When investigating someone for operating under the influence (OUI), it's common for an officer to ask the person to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in the driver's system. The driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the concentration of drugs in the driver's blood is often used to prove a DUI in court.
This article gives an overview of Maine's implied consent law and the consequences of an unlawful refusal.
Maine's implied consent law specifies that any person who holds a Maine driver's license or operates a vehicle within the state is deemed to have consented to a blood, breath, or urine test. For an OUI arrest to be lawful, the officer must have probable cause to believe that the driver was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or that an underage driver was operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol. Generally, the officer is supposed to choose a breath test unless circumstance make that an unreasonable choice.
The consequences of a refusal generally depend on how many prior offenses the driver has that occurred within the past five years.
First offense. For a first refusal, the driver is generally facing a 275-day license suspension.
Second offense. For a second refusal, the driver is looking at a suspension of 18 months.
Third offense. For a third refusal, the driver is generally facing a three-year license suspension.
Fourth offense. For a fourth refusal, the driver is generally facing a six-year license suspension.
Drivers who wish to contest their refusal-related suspension can request an administrative hearing.