Maine's operating under the influence (OUI) laws might seem stringent for adults. They're even more serious for those under the age of 21.
Drivers under the age of 21 are held to a higher standard than adult drivers under the OUI laws of Maine. If you're underaged, you will be charged with OUI if you're stopped and found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or over 0.08%, just like an adult. You will face a license suspension, fines, jail time, and other penalties – all of which depend on whether you're a repeat offender, or if there were any aggravating factors – just like an adult, though your license will be suspended for at least a year. However, things change drastically if you're under 21, and have a BAC below 0.08%, but above zero.
While adults can only have their license suspended and face an OUI charge if their BAC was at or over 0.08%, if you're under 21, you can have your license suspended for having any alcohol in your system. This is Maine's “zero tolerance” policy for young drivers. It was enacted to keep young, inexperienced drivers off the roadways if they're also struggling to function after drinking. The penalty is harsh: if you're under 21, and are found driving a vehicle with any alcohol in your system, your license will be suspended for an entire year. Add another 180 days – that's six more months – to this suspension if you're driving with a passenger who's under 21, as well.
But that's not all.
If you're under 21 and you're found driving with a BAC over zero, you'll also be facing other charges and fines, as well.
Because the drinking age is 21, it's a civil violation to possess – including internally, in your stomach – or transport any alcohol. Because these are civil violations, and not criminal violations, there are only fines; no possible jail time or any loss of liberty. The fines, however, are steep, if you're young – even if you're working, and have an income. For possessing alcohol, the fine can be between $100 and $500, depending on whether you're a repeat offender:
|1st Offense||$100- $300|
|2nd Offense||$200 - $500|
|3rd or Subsequent Offense||$500|
For transporting alcohol, there's both a fine and a license suspension:
|1st Offense||Maximum $500||30 days|
|2nd Offense||Minimum $200||90 days|
|3rd Offense||Minimum $400||1 year|
In addition to the fines, license suspension, and possible jail time, there's also the blemish on your criminal record that comes with an OUI conviction. When you're faced with this many penalties all at once, it can be overwhelming. Call the law offices of William T. Bly at (207) 571-8146, to have an experienced hand guide you through the process, protect your rights, and get you the best results possible.