If you are charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license, it is important to understand the charge and possible penalties. Maine criminal code Title 29-A, section 2414-A says that someone who operates a vehicle on the road or in a parking lot while their license has been suspended or revoked and has received proper notice of the suspension or revocation, is guilty of an offense and subject to penalties. Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for many reasons, including criminal convictions, alcohol offenses, or a number of other reasons. If you are found guilty of driving while your license is suspended or revoked, you may be charged with either a traffic infraction or a crime, depending on various factors. The initial stop is often confusing, because the potential charges may not be fully and clearly explained to you.
If your license is suspended for failing to pay a fine or a license reinstatement fee, or because you paid a fine with a dishonored check, and if you do not have prior convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked license, you will probably be charged with a traffic infraction.
Under other circumstances, you may be charged with a crime. In the event you are charged with a crime, there are minimum penalties. In some cases you may receive a minimum $250 fine for a first offense, and a minimum $500 fine for additional offenses.
If your suspension was the result of a conviction for operating under the influence (OUI), you may receive a minimum sentence that includes a fine of $600, seven consecutive days in jail, and a license suspension of between one and three years. In the event that your license was suspended due to an OUI, you have previous convictions for driving while your license was suspended or revoked and other conditions exist, the following minimum penalties may apply:
- If you have one prior conviction, a fine of $1,000, a minimum of 30 consecutive days in jail, and a license suspension between one year and three years. (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A § 2412-A(3)(A)(1).)
- For two prior convictions for driving while suspended or revoked, a fine of $2,000, a minimum of 60 consecutive days in jail, and a license suspension between one year and three years (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A § 2412-A(3)(A)(2).)
- If you have three or more prior convictions for driving while suspended or revoked, you may face a minimum penalty of a fine of $3,000, a minimum of six months incarceration, and a license suspension between one year and three years. (Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A § 2412-A(3)(A)(3).)
Drivers who are considered habitual motor vehicle offenders face more serious penalties if they drive while their license is suspended or revoked. A habitual offender is someone whose driving record contains three or more convictions within a five-year period for major motor vehicle offenses, including operation of a motor vehicle that results in homicide, driving to endanger, or operating under the influence.
Although living with a suspended or revoked license can be difficult, the suspension should not be taken lightly. Driving when your license is suspended or revoked is a serious matter in Maine. The consequences may be severe, including fines, jail time, or other penalties. The result can be additional problems with your job, school, insurance and family life.
If you have you been charged with operating a motor vehicle after suspension or revocation, then you need legal help. There may be costly, long term legal consequences. You need to speak with a lawyer who is experienced in handling these cases in your area. If you have any questions, contact us today. We are here to help you.