Maine OUI First Offense Attorneys
Serving the Biddeford, Portland, Saco, Augusta and Bangor Areas
If you are stopped by police in Maine for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit, you will be arrested for OUI. OUI stands for Operating a vehicle Under the Influence. OUI is also known as DWI or DUI depending on the region.
When you are arrested for OUI, your criminal record is examined to see if you have any previous drunk driving convictions. In Maine, the last ten years of your record are examined. If you have not had any previous convictions or if your most recent conviction was over ten years ago, you will be charged with a 1st OUI offense. First-time offenders face fewer penalties than repeat offenders.
The evidence needed for an OUI arrest is very minimal. In order to be charged with OUI in Maine, you need to have a BAC over the legal limit (.08% for adults over 21 and .01% for minors under 21). The most accurate BAC readings are not available instantly, however, and it may take days or even weeks to get the results of an actual blood test. For this reason, a police officer can make an OUI arrest based purely on his/her suspicions. If you make a driving mistake like speeding and the officer thinks your eyes look red, you smell like alcohol or some other objective signal, you can be arrested. Maine criminal code §2411 explains:
The legal blood alcohol concentration limit for adults in Maine is .08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath. There is a zero tolerance policy for minors under 21 as well, so any amount of alcohol in a minor's system is too much. There is no set amount to how many drinks you can have before you are considered over the limit; it depends on many factors that are different for each person. Some of these factors include:
Weight – smaller people's BAC will generally rise faster due to having less body mass for the alcohol to evenly distribute in, resulting in a higher BAC concentration
Gender – women tend to reach the legal limit faster than men consuming the same amount of alcohol, which is due in large part to having a generally higher body fat content and less overall muscle mass (alcohol does not settle in body fat or bone mass; only the watery tissues such as muscle, blood, and organs such as the brain)
Food – the more food you have in your stomach, the slower your BAC rises
Time – alcohol is removed from the system at a rate of about 1 ounce per hour
Penalties for a First Time OUI in Maine
For a person with no previous OUI convictions in a ten year period, the charge is a Class D offense. Class D is one of the lightest criminal classifications, but this does not mean you will not experience penalties. According in Maine law, a first time OUI offender will be subjected to punishment including the following:
- A minimum fine of $500. If you refused to take a chemical BAC test, the minimum fine will be $600.
- Court ordered driver's license suspension of 150 days and an additional 275 days suspension time if you refused to submit to a test (imposed by the BMV)
You could also face jail time if any of the following situations occurred during your arrest:
- A minimum of 48 hours in jail will be served if you had a BAC of .15% or more
- A minimum of 48 hours in jail will be served if you were stopped for speeding 30 mph or more over the legal speed limit
- A minimum of 48 hours in jail will be served if you fled or attempted to flee police
- A minimum of 48 hours in jail will be served if you had a minor under 21 in the car with you
- A minimum of 96 hours in jail will be served if you refused to take a chemical BAC test such as a blood, breath or urine test
These set out minimums, but the judge is free to sentence you to more jail time or steeper fines depending on the circumstances of the case. In addition to these penalties, a judge can also use their discretion to add penalties like community service and probation to your sentence.
Maine OUI Defense Attorney
Attorney William Bly can help most people in any situation. We work hard to give our clients the best advice and help them through the legal process. There are many defenses for an OUI charge, but one of the main ones is questioning whether you were really impaired at all. Tests that measure BAC levels can give erroneous results. Regardless of your BAC, we can fight to show how the reading may have been inaccurate, based on numerous factors.
No matter what your OUI charges, we can help you find a good defense strategy. Our firm has been successfully defending clients for many years. Call us now to get started on your case.