you have been convicted for it before.

  • For a first OUI offense, the mandatory minimum penalty imposed is just a $500 fine in addition to the 150-day loss of license mentioned above.
  • If you have an alcohol blood test result of .15 or higher, the minimum penalty increases to a minimum of 48 hours in jail and at least a $500 fine.
  • If you refuse a chemical test, you will be facing a minimum of four days in jail and at least a $600 fine.
  • Second offenses automatically result in a minimum of seven days in jail and at least a $700 fine.
  • A third offense is a minimum of 30 days of jail time, and the fine goes up to at least $1,000.

Those are the minimum penalties, but what about the maximum or the likely penalty?

Misdemeanor OUIs are Class D offenses, which means the hypothetical maximum punishment could be anywhere up to 364 days and a $2,000 fine unless there are other factors in play (such as injuries or property damage).

Generally, however, prosecutors will tailor their requested sentence to whatever the mandatory minimum is. For example, if your blood alcohol level is registered as .17, the mandatory minimum is two days jail time, which is what the prosecutor will ask for most of the time. While there may be exceptions, a good OUI defense lawyer will usually see these coming and anticipate them.

If I Just Plan To Plead Guilty To A DUI Charge In Maine, Do I Still Need An OUI Defense Attorney?

Pleading guilty is a difficult choice, which should never be made from a place of ignorance. You should always consult with a defense lawyer at the very least before making the decision so that you fully understand your options and their potential consequences.

Because OUIs involve so much science, there are issues with these cases that might surprise you. Sometimes fact patterns you would think are damning end up with very good results. For example, even a case with a high blood alcohol level will sometimes get dismissed because of a technicality with the test.

The truth is, only an OUI defense attorney who regularly handles OUI cases can really give you an accurate assessment of your situation. What’s more, even if there are no issues with your case and you really do just want to plead guilty, there are immigration issues, licensing issues, and plenty of other legal nuances that will come up that you are going to struggle with if you have not dealt with them before.

Even if you feel like you did something wrong and just want to take responsibility, that does not mean you should be punished more harshly for what you did. An attorney will ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and that you won't face any unnecessary consequences. For more information on The Consequences Of 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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