Maine OUI/DUI: Refusal to Take a Blood, Breath or Urine Test

In Maine, if you get pulled over for an OUI (operating under the influence) and the officer asks you to take a blood, breath, or urine test, do you have to take one? What happens if you refuse?

Implied Consent

Maine law requires you to take a breath or blood test if you are arrested for an OUI. Maine’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC).   The test must be taken as soon as possible from the time when you were last driving, and in most circumstances, the officer should ask you to take a breath test. The officer must request a blood test if you were involved in an accident that causes serious injury or death. If the officer suspects that you have taken drugs, then he or she will ask for a blood or urine test.

Once you are arrested, the officer must tell you that if you refuse to take a test or fail to complete one, then you will lose your license for up to six years, that evidence of your refusal can be used against you in court, and that if you are later convicted of an OUI, then the fact of your refusal will increase your jail sentence. There is a catch to all of this, however. If the officer forgets to tell you these consequences before requesting a test, then Maine law says they do not apply. You would have to prove the officer’s blunder at a hearing, but if you do, then you walk away scot-free.  

In most cases, if you refuse to take a test then the state cannot force you to take one. There are two exceptions to this. If you are involved in an accident that caused a death, or where someone was hurt so badly that the officer believes that he or she will die, then the officer can force you to take a blood test. Likewise, you can be forced to take a test if the officer suspects drug use.

You can read Maine’s implied consent law in the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated 29A-2521.

Refusing to Take the Test


1st  Offense

2nd Offense

3rd  Offense

Refusal to take test

275 day license suspension

18 month license suspension

4 year license suspension

In Maine, your license will be suspended for 275 days for your first refusal. The suspension lasts for 18 months for your second refusal. The penalty jumps to a four-year suspension for your third refusal, and then up to six-years for your fourth.  If this is your first refusal, then you could apply for a restricted license after you complete a drug and alcohol program and have completed 180 days of your suspension. A restricted license generally means you could drive yourself to work and back.

The penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test are found in the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated 29A-2521 and 29A-2501.

Should You Refuse to Take a Mandatory OUI Test in Maine?

It usually does not help you to refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test when you are arrested for an OUI. In Maine, the consequences for an OUI include fines, time in jail, and suspension of your license. This is more severe than refusing a chemical test. Still, refusing the test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted – you could be found guilty of an OUI even if your refusal means that the state does not have proof that your BAC was over.08%, the legal limit for those over 21. In fact, the prosecution can use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and guilty of OUI.

(Check out our  blood alcohol content chart  for an estimate of how many drinks it takes to get to the legal limit.)

Get Help With Your OUI

If you have been arrested on an OUI charge in Maine or any other state, get help from an experienced OUI attorney. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for an OUI has serious consequences – especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent OUI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about your state’s laws and about how the system works in your county’s court.

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