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DUI/DWI Information for Maine

Driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) is an offence committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants. Increased alcohol levels in the driver's blood lead to diminished mental and motor reactions which, in turn, reduce the driver's ability to control the vehicle. This significantly increases the risk of the driver committing errors of judgment and often results in accidents causing severe injuries and even death. This offense is referred to as OUI in the state of Maine.

In Maine, as in the rest of the US, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities and accounts for an alarmingly high 40% to 50% of the total number of motor vehicle related deaths every year.

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REGULATIONS FOR DUI/DWI IN MAINE

In Maine, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08% for drivers over 21 years of age and it is set at 0.02% for those under 21. For commercial drivers, the limit is set at 0.04%.

Having a Maine license automatically provides your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer, while driving. This is the law of "implied consent" and can be used by the officer to test you if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, either through a breathalyser test or by an actual blood test to check the BAC. Refusing to take the chemical test will result in your license being revoked for a 275 days for first offense, 18 months if you refuse a second time, four years for third time, and six years if you refuse for the fourth time.

Points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended or revoked, if you convicted of DUI/DWI. The number of points assessed, depend on the severity of the offense and the number of times you have been convicted for it.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS OVER 21:

If you are over 21 years old, and are caught with BAC higher than the set limit of 0.08%, you may be subjected to criminal actions in addition to administrative actions. If the DUI/DWI incident you are involved in is subjected to criminal action, it is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.

  1. The first offense may result in imprisonment for at least 48 hours for BAC of 0.15% or above (96 hours if you refuse to submit to a test) and/or minimum $500 fine ($600 if you refuse to submit to a test). Also, if convicted for a first offense BAC or DWI or for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID):
    • Points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be suspended for 90 days.
    • You may be eligible to apply for a Work Restricted License if you meet the requirements.
  2. The second offense in ten years ("multiple offender") may result in imprisonment for minimum of seven days (12 days if you refuse to submit to a test) and/or minimum $700 fine ($900 if you refuse to submit to a test). Also, if convicted for the second offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
    • Points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be revoked for three years.
    • You may be eligible to apply for a Work Restricted License if you meet the requirements.
    • The court may suspend your right to register a vehicle.
    • You will have to undergo the drug and alcohol program of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse.
  3. The third offense or two previous offenses in ten years ("multiple offender") is treated as a Class C crime and may result in imprisonment for minimum 30 days (40 days if you refuse to submit to a test) and/or minimum $1100 fine ($1400 if you refuse to submit to a test). Also, if convicted for the third offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  4. Points will be added to your driving record.
  5. Your license will be suspended for a six years.
  6. You may be eligible to apply for a Work Restricted License if you meet the requirements.
  7. The court may suspend your right to register a vehicle.
  8. You will have to undergo the drug and alcohol program of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse.
  9. The fourth offense or three or more offenses in ten years ("habitual offender") is treated as a Class C crime and may result in imprisonment minimum six months (six months and 20 days if you refuse to submit to a test) and/or up to a $2100 fine ($2500 if you refuse to submit to a test). Also, if convicted for the fourth offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  10. Points will be added to your driving record.
  11. Your license will be suspended for six years.
  12. You may be eligible to apply for a Work Restricted License if you meet the requirements.
  13. The court may suspend your right to register a vehicle
  14. You will have to drive with an Ignition Interlock Device for four years after suspension ends.
  15. You will have to undergo the drug and alcohol program of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21

  1. Points will be added to your driving record and your license suspended or revoked, if you are convicted under the "minor in possession/other alcohol offenses" law(trying to purchase, possessing or having purchased any intoxicant; or being intoxicated using alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants; or having a BAC higher than 0.02%) while driving.
  2. The Juvenile Provisional license may be suspended for one year after the first conviction, for two years after the second conviction, and for a full year following the third or subsequent conviction.
  3. There is an additional suspension of 180 days if you are accompanied by another under 21 year old at the time of the offense.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to minors if they are convicted of DUI/DWI.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS

If you drive a commercial vehicle and hold a commercial driver license (CDL):

  1. Points will be added to your driving record and you will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for a year for your first offense, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04%. You will also be issued an "out-of-service" order valid for 24 hours by the arresting officer if there is any detectable alcohol amount of below 0.04%.
  2. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04% while transporting hazardous materials.
  3. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for life if you are convicted for any of these offenses for the second time.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to commercial drivers for their first and second offenses of DUI/DWI. The other penalties do not apply since they are barred after the second offense.

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI:

Maine laws have administrative implications in addition to the criminal laws against DUI/DWI. An officer may arrest a driver if:

  • He/she is aged 21 and above and is driving with BAC 0.08% or more.
  • He/she is aged below 21 and is driving with BAC 0.02% or more.

If you are arrested for DUI/DWI, the arresting officer will confiscate your Maine driver license, complete a notice of license suspension/revocation based on the nature of the offense along with a warrant, if applicable; and send the entire set to the Secretary of State.

The driver can schedule an administrative hearing within 10 days of the notice of suspension/revocation. It is a good idea to consult a DUI/DWI lawyer beforehand. If the hearing goes against the driver, his license will be suspended or revoked based on his previous five-year driving record. You may be eligible to apply for a Work Restricted License if you meet the requirements. The suspension or revocation begins 10 days after the final order of the hearing officer is mailed from the Secretary of State.

LICENSE REINSTATEMENT AFTER DUI/DWI SUSPENSION/REVOCATION:

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI, it will result in your license being suspended or revoked. This means that your driving privileges will be taken away and you will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, once the period of suspension or revocation is over. Reinstating a license after a suspension of a year, or revocation will also mean taking the driving tests all over again. These will include the vision test, knowledge test and the road test. If you do not complete the reinstatement requirements, the license will remain suspended or revoked.

  1. To complete the reinstatement requirements, you must prove that you have successfully completed the other drug and alcohol program of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse or a comparable program (the agency will send the proof to the BMV once you have completed the program), pay the reinstatement fee of $50 (for violations that have occurred after August 31, 2008), and maintain proof of financial responsibility as required by filing SR-22.
  2. If you are being convicted after August 31, 2008, you may be eligible for driving with an ignition interlock device to be placed for breathalyser tests on any vehicle you drive provided you meet the conditions.
  3. You can submit the reinstatement application and fees in person at a Bureau of Motor Vehicles office near you. The money order or check must be drawn in favour of the Secretary of State.

    You can call (207) 624-9000 Ext. 52100 for information about revocation or suspension or write to the following address:

    Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    

    Driver License Services Division

    29 State House Station

    Augusta, Maine 04333-0029

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • DUI/DWI has been a major cause of death and injury in our nation and it is our duty to prevent such needless pain and suffering. Simply: If you drink, DON'T DRIVE! If we all follow this rule to the letter - thousands of lives will be saved each year.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI get help from a DUI/DWI Lawyer.
  • See also Suspended License, Point System and Traffic Ticket Lawyers.
  • You can apply for early license reinstatement and drive an ignition interlock device for your second or third OUI offense provided you meet the conditions after nine months for second offense, after three years for third offense, and after the total suspension period is over for fourth and subsequent offense.
  • Your license may be suspended for 275 days more if you are accompanied by an under 21 year old at the time of the offense.
  • For the same offense, the period of administrative suspension ordered by the Secretary of State before DUI/DWI conviction will be deducted from time period of any suspension imposed by the court.
  • You will have to pay a $30 surcharge for aggravated punishment category. The amount is $125 if you operated or tried to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and liquor.
  • Your vehicle may be seized or you may have to forfeit your vehicle. Your vehicle may be seized and kept for at least eight hours. You will have to bear towing and storage costs.
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