Administrative License Suspension Laws in Maine
Experienced Defense Attorneys Serving Portland, Saco, Bangor, Biddeford, and Augusta Regions
One very important piece of Maine OUI information to know is that when you are charged with any type of OUI / DUI offense in Maine, your license will be automatically suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Many people think that they will only receive negative consequences if they are convicted for OUI, but the BMV will suspend your license if you are even charged with a DUI. In fact, you only have 10 days from the date of suspension to act in order to stop the suspension of your license. Failure to request a DMV hearing will result in the suspension of your license for the time period indicated on the notice of suspension.
Your ability to drive is very important. Most people rely on their cars to get to work, school, health appointments and to run everyday tasks. Many people in Maine live in an area without adequate public transportation and are not very pedestrian friendly. If your license gets suspended you will have to rely on other people for rides on a daily basis. This can make it impossible to get to school or work without depending on someone else for your ride. Even if the circumstances surrounding your DUI charge are flimsy and you believe your charges will be dropped, you are still eligible for immediate license suspension from the DMV.
Maine BMV Hearings
When a person is charged with DUI they're actually facing with two different charges. The first is the criminal case for driving while impaired. The second is a DMV suspension. You only have 10 days to request a DMV hearing following the date of suspension as noted.
There are only two things that you are allowed to argue during your administrative hearing. Both of them can collaterally impact the outcome on the criminal OUI charge. The arguments you make during this hearing as well as the results have are relevant to your criminal OUI charge. However, they are not dispositive on the criminal OUI outcome. For example, you can be successful in your administrative hearing and get your license returned and still be found guilty of OUI in your criminal hearing.
The two points that you are allowed to argue in your hearing are as follows:
- No Probable Cause – In an administrative hearing, the only Constitutional issue that is relevant to the hearing is the probable cause issue. That means that the hearings administrative officer can look at everything in the case, from the time the officer first spotted your car on the road, all the way until he placed you under arrest... and everything in between to determine if probable cause exists to believe your OUI. Probable cause is less than preponderance of the evidence and is an extremely low hurdle for the State to overcome.
- Not Over the Limit – To be charged with OUI in Maine, drivers over 21 must have a BrAC of .08% or over and drivers under 21 can be charged for any BrAC over .00%. Another defense in an administrative trial is arguing that you were not over the legal limit at the time of driving. Normally, you attack the accuracy of the results by attacking the sobriety test results and challenging the accuracy of the results themselves. With that said, if you have a high BrAC and no scientific explanation for said BrAC, the challenge to the validity of the BrAC test usually fails. Another area of the BrAC test that is ripe for attack concerns the administration of the test itself. If the officer deviates from the standard testing protocols, that could be grounds for a dismissal of the BMV suspension. If your arrest was for drug intoxication, there is currently no legal limit, so any presence of drugs can be grounds for a criminal charge. You can, however, still argue that there was no probable cause to believe you were operating under the influence.
Administrative License Penalties
If you do not request a hearing within the given time frame or you are not successful in pleading your case, your administrative license suspension will remain in effect. The suspension is in addition to any other suspension periods that you may be subject to if you are convicted of OUI.
The administrative suspension periods for OUI offenses are as follows:
First-time OUI offense in a ten year period – 150 days of license suspension
Second-time OUI offense in a ten year period – 3 years of license suspension
Third-time OUI offense in a ten year period – 6 years of license suspension
Fourth-time OUI offense in a ten year period - 8 years of license suspension
You will also face an additional 275 day administrative license suspension if either of the following apply to your arrest:
- You refused a State administered chemical sobriety test
- There was a passenger in your vehicle at the time of your arrest that was under the age of 21
There are several special licenses that a driver can get if they lose their license to administrative suspension. They include:
- Conditional License
- Work Restricted License
- Conditional or restricted license upon completion of alcohol and drug program
- Special restricted license for participation in education and treatment programs
- Special restricted license with installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
Administrative License Suspension Defense
There are many things that a Maine DUI lawyer can do for you to protect your license and your rights. Whether we can prevent license suspension, get you a limited driving permit or get the DUI charges dropped altogether, we will work hard to do everything we can for your case. Attorney William Bly has a vast knowledge of the Maine OUI process, defenses and OUI law.
If you are facing DUI charges and are worried about license suspension, call our firm right now to find out about your rights. Your best chance at obtaining the results you need lies in retaining a professional whose chosen background lies with DUI defense.