Operating under the influence (OUI) law in Maine requires drivers in the state to perform a “blood, breath or urine” test whenever lawfully asked by a uniformed police officer. But what exactly is a “blood, breath or urine” test?
The OUI defense lawyers at WTB Law explain.
Maine's OUI Law Implies Your Consent to Take a Blood, Breath, or Urine Test
OUI law now revolves around getting drivers to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample so law enforcement can see how much alcohol is in your blood. A key component in that effort is preventing drivers from refusing to provide those samples.
Maine does this through its implied consent law, which attaches a string to everyone's right to drive in Maine: in order to drive, people have to agree beforehand that they will perform a test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC) if asked. If they then refuse, they can face an automatic license suspension.
The terms of that implied consent law are found at Maine Revised Statutes 29-A § 2521, which says that drivers “shall submit to and complete a test to determine alcohol level and the presence of a drug or drug metabolite by analysis of blood, breath or urine” if there is probable cause to believe they are under the influence.
What is a Blood, Breath or Urine Test?
Police in Maine have a lot of options for testing an OUI suspect for their BAC. They can:
- Use a portable breathalyzer to get a preliminary BAC reading during the traffic stop (cannot be used for evidentiary purposes at trial);
- Make an arrest and conduct a breath test at the police station;
- Make an arrest and conduct a blood test at a local hospital, jail or the police station; or
- Make an arrest and conduct a urine test at the police station.
Importantly, it is the arresting officer who makes the decision about which test to do. Even if the driver is willing to perform a blood, breath, or urine test, refusing to do the test requested by the officer can be deemed a “refusal” that violates Maine's implied consent law.
What Tests Are Not Covered by Maine's Implied Consent Laws?
While Maine's police officers have numerous options, the state's implied consent laws are not all-encompassing. One crucial exception to the implied consent law is a field sobriety test, which involves neither blood, nor breath, nor urine. If a police officer requests you to do a field sobriety test, you can refuse to do so without being penalized with an automatic license suspension.
WTB Law: Maine's OUI-Defense Lawyers
Whenever you deal with the police, including at a traffic stop, it is important to remember that their only interest is to gather evidence that you committed a crime. Even when they say they are only trying to help or protect you, they are still keeping an eye out for any evidence they can use to make an arrest.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving or OUI in Maine, the OUI-defense lawyers at WTB Law can help. Contact them online or call their Portland law office at (207) 571-8146.