Like all states, Maine prohibits "operating under the influence" (OUI), which is sometimes called driving "under the influence" (DUI). An OUI is defined as operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more.
In Maine, an OUI is generally a misdemeanor. But there are multiple ways that impaired driving can lead to felony charges. This article outlines the Maine OUI felonies and the associated penalties.
While Maine doesn't technically designate crimes as felonies or misdemeanors, any offense that carries more than a year in jail is generally considered a felony. In Maine, class A, B, and C crimes meet this criterion. Third, fourth, and aggravated OUI violations are all considered felonies.
An impaired driver can be charged with a felony OUI if he or she has two prior OUI convictions within the last ten years. A third offense OUI is a class C crime and carries $1,100 to $5,000 in fines, 30 days to five years in jail, a six-year license suspension, and revocation of vehicle registration. However, a restricted ignition interlock device (IID) license may be available to the offender.
A fourth offense in ten years will also be a class C crime and carries a fine of $2,100 to $5,000, six months to five years in jail, an eight-year license suspension, and revoked vehicle registration.
Finally, an OUI can be charged as a felony if a person suffered bodily injury or death. An injury OUI is a class C crime and carries $2,100 to $5,000 in fines, six months to five years in jail, and a six-year license suspension. OUIs involving deaths are class B crimes and carry $2,100 to $20,000 in fines, six months to ten years in jail, and a ten-year license suspension.
Once a person is convicted of a felony OUI or similar impaired vehicular manslaughter, any future OUI offense will be a class B crime. The offender will face $2,100 to $20,000 in fines, six months to ten years in jail, and a ten-year license suspension.
While an OUI that involves injury or death will be charged as a felony OUI, the offender can also be charged with separate felony violations. Injuring another while driving impaired can be charged as "aggravated driving to endanger." This offense is a class C crime that carries up to $5,000 in fines and a maximum five years in jail. The driver's license will also be suspended for 180 days to two years.
An impaired driver who causes a fatality can be charged with class A manslaughter. This offense carries up to $50,000 in fines and up to 30 years in prison. The driver's license will be permanently revoked.