Operating Under the Influence

You’ve been charged with OUI.  Now what?

Your OUI case is really two cases in one.  The first case is the administrative case through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), who will begin your driver’s license suspension.  This usually happens shortly after your arrest.  The second case is your court case, and it can lead to additional suspension, and may also lead to fines and a jail sentence.

The Administrative Case

If you’ve been charged with OUI, you will probably receive a Notice of Suspension in the mail from the BMV, with the date your suspension will begin.  Make sure the BMV has your current address.  If they send the Notice, you may be suspended, even if you don’t receive it.

Call us immediately.  We will request a BMV administrative hearing for you before your suspension begins, and your license will not be suspended until a hearing is held and a decision is issued.  If your suspension has already begun, we must file a written request for a hearing before the 10th day following your suspension date.  In this case, your suspension will be temporarily lifted (“stayed”) when the BMV receives the paperwork until your administrative hearing.  10 days after your suspension date, you lose your right to request a hearing.

  • If you refused to take a chemical test (“breathalyzer”) at the request of a police officer when you were stopped, we can request a BMV hearing, but your driving suspension will remain in place.

Please note:  If your license is suspended by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles because of your OUI offense charge, you should not drive.  If you are caught, there are extra penalties imposed, including a mandatory jail sentence, additional fines, and an even longer suspension.

For drivers under age 21:  Maine has zero-tolerance for any amount of alcohol.  If you test at anything over 0.0% you may face an OUI charge, and your license may be suspended for 1 year, for your first offense.  If you have an under-21 passenger in the car, your suspension will be increased by 180 days.  If you refuse to test at the request of the police, your suspension will be increased by 275 days.

  • Your juvenile OUI conviction will be counted as an offense by the BMV for suspension calculation purposes for any additional OUI charges over the next 10 years.
The Court Case

After your Administrative Case is done, the Court Case begins.  If you have not hired a lawyer or requested a hearing within 10 days of your suspension, then your license is likely suspended.  You should not drive.  Contact us to handle the most important part of your case – your criminal charge.

Your criminal case will begin with your arraignment.  Contact us, and we can appear on your behalf at this proceeding.  If you do not yet have a lawyer, go to your arraignment.  If you fail to appear, the court will probably issue a warrant for your arrest.  Plead “not guilty” until you hire a lawyer, or at least talk to a Lawyer of the Day.

The process is complicated, and it can be overwhelming.  Contact us.  We Can Help.

Mandatory Minimum Penalties You Face:

  • First Offense OUI:

FINE:  $500 (or $600.00 if you refused to test), plus surcharges.
JAIL:  48 hours in jail if: (1) blood alcohol level of .15% or more; (2) speeding 30 MPH over limit; (3) eluding an officer; (4) passenger under 21 years of age; OR - 96 hours in jail if you refused to test.
SUSPENSION:  90 days.

  • Second Offense OUI

One OUI conviction, or test refusal, within a ten-year period.

FINE:  $700 (or $900.00 if you refused to test), plus surcharges.
JAIL:  7 days in jail; OR – 12 days in jail if you refused to test.
SUSPENSION:  18 months.

  • Third Offense OUI (Class C or "Felony")

At least two OUI convictions, or test refusals, within a ten-year period.

FINE:  $1100 (or $1400.00 if you refused to test), plus surcharges.
JAIL:  30 days in jail; OR – 40 days in jail if you refused to test.
SUSPENSION:  4 years Court-ordered suspension.

  • Fourth or More Offense OUI (Class C or "Felony")

Three or more OUI convictions, or test refusals, within a ten-year period.

FINE:  $2,100; or $2,500.00 if you refused to test, plus surcharges.
JAIL:  6 months in jail; OR – 6 months and 20 days in jail if you refused to test.
SUSPENSION:  6 years Court-ordered suspension.

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Operating After Suspension

Living in Maine without a driver’s license is tough, and if you can’t rely on friends or family, it may seem impossible.  If your license is suspended or revoked, you have to figure out how get to work, how to get your kids to day care, how to get to the doctor, how to get to the grocery store, how to provide for your family.

If you are charged with Operating After Suspension (OAS), call us right away.  Even if you did not know your license was suspended, you face fines, possible jail time, and additional suspension.

Your license can be suspended for many different reasons:  OUI/DUI charges (even before any conviction), and other criminal offenses; accumulated points from driving infractions; failure to pay fines; failure to pay child support; or failure to appear at certain proceedings.

Penalties you face:

OAS – Unpaid Fines - if you have no previous OAS convictions and your license was suspended because you failed to pay a fine or reinstatement fee, you will likely need to pay an additional fine, but this will not affect your criminal record. Be aware that this charge does count towards a potential Habitual Offender status (10 moving violations within 5 years) and can lead to a long-term loss of license.

1st offense OAS - Class E:
  • based on traffic violations: minimum $250 fine.  Penalties increase for each prior conviction in the past 10 years, up to a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail, and a $1000 fine.
1st offense OAS - Class E:
  • based on an OUI suspension (“OAS for OUI”): $600 fine, minimum 7 days in jail, and a license suspension of at least one year, which begins after you have completed your suspension on the underlying OUI charge.  Penalties increase for each prior OAS conviction within the past 10 years.
OAS – Class C:
  • Based on 3 or more “OAS for OUI” convictions within a 10-year period: $3000 fine, minimum 6 months in jail, and license suspension of at least one year after you have completed your suspension on your underlying charges.  As a Class C crime, you face a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail, a $5000 fine, and 2 years probation.


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