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After the Arrest

OUI Administrative License Suspensions

 You might not be surprised to hear that when you are accused of a drunk driving or drugged driving crime, your driver's license will eventually come under attack. What many people are surprised by however, is that you may lose your driving privileges before your criminal court case even starts. 

After a police officer makes an OUI arrest, he will compile his narrative and any other relevant bits of evidence into a report and he will send copies of that report to two different places: the District Attorney's Office and the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

While the District Attorney's Office will ultimately decide if your case will go through the court system, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will immediately begin the process of suspending your driver's license. If you are arrested for OUI, should expect to receive a letter within a few weeks from the Secretary of State informing you that your license is set to be suspended on a particular date.

This letter will also inform you of your right to request a hearing. If you do not request a hearing, then your license will be suspended on the day specified in the letter. But if you request the hearing, the BMV will "stay" your suspension until the hearing and you will be allowed to continue driving.

At this stage, if you have not yet hired a lawyer, then you need to do so immediately. Typically a lawyer hired to represent you in an OUI case will represent you in both the court case and the "administrative" matter with the BMV. Do not leave this up to chance or try to handle this without professional help. In a state like Maine where there is no public transportation infrastructure, your job and your livelihood depends on your privilege to drive. The situation needs to be handled properly.

Bureau of Motor Vehicles Hearing

 When an administrative hearing is held to determine whether the Bureau will suspend your license due to an OUI arrest, the typical legal questions at issue are whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, there was probable cause to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 and whether you operated a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08. 

You will notice of course that the standard here is not beyond a reasonable doubt, like it is in the criminal court system. Because this is an administrative hearing and not a judicial proceeding, the government gets to do an end-run around your Due Process rights.

The Rules of Evidence don't apply at the administrative hearings either. This means that hearsay and other evidence that would normally be held inadmissible in a court of law can be introduced against you.