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OUI Penalties

Possible Penalties and Sentences

The first thing to understand about what the State is able to do to you if you are charged with an OUI is that you are actually defending yourself from two different directions. In Maine, not only will you have to defend yourself in the criminal courts, you will also have to defend yourself and your driver's license from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) administrative suspension procedures. That being said, the following will mainly address possible sentences that the criminal court can order if you are convicted of an OUI charge. The reason for this is that both the BMV and the Court can suspend your license, and the length of those suspensions typically match up in similar situations. 

Implied Consent Laws in Maine

As you may know, if you are arrested under suspicion of OUI a police officer will ask you to submit to a chemical test (they almost always at least try to start with a breath test) to determine your blood alcohol content. In Maine, any driver who a police officer has probable cause to believe is operating under the influence is required to submit to such a test. Under state law, if you refuse to submit, the BMV and the Court may give you significantly higher penalties, not the least of which is an increase in the time that your driver's license is suspended. These laws are often referred to as "implied consent" laws.

Your ability to drive is so important to your livelihood that Conley & Wirick recommends that you never refuse to take the test. Even if the test result gives the State enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges, it is not worth adding the additional time to your license suspension. Ask yourself, how long can you afford to go without being able to drive? 

Refusal to submit to a chemical test is accompanied by a license suspension of 275 days for the first refusal, 18 months for a second refusal, 4 years for a third refusal, and 6 years for a fourth refusal.  

First Offense OUI

A first offense OUI in the Stat of Maine is a Class D crime, which is considered a misdemeanor because you cannot be sentenced to a year or more of imprisonment but can be sentenced up to 364 days in jail. Don't be alarmed though, it is extremely unlikely you will be sentenced to anywhere near that amount. For a first offense OUI with no aggravating factors, the mandatory minimum sentence the court will impose is a $500.00 fine and a license suspension of 150 days. Technically the Court can order a harsher penalty, but it is standard to stick to the mandatory minimum absent some special reason. 

 Aggravating Factors

Upon conviction a person will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum 48 hours in jail on a first offense OUI charge if any of the following "aggravating factors" were present during the commission of the offense:

  1. The person was tested as having a BAC of 0.15 or higher;
  2. The person was driving 30 MPH or more over the speed limit;
  3. The person eluded or attempted to elude a police officer, or
  4. There was a passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle.

If a person refuses to submit to a chemical test on a first offense OUI, the mandatory minimum fine is raised to $600.00 and the mandatory minimum term of incarceration becomes 96 hours.

Second Offense OUI

If convicted of a second offense of OUI within a ten year period, the mandatory minimum sentence that the Court is required to impose is seven days incarceration (you read that right) a fine of no less than $700.00, and a license suspension of 3 years.

If a person is convicted of a second offense of OUI (within ten years) and that person also refused to submit to a chemical test, then the Court must order at least a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 days incarceration and a $900.00 fine.

Third Offense OUI

If a person is charged with a third OUI offense within a period of ten years, then this third offense will be charged as a Class C crime, which in the State of Maine is considered a felony. This means that (technically) a person convicted of committing a third OUI in ten years could be sentenced to a year or more of incarceration. Again, whether or not a person is sentenced to more than the mandatory minimum OUI sentence is going to depend greatly on the specific facts of that particular case. 

In the event of this third conviction, the Court is required to impose at least a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days incarceration, a fine of no less than $1,100.00, a license suspension of 6 years, and even a suspension of that person's right to register a motor vehicle. 

If a person is convicted of a third offense of OUI (within ten years) and that person also refused to submit to a chemical test, then the Court must order at least a mandatory minimum sentence of 40 days incarceration and a $1,400.00 fine.

Fourth Offense OUI

If a person is charged with a fourth OUI offense within a period of ten years, then this fourth offense will also be charged as a Class C crime, which in the State of Maine is considered a felony. This means that (technically) a person convicted of committing a fourth OUI in ten years could be sentenced to a year or more of incarceration. Yet again, whether or not a person is sentenced to more than the mandatory minimum OUI sentence is going to depend greatly on the specific facts of that particular case. 

In the event of this fourth conviction, the Court is required to impose at least a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months incarceration, a fine of no less than $2,100.00, a license suspension of 8 years, and yet again a suspension of that person's right to register a motor vehicle. 

If a person is convicted of a fourth offense of OUI (within ten years) and that person also refused to submit to a chemical test, then the Court must order at least a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months and 20 days incarceration and a $2,500.00 fine. 

For any subsequent convictions of OUI (meaning more than four OUI convictions) these mandatory minimums will continue apply, but at this point let's be honest -- it is likely that more severe penalties will be imposed. 

There is Much at Stake

Your driver's license is more than a piece of plastic the government gives you. In many ways that you may not have considered before, your driver's license is your livelihood, your career, even your freedom. America has always had a love affair with the automobile and the open road, but your privilege to drive means so much more now than it did in High School. There is much at stake.

OUI, DUI, DWI, or whatever the Several States call their drunk driving offenses is probably one of the most common criminal offenses committed in America. Being accused or convicted of OUI does not make you a bad person or a legitimate "criminal," but it is treated incredibly seriously and the penalties are incredibly serious. When you are accused of OUI, your license, your freedom, and your future are potentially at risk. There is much at stake.

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