Maine's Implied Consent Law Explained
Serving Portland, Saco, Biddeford, Bangor, Portland and Augusta Regions
If you have been arrested for DUI in Maine, there is important information that you should know. One of the biggest concerns people have after an arrest for DUI is how their license will be affected. The ability to drive is very important as most people rely on their cars as their only means of transportation. There are several factors that come into play when deciding the fate of your driver's license after a DUI arrest. One of those is whether you violated Implied Consent laws during your arrest.
Maine's implied consent law is as follows:
§2521. Implied consent to chemical tests 1. Mandatory submission to test. If there is probable cause to believe a person has operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, that person shall submit to and complete a test to determine an alcohol level and drug concentration by analysis of blood, breath or urine. [ 2009, c. 447, §66 (AMD) .]
When you obtain a Maine driver's license, your consent to chemical tests such as blood, breath or urine, is implied. In order to order a breath test, a police officer need only to have probable cause to arrest you. If you refuse to take a chemical test, you are violating the law and will face a severe license suspension.
Implied Consent Lawyer in Maine
If you are stopped by police for a traffic violation or during a sobriety checkpoint, they will look for signs of intoxication. Anything from the way you are acting to the smell of your breath can be considered an indication that you might be driving drunk. If they do suspect you have been drinking, the officers will likely ask you to take a field sobriety test. These tests, such as standing on one leg or walking a straight line, are purely voluntary and can be declined without penalty. The results of field sobriety tests can be used against you in court as evidence to your DUI, but you are free to decline taking them without consequence.
The next test you will likely be asked to take is a breathalyzer test. This is a chemical sobriety test that measures the amount of alcohol content in your breath. It is a good way for police to estimate how much, if any, you have had to drink. If you are suspected to be intoxicated by drugs, you will be taken to the police station to provide a urine or blood sample.
The only test you should take is a chemical blood, breath or urine test that is covered under implied consent laws. After you are arrested, you will be taken back to the police station. There, if you have not already provided a breath sample, you will be asked to take a state administered chemical alcohol level or drug test. This test can be done by taking a blood or urine sample. In some cases, you may be asked to take one of these tests in addition to the breath test as a breath test does not measure drug intoxication.
Any sobriety test that you take can and will be used against you in court. The fewer tests that you take, the less evidence you are giving the prosecution. That is generally why people choose to decline taking them.
Maine Implied Consent Penalties and Defenses
If you refuse to take a state administered chemical sobriety test, you will be advised that refusing will violate Maine Implied Consent Laws and you will be penalized. The penalties for a refusal run consecutive to any penalty imposed by the court if convicted and are as follows:
First Refusal: 275 days of license suspension
Second Refusal: 18 months of license suspension
Third Refusal: 4 years of license suspension
Fourth Refusal: 6 years of license suspension
If you have been arrested for DUI and violated implied consent, call our OUI lawyers right now. The only way to fight the license suspension associated with an implied consent refusal is to attack the officer's probable cause for the arrest and whether or not the officer complied with Maine's implied consent laws. This sounds impossible, but in some cases Attorney William Bly can work with the prosecution to strike the refusal in return for a plea to a lesser charge.
Refusing a chemical sobriety tests can have long term effects, especially if it is not your first refusal. Another important law to remember is that if the officer does not inform you of the penalties of refusing a chemical sobriety test and then give you another chance to take it, you cannot be punished for refusing. This prevents offenders from arguing that they did not understand implied consent laws. It also helps you understand which sobriety tests you have to take and which you do not have to take under implied consent laws.
Implied Consent Warning
A police officer must provide you with the following warning in order to charge you with refusing to take a chemical test:
- A law enforcement officer shall administer a breath test unless, in that officer's determination, a breath test is unreasonable.
- If a breath test is determined to be unreasonable, another chemical test must be administered in place of a breath test.
- For a blood test the operator may choose a physician, if reasonably available.
- Neither a refusal to submit to a test nor a failure to complete a test may be used for any of the purposes specified in paragraph A, B or C unless the person has first been told that the refusal or failure will:
- Result in suspension of that person's driver's license for a period up to 6 years;
- Be admissible in evidence at a trial for operating under the influence of intoxicants; and
- Be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing if the person is convicted of operating under the influence of intoxicants that, in addition to other penalties, will subject the person to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration.
If you are facing DUI charges in Maine, call WTB LAW right now. We are available to give you a free DUI consultation and explain to you more about Implied Consent laws. Call us now to get started.