Maine Aggravated DUI/OUI
Learn about aggravating factors when charged with an OUI in Maine.
In Maine, as in all states, it’s a crime to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. If arrested and convicted for this crime, judges typically apply a set of minimum and maximum sentencing guidelines. When determining the sentence, judges and prosecutors commonly weigh mitigating and aggravating factors.
What are mitigating factors?
Mitigating factors reduce the punishment because they may explain or excuse the bad behavior. For example, if impairment was the result of a lawfully prescribed medication, or the driver had an otherwise spotless Maine driving record and the driver’s .BAC just barely cracked .08, or the driver has voluntarily completed a substance abuse program, courts and prosecutors may be more inclined to apply a minimum rather than a maximum sentence.
What are typical aggravating factors?
On the other hand, if there are aggravating factors present, prosecutors and courts are less likely to provide a lenient sentence. This may be for two reasons: public pressure in higher-profile DUI/OUI arrests and state laws requiring stiffer sentences. DUI/OUIs are a hot button issue for elected (and appointed officials) and the days when a judge or prosecutor could sweep a terrible DUI/OUI accident off the record have faded away in most jurisdictions. At the same time, recognizing that not all DUI/OUIs are the same, lobbying groups such as M.A.D.D. have applied to state legislatures to build aggravating factors into the law. Typically aggravating factors include prior DUI/OUI convictions, reckless driving or speeding, driving while a license is suspended, causing serious personal injury to another person, or a DUI/OUI arrest with a child present (ages defining a child vary from state to state)
Under Maine law, aggravating factors include a BAC of .15 percent or more, or traveling 30 m.p.h. or more over the speed limit, or attempting to elude an officer of the law, or having a passenger under 21 years of age. The law requires an additional 275 day suspension be imposed by the court or the Secretary of State if transporting a passenger under 21. If you are found guilty of a DUI/OUI based on the police officer's testimony, your refusal to take a test will be considered as an aggravating factor by the judge and another suspension, as well as mandatory jail time, will be tacked on
Seek an attorney’s advice
Although many DUI/OUIs can be handled without the assistance of an attorney, an attorney’s counsel is strongly recommended if arrested for a DUI/OUI with aggravating factors (such as an elevated BAC). That’s because when aggravating factors are present, the penalties are so much more severe and the effects can stay with you for much longer than a typical Maine DUI/OUI.