If you get pulled over while under the influence of alcohol (or any other substance), you may face a charge of Operating Under the Influence (OUI). In order to completely understand the consequences of such a charge, you need to understand the potential charges and penalties if you are convicted.
So, what does it mean to be convicted of OUI in Maine?
In Maine, there are certain elements that must be established in order to be convicted of OUI. The evidence must establish that you were operating (or trying to operate) a motor vehicle while under the influence or impaired in some fashion. Though most people think that this charge only applies to excessive alcohol consumption, it may also involve impairment due to consumption of unlawful drugs and/or prescription medications.
If you are detained and suspected of consuming alcohol, your blood alcohol concentration will be tested and face an OUI charge if your level is 0.08 or more.
What are the charges that you may face?
The severity of the charges and potential sentence depend on various factors including whether you have prior convictions for OUI. A first and second offense OUI is Class D misdemeanor. If the number of prior convictions with the past 10 years exceeds 2 the subsequent charge will be a Class C felony.
What are the potential penalties of an OUI conviction?
A first offense conviction is a Class D misdemeanor which carries penalties of up to 365 days in jail, a fine of not less than 500 dollars and a 150 day loss of license.
A second offense, also a Class D misdemeanor, carries penalties of a mandatory 7 days in jail, a fine of not less than 700 dollars and a 3 year loss of license.
A third offense is a Class C felony. The penalties include a mandatory minimum 30 day sentence, a mandatory fine of not less than 1100 dollars and a 6 year loss of license.
A fourth offense is also a Class C felony which carries a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of six months, a fine of not less than 2100 dollars and an 8 year loss of license.
In all cases the prior convictions must have occurred within 10 years of the current charge an individual faces.
The consequences of refusing a blood alcohol test.
A first refusal OUI conviction, carries a sentence of not less than 96 hours, a mandatory minimum fine of 600 dollars and a 275 day loss of license.
Each additional refusal has harsher penalties. A second refusal conviction, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 days, a fine of not less than 900 dollars and a 3 year loss of license.
For a third offense refusal conviction, the mandatory minimum sentence is 40 days in jail, a fine of no less than 1400 dollars and a 6 year loss of license.
Finally, fourth refusal conviction, carries 6 month and 20 day mandatory jail sentence, a fine of no less than 2500 dollars and an 8 year loss of license.
There are also aggravating factors that will increase your sentence, according to Statute 29-A §2411.
There is a mandatory minimum sentence of forty-eight hours in jail if any of the following occur:
- A blood alcohol level was .15 or higher;
- Exceeding the speed limit by thirty miles per hour or more;
- Failure to stop for the police; or
- Operating with passenger under 21 years of age.
In light of the serious potential consequences of an OUI conviction in Maine, it is imperative that you retain a highly qualified, experienced lawyer to fight for you. We at the law office of Richard S. Berne fit both criteria and there for urge you to contact us to assist.