Maine Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties

What constitutes “operating under the influence” (OUI) in Maine and the penalties of a conviction.

Maine prohibits operating or attempting to operate a motor vehicle while:

A driver is considered “under the influence” if his or her mental or physical faculties are, to any extent, impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants.

“Operating” or “attempting to operate” a vehicle doesn’t require actual movement. An impaired motorist who intends to drive the vehicle and takes a substantial step toward doing so can be convicted of an OUI.

OUI Penalties in Maine

The possible jail, fines, and license-related penalties for an OUI conviction depend on the number of prior OUI convictions the driver has. Generally, only prior convictions within the last ten years count for sentencing purposes (often called a “washout” period).

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense (class C felony)

Jail

1-year maximum (96 hours minimum for unlawful BAC test refusal)

7 days to 1 year (12 days minimum for unlawful BAC test refusal)

30 days to 5 years (40 days minimum for unlawful BAC test refusal)

Fines

$500 to $2,000

$700 to $2,000 ($900 minimum for unlawful BAC test refusal)

$1,100 to $5,000 ($1,400 minimum for unlawful BAC test refusal)

License Suspension

150 days

3 years

6 years

First-offense enhancements. A first-offense OUI requires a mandatory 48 hours in jail if the driver had a BAC of .15% or more, attempted to elude law enforcement, was speeding 30 miles per hour or more over the posted limit, or had a passenger under the age of 21.

Enhancements for injuries and fatalities. An OUI that involves serious bodily injury or death will result in increased penalties. An injury OUI is a class C crime, which carries six months to five years in jail, $2,100 to $5,000 in fines, and a six-year driver’s license suspension. A fatality OUI is a class B crime and will result in six months to ten years in jail, $2,100 to $20,000 in fines, and a ten-year driver’s license suspension. A fatality or injury OUI conviction stays on a driver’s record forever and will increase the penalties for future OUI convictions.

Treatment. A second or subsequent OUI conviction will require the driver to complete an alcohol and drug program.

Driver’s License Penalties and Implied Consent

Listed above are the suspension periods that result from an OUI conviction. However, an OUI arrest—regardless of whether the driver is ever convicted—will also lead to license suspension if the driver fails or unlawfully refuses to take a blood, breath, or urine test. A suspension resulting from a test failure will run concurrently with (at the same time as) any suspension that results from an OUI conviction. But a suspension from a test refusal will run back-to-back to any other suspension.

Test failure. A driver who submits to testing and the test results show a BAC of .08% or more or that the driver was under the influence of drugs faces license suspension for the same periods as listed above for a conviction.

Implied consent violations. Maine’s “implied consent” laws state that all drivers have impliedly given their consent by driving in the state to chemical testing of their blood, breath, or urine to determine the presence of drugs and/or alcohol. A driver who’s lawfully arrested for driving under the influence and refuses testing faces a license suspension of 275 days on a first offense, 18 months for a second offense, and four years for a third offense.

Restricted licenses. Drivers who have their license suspended for an OUI offense are generally eligible for early reinstatement and a restricted license. To obtain the restricted license, the driver must install an ignition interlock device (IID), petition to the Secretary of State for reinstatement, and complete the following requirements:

  • First offense. For a first offense, the driver must complete 30 days of the suspension and maintain an IID for the remainder of the original suspension period.
  • Second offense. For a second offense, the driver must complete nine months of the suspension and maintain an IID for two years.
  • Third offense. For a third offense, the driver must complete three years of the suspension and maintain an IID for three years.

A work-related hardship license may also be available for a first-offense OUI-related suspension.

Underage OUI

Drivers who are under the age of 21 are prohibited from having any measurable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a vehicle. A violation carries a one-year suspension for a first offense and a two-year suspension for a second offense. Underage offenders who were transporting at least one passenger under the age of 21 at the time of the offense will receive an additional 180 days of suspension time. These suspensions are separate from any consequences that might result from an underage driver being found guilty of an OUI as defined above.

Maine’s implied consent laws also apply to underage drivers. However, to request a BAC test, an officer’s reasonable belief that the driver consumed any alcohol (not necessarily an amount sufficient for impairment or to reach a BAC of .08%) is sufficient. An unlawful refusal will result in an 18-month license suspension for a first offense and a 30-month suspension for a second or subsequent offense.

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