Maine Takes Impaired Driving Seriously – and So Should You!
Maine’s laws regarding Operating Under the Influence (OUI) of drugs or alcohol are considered some of the toughest in the nation. Penalties for OUI convictions in Maine may include:
License restrictions or suspension;
Required attendance at drug/alcohol programs;
Probation with random searches, in-house counseling, and restrictions on alcohol use; and
Jail time – up to 40 years, if someone dies as a result.
It’s Not Just About Cars...
OUI laws apply to any motor vehicle, including tractors, ATVs snowmobiles, motorboats, motorcycles, and riding lawnmowers.
Or Actually Going Anywhere…
Any action that can be interpreted as “attempting to operate” a motor vehicle while intoxicated is enough to be charged with OUI.
And Two Government Entities Can Get You!
Maine law allows either the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the courts to suspend your license. Each is permitted to have separate proceedings to determine whether you were in fact operating under the influence.
Related Legal Terms
Attempting to Operate – can mean sitting on a tractor seat, getting into the driver’s side of a car, unmooring a boat, or any of many actions that convey an intent to begin using a motorized vehicle
Legal Limit – a fallacy: there is no legal limit. A blood alcohol level of .08% or more is automatically illegal, but the state only needs to prove that the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle was impaired due to the use of intoxicants.
Field Sobriety Tests – tasks an officer can ask a driver to do that may reveal mental or physical impairment, such as counting backwards or walking a straight line
Immediate Arrest – an arrest an officer may make without running a field test if it appears the driver is operating impaired
Vehicle – any self-propelled vehicle not on tracks
Legal Stops – any stop police make of a motor vehicle for infractions, safety concerns, or if there is reason to think that a crime or motor vehicle law violation has occurred. These can range from erratic driving, to expired inspection stickers, defective lights, or not using seat belts.
Improper Stop – a traffic stop for which the officer cannot cite a safety issue, traffic law, or suspicion of criminal activity as reason
HGN – the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is most often used as a field test for drug impairment, measured by the driver’s ability to follow the movement of a pen or light
Maine’s Implied Consent Law – the consent that any motorist is assumed to have given by the action of operating a vehicle, meaning that anyone arrested in Maine on an OUI charge must give blood, urine, or breath samples at a police station or hospital for chemical testing, if requested
For a Maine OUI Attorney
This is for general information only. It is not intended as legal advice.