By: John S. Webb, Webb Law Firm, Covering All Southern Maine Cities
In Maine an OUI charge (Maine.gov website) means “Operating Under the Influence” of intoxicants. Intoxicants can mean alcohol or drugs that can impair your ability to drive. Most USA state laws call this crime “driving under the influence.” The broad category of impairing substances includes prescription drugs, marijuana and even some over-the-counter medications like Benadryl.
About 38 states call the crime of drunken driving either DUI or DWI. Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are the only three states that use O.U.I. as the acronym for being charged with intoxicated operation of a motor vehicle. For purposes of this article, our law office will use the abbreviations DUI and OUI interchangeably.
What Is an OUI Offense?
A Maine OUI charge is committed by either operating a motor vehicle, or attempting to operate a motor vehicle, if you are impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol or drugs. Plus, even sleeping in a parked vehicle, if your blood or breath alcohol level from an implied consent test turns out to be .08 grams percent or greater, an adult driver (21 years of age or older) faces the related crime of being over the legal limit for alcohol in the bloodstream.
You can be found guilty of OUI in Maine even if you can safely operate a motor vehicle, so long as you are impaired to even the slightest degree. You can be charged with breaking OUI laws even if you are driving on private property – such as on your own driveway or private land.
A police officer or state trooper will pull you over if he or she observes you going over the posted speed limit, or if after the officer turns on the siren and blue lights you don’t pull over, you could be charged with attempting to elude police. Once an officer pulls you over he or she will begin a drunk driving investigation. Possible jail time even after the night of your arrest is a possible penalty if you get convicted.
Click this LINK for more information about Maine OUI laws.
What Should I Do After Being Charged With OUI?
Maine’s OUI law is very strict. To obtain the best possible outcome, you are likely to need the services of a highly-experienced OUI lawyer. While no lawyer can guarantee that you will win your case, talking to Saco OUI attorney John S. Webb first will make you feel a lot better about your case.
Mr. Webb will provide you with a case evaluation at no charge to you. This evaluation will involve a careful analysis of the facts of your case, your personal medical and physical history that could affect your OUI criminal defense, and an outline of the defenses available to you.
Can I Still Legally Drive After My Arrest for Impairment?
The fact that you were charged with OUI does not mean that your license is automatically suspended. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), however, is probably planning to suspend your license soon (administrative suspension or loss of license). Until you are notified by the BMV that your license is suspended, you can continue to drive.
Be very sure that the BMV has your correct address. Any notice of suspension from the BMV will be sent to your last known address. If you did not change your address with the BMV, the notice will not be forwarded to you because it is sent via second-class mail. If the notice of suspension is sent and you do not receive it because it went to the wrong address, you can still be charged with, and jailed for, operating after suspension.
It is important that you start to defend your criminal case with an experienced OUI attorney as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary Maine OUI penalties like license suspension, and to prepare your defenses. While our attorneys in Maine may not be able to save licenses for every client in all cases, our Maine OUI attorneys can minimize the length of suspension in almost every case. If your license is suspended the Maine Secretary of State may reinstate your driving privileges if you adhere to certain rules. Normally a first offense OUI defendant faces a mandatory minimum 150-day license suspension and a $500 fine if there are no aggravating factors (upon an OUI conviction of course).
Shouldn’t I just plead guilty and accept the consequences?
NO! Do not plead guilty!
Many people believe that “no defense exists for a OUI charge, so why hire a DUI attorney?” Such guesswork at the chances of winning a DUI prosecution is the leading cause of citizens in Maine putting a drunk driving conviction on their criminal record. Stop guessing at the future outcome of one of the most likely crimes for top-rated attorneys obtaining a favorable resolution, especially a first offense DUI charge. Our OUI lawyers are not daunted or deterred by you being accused, even if your case involves a refusal to submit to a chemical breath test or blood test, or your blood alcohol content (BAC) was double the legal limit.
Many DUI defenses may be available in your pending OUI case in Maine, including a police officer’s failure to read the implied consent notice. The legal advice obtained during your no-cost DUI case evaluation will also assist our lawyers in Maine to determine likely OUI defenses to the drunk driving charges against you. After your FREE consultation, you then decide whether you want to pursue those defenses. A few of the many possible defenses include:
- A Fourth Amendment violation of the United States Constitution for lack of adequate evidence to use emergency lights to stop your vehicle, and then arrest you for OUI charges;
- Lack of adequate evidence to require the arrested driver to take a breath alcohol test or blood test;
- A violation of implied consent laws, relating to properly notifying a detained driver of his or her obligation to take a post-arrest chemical test of breath alcohol, blood or urine.
- Failure to strictly follow breath alcohol test procedures, which are regulated by forensic collection procedures under Maine laws;
- Advance age, infirmity or medical conditions that affect field sobriety tests; and
- Errors in the breath testing device’s printed results or contamination of the sample.
When should I contact a Maine DUI lawyer?
You should contact Big John Webb or his two very able associate attorneys in Maine, Katie Campbell and Vincent LoConte. Retaining legal counsel as soon as possible after you are charged with OUI is very helpful for fully defending and protecting all your legal rights.
An accused citizen in Maine should discuss the O.U.I. charge with our lawyers in Portland ME or Saco ME as soon as possible. Letting our Southern Maine attorneys debrief you while your memory is still fresh will yield more details. Planning your DUI defense before the need to act – before the BMV suspends you – or attending the criminal court arraignment is imperative.
Early action by calling our law office’s attorneys at 207-283-6400 and retaining our Maine lawyers may allow you to minimize loss of driving privileges or avoid license suspension, not serve jail time, pay fines and many other problems associated with an OUI charge in Maine. Our Maine attorneys know that avoiding conviction or having an administrative BMV suspension are our law firm’s objectives. An OUI offense is not the end of the world, but our DUI lawyers’ job is to help you obtain the best possible outcome.