If you've been suspended by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles for operating under the influence (OUI) in Maine, it can make you feel hopeless. Not only are the fines and possibility of jail time intimidating and harsh, but the inability to drive is something that not everyone is prepared for. Many of us have lived in a car-centered culture all of our lives, making the sudden inability to drive a bit of a shock.
Luckily, Maine does allow certain people who have been convicted for OUI to get a conditional driver's license and get behind the wheel, in limited circumstances.
One of these circumstances is to get to and from work. Hardship permits are available for people recently suspended by the BMV for an OUI, which would allow them to drive for work-related activities. This goes a long way to ensuring that an OUI suspension doesn't impact your professional life, or ruin your ability to provide for yourself or your family. However, there are a set of requirements that could affect your ability to qualify for a work-related hardship permit.
Perhaps most importantly, you're only qualified for a work-related hardship permit if the OUI conviction was either your first offense, or, if it was your second offense, there were more than 10 years since your first. If neither of these requirements are met – if, for example, this is your second OUI, and your last one was only seven years ago – then you won't be issued a work-related hardship permit.
Another condition that might be difficult to get around is the one requiring that there be no other alternative forms of transportation to use. If you live on a bus line, and you can take the bus to get to work, then it's highly unlikely that a work-related hardship permit will be issued to you, because you could just take the bus, instead.
Despite these conditions, a work-restricted license can be an absolute life-saver. While the fines are steep, and the jail time inconvenient, one of the most difficult aspects of an OUI conviction is the inability to get to work. Your lost wages will quickly surpass the amount that you've paid out in fines, and unless you have a really lenient boss, an inability to get to work will likely end with you getting let go. Work-related special licenses, even if they don't allow you to drive whenever and wherever you want, will at least let you keep your job, and your source of income.
With that said, it's important to differentiate between an administrative BMV suspension and a suspension imposed by the Court following a criminal conviction. If you're suspended by the BMV administratively, you can immediately apply for a work-restricted license. However, if you're suspended by the Court following a conviction, you cannot apply for a work-restricted license unless you have first completed the Maine DEEP requirements and served at least two-thirds of the suspension.
There are other alternatives to a work-restricted license for those who have been suspended by the Court, following a criminal conviction. Perhaps enrolling in the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program would serve you best. Of course, the best way to proceed will be a discussion you'll need to with your attorney.
Attorney William T. Bly is an OUI-defense specialist. Not only can he help you in court, defending against OUI charges, he can also stick with you after a conviction and protect your interests. Depending on the circumstances, requesting hardship permits can be difficult, and making a mistake can be costly. Call the law office of William T. Bly at (207) 571-8146, or contact him online, to tap into his expertise.