In Maine, operating under the influence is a serious offense. If you use drugs or drink alcohol and then get into your car and drive, you can be charged with an OUI if you're impaired to any degree but the drugs or alcohol you've consumed. Under this offense, a driver can face a range of penalties, from losing a driving license to fines and even jail time.
Your Blood Alcohol Content
Generally, a person operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of illegal drugs or with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more is guilty of an OUI. Your blood alcohol content is affected by a variety of factors, including your gender and weight and how much and when you eat, hematocrit levels, body temperature and various metabolic factors. Women have be shown to reach the same BAC levels as men with less alcohol consumed, according to the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, and your BAC may continue to rise even after you've stopped drinking because of your metabolic rate.
A person may not be able to tell when he or she has reached their limit, and with drinking, judgment often becomes impaired. These factors lead to drivers getting behind the wheel when they're not legally or physically capable of driving safely.
OUI Penalties and Zero Tolerance
Maine classes an OUI as Class D misdemeanor for first time offenders. It's punishable by a minimum penalty of a 150-day license suspension and $500 fine unless there are aggravating factors involved, such as a BAC over 0.15 percent or excess speeding. With aggravating factors, you can also face a mandatory minimum 48 hours of jail time. If you're pulled over yet refuse to take an alcohol test your fine will be raised to $600, you'll lose your license for an additional 275 days and you may face a mandatory minimum 96 hours of jail time. The penalties for drivers with previous offenses vary by number of past OUI convictions and are steeper. A driver on his or her third OUI, for example, faces a six-year license suspension, 30 days in jail and a $1,100 fine.
The "Zero Tolerance" law in Maine applies to drivers under 21 who are charged with an OUI. These drivers have their license automatically suspended based on the blood alcohol test and police report, before any court appearance, and will lose their license for at least one year.
Being charged with an OUI in Maine is a serious situation, as you can lose your license and even go to prison. Speak to an experienced OUI lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the best possible outcome for your case. If you, or a loved one, are in need of professional legal advice please contact the Law Office of William T. Bly for a free case evaluation at (207) 571-8146.