Drunk Driving Attorney Maine Explains DUI Laws

The legal term for DUI-OUI in Maine is Operating Under the Influence, or OUI. Two other states, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, also use the acronym “O.U.I.” for describing the crime of drunk driving. The more common abbreviation, DUI, stands for driving under the influence, and is the acronym used for most of the states. On our law firm’s southern ME website, our lawyers in Maine use the acronyms interchangeably.

OUI in Maine is found in 29-A MRSA § 2411. The crime is defined as operating any kind of motor vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. Alcohol, illegal drugs and even legally prescribed medications from a physician are all intoxicants that, if taken before or while operating a motor vehicle in Maine, can result in an OUI charge. For prescription medications, Maine laws provide that so long as the person taking such drugs is adhering to the dose prescribed, and following the warnings posted on each vial or medications, this constitutes a defense to being too impaired to drive.

If your physical and mental abilities are even slightly impaired in Maine, you are “under the influence.” So, if you are impaired to any degree, or if you have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) or breath alcohol content BrAC) of .08% or higher, any driver will be charged with a OUI-DUI in Maine.

Maine OUI Laws Explained

What Is the Alcohol Level for Being Over the Legal Limit?

However, the OUI-DUI per se legal limit of 0.08 grams percent BAC level for adult drivers does not apply to three situations:

  1. Drivers under the age of 21 cannot have ANY measurable amount of alcohol in their blood alcohol or breath alcohol, since Maine OUI laws call for zero tolerance.
  2. Operations of a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) are held to a 0.04 BAC level, for alcohol.
  3. Both 1st offense DUI or subsequent OUI in Maine are held to a zero-tolerance policy, if convicted. This law means that offenders are banned from driving with ANY alcohol in their system. First offense OUI offenders in Maine may not operate a motor vehicle with ANY alcohol in their system for 1 year after conviction for their first DUI offense. If a conviction for a 2nd DUI in 10 year occurs within a 10-year look back period, or a subsequent offense within 10 years of the DUI first offense, each new DUI conviction requires a 10-year “no alcohol” while driving requirement.

Maine OUI Penalties Are Severe Even for First Offense DUI

Maine OUI penalties are among the harshest in the nation. Even a first-time offender charged with a DUI offense in Maine can be sentenced to jail, probation, fines and license suspension.

Felony DUI in Maine, including cases that result in serious injury or loss of life, can send the offender to jail for years and revoke licenses for life. However, for a first offense DUI, almost all are misdemeanor offenses in Maine.

A wide range of penalties for violating Maine’s DUI laws has been established by the Maine Legislature. Although it is very rare for a first-time DUI offender to receive the maximum Maine drunk driving penalty, the sentence imposed in the average case carries serious DUI penalties and loss of entitlements.

York County Sheriff OUI

Provisions of Maine OUI Law – 29-A MRSA Section 2411

1-A. Offense. A person commits OUI if that person:

A. Operates a motor vehicle:

(1) While under the influence of intoxicants; or

(2) While having an alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath;

B. Violates paragraph A and:

(1) Has one previous OUI offense within a 10-year period;

(2) Has 2 previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period; or

(3) Has 3 or more previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period;

C. Violates paragraph A, failed to submit to a test at the request of a law enforcement officer and:

(1) Has no previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period;

(2) Has one previous OUI offense within a 10-year period;

(3) Has 2 previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period; or

(4) Has 3 previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period; or

D. Violates paragraph A, B or C and:

(1) In fact causes serious bodily injury as defined in Title 17-A, section 2, subsection 23 to another person;

(1-A) In fact causes the death of another person; or

(2) Has either a prior conviction for a Class B or Class C crime under this section or former Title 29, section 1312-B or a prior criminal homicide conviction involving or resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs or with an alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath. For purposes of this subparagraph, the 10-year limitation specified in section 2402 and Title 17-A, section 9-A, subsection 3 does not apply to the prior criminal homicide conviction or to a prior conviction for a Class B or Class C crime under this section or former Title 29, section 1312-B. The convictions may have occurred at any time.

2. Pleading and proof. The alternatives outlined in subsection 1-A, paragraph A may be pleaded in the alternative. The State is not required to elect between the alternatives prior to submission to the fact finder. In a prosecution under subsection 1-A, paragraph D, the State need not prove that the defendant’s condition of being under the influence of intoxicants or having an alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath caused the serious bodily injury or death alleged. The State must prove only that the defendant’s operation caused the serious bodily injury or death. The court shall apply Title 17-A, section 33 in assessing any causation under this section.

3. Investigation. After a person has been charged with OUI, the officer shall investigate whether the charged person has prior OUI offenses. As part of the investigation, the officer shall make necessary inquiries of the Secretary of State.

4. Arrest. A law enforcement officer may arrest, without a warrant, a person the officer has probable cause to believe has operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants if the arrest occurs within a period following the offense reasonably likely to result in the obtaining of probative evidence of an alcohol level or the presence of a drug or drug metabolite.

5. Penalties. Except as otherwise provided in this section and section 2508, violation of this section is a Class D crime, which is a strict liability crime as defined in Title 17-A, section 34, subsection 4-A. The following minimum penalties apply and may not be suspended:

A. For a person having no previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period:

(1) A fine of not less than $500, except that if the person failed to submit to a test, a fine of not less than $600;

(2) A court-ordered suspension of a driver’s license for a period of 150 days; and

(3) A period of incarceration as follows:

(a) Not less than 48 hours when the person:

(i) Was tested as having an alcohol level of 0.15 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath;

(ii) Was exceeding the speed limit by 30 miles per hour or more;

(iii) Eluded or attempted to elude an officer; or

(iv) Was operating with a passenger under 21 years of age; and

(b) Not less than 96 hours when the person failed to submit to a test at the request of a law enforcement officer;

B. For a person having one previous OUI offense within a 10-year period:

(1) A fine of not less than $700, except that if the person failed to submit to a test at the request of a law enforcement officer, a fine of not less than $900;

(2) A period of incarceration of not less than 7 days, except that if the person failed to submit to a test at the request of a law enforcement officer, a period of incarceration of not less than 12 days;

(3) A court-ordered suspension of a driver’s license for a period of 3 years; and

(4) In accordance with section 2416, a court-ordered suspension of the person’s right to register a motor vehicle;

C. For a person having 2 previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period, which is a Class C crime:

(1) A fine of not less than $1,100, except that if the person failed to submit to a test at the request of a law enforcement officer, a fine of not less than $1,400;

(2) A period of incarceration of not less than 30 days, except that if the person failed to submit to a test at the request of a law enforcement officer, a period of incarceration of not less than 40 days;

(3) A court-ordered suspension of a driver’s license for a period of 6 years; and

(4) In accordance with section 2416, a court-ordered suspension of the person’s right to register a motor vehicle;

D. For a person having 3 or more previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period, which is a Class C crime:

(1) A fine of not less than $2,100, except that if the person failed to submit to a test at the request of a law enforcement officer, a fine of not less than $2,500;

(2) A period of incarceration of not less than 6 months, except that if the person failed to submit to a test at the request of a law enforcement officer, a period of incarceration of not less than 6 months and 20 days;

(3) A court-ordered suspension of a driver’s license for a period of 8 years; and

(4) In accordance with section 2416, a court-ordered suspension of the person’s right to register a motor vehicle;

(5) Deleted. Laws 2013, c. 187, § 1, eff. Oct. 9, 2013.

D-1. A violation of subsection 1-A, paragraph D, subparagraph (1) is a Class C crime, which is a strict liability crime as defined in Title 17-A, section 34, subsection 4-A. The sentence must include a period of incarceration of not less than 6 months, a fine of not less than $2,100 and a court-ordered suspension of a driver’s license for a period of 6 years. These penalties may not be suspended;

D-2. A violation of subsection 1-A, paragraph D, subparagraph (1-A) or (2) is a Class B crime, which is a strict liability crime as defined in Title 17-A, section 34, subsection 4-A. The sentence must include a period of incarceration of not less than 6 months, a fine of not less than $2,100 and a court-ordered suspension of a driver’s license for a period of 10 years. These penalties may not be suspended;

E. If a law enforcement officer failed to provide the warnings required by section 2521, subsection 3, the increase in minimum penalties required because of a refusal to submit to a test is not mandatory;

F. For a person sentenced under paragraph B, C or D, the court shall order the defendant to participate in the alcohol and other drug program of the Department of Health and Human Services. The court may waive the program pursuant to Title 5, section 20073-B, if the court finds that the defendant has completed an alcohol or other drug treatment program subsequent to the date of the offense; and

G. The court shall order an additional period of license suspension of 275 days for a person sentenced under paragraph A, B, C, D, D-1 or D-2 if the person was operating the motor vehicle at the time of the offense with a passenger under 21 years of age.

5-A. Notice and custody. The court shall give notice of a license suspension and shall take physical custody of the driver’s license, except when the defendant demonstrates that the defendant’s license was previously restored by the Secretary of State following an administrative suspension under section 2453 or 2453-A for operating under the influence based on the same facts and circumstances giving rise to the court-ordered suspension.

5-B. Additional period of suspension. The Secretary of State may impose an additional period of suspension under section 2451, subsection 3 or may extend a period of suspension until satisfaction of any conditions imposed pursuant to chapter 23, subchapter III, article 4.

6. Repealed. Laws 2003, c. 452, § Q-83, eff. July 1, 2004.

7. Surcharge. A surcharge must be charged for a conviction under this section. The surcharge is $30, except that, when the person operated or attempted to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or a combination of liquor and drugs, the surcharge is $125. For the purposes of collection procedures, the surcharge is considered a fine. Notwithstanding section 2602, this surcharge accrues to the Highway Fund for the purpose of covering the costs associated with the administration and analysis of alcohol level tests.

8. Juvenile crime. References in this Title to this section include the juvenile crime in Title 15, section 3103, subsection 1, paragraph F, and the disposition, including a suspension, for that juvenile crime in Title 15, section 3314, subsection 3, except as otherwise provided or except where the context clearly requires otherwise.

Considering Criminal Attorneys Near Me for a Maine OUI

Maine OUI Lawyers Saco and Portland

If you are looking at various law firms near me, in Southern Maine, consider the John Webb Law Firm for your criminal case. A criminal defense lawyer for over a quarter century, Big John knows the courts in southern Maine like the back of his hand. His law firm now has two locations, Saco and Portland. The addresses and phone numbers are shown below.

MAIN OFFICE IN SACO:

16 Middle St.
Saco, ME 04072
Office: 207-283-6400
Fax: 207-283-4900

PORTLAND OFFICE:

120 Exchange Street
4th Floor
Portland ME, 04101
Office: 207-283-6400
Fax: 207-283-4900

Plus, our criminal justice attorney practice now has three criminal defense attorneys near me, for any person charged with DUI-OUI south of Augusta, Maine. [See Map below]. Call us NOW for a FREE lawyer consultation, and FREE legal advice at this initial conference. 207-283-6400.

 

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