Articles Posted in operation and DUI

police-search-768x512-1-300x200What is an illegal stop?

If the police illegally stop you, then there is a chance your case could be thrown out! The problem is that the police can stop you for so many things. In order for a stop to be legal, the police only need articulable suspicion that a crime or traffic infraction has occurred. That means the list of reasons the police can use to justify a stop is very long. You can be stopped for anything from improper tinted windows to driving one mile per hour over the speed limit.

Once you are stopped for any legal reason, if the officer finds more evidence of a totally different crime, such as an odor of alcohol or slurred speech, then the investigation can turn into something completely separate from the reason for the stop. You could be stopped for going 5 miles per hour over the speed limit and then it could turn into a drinking and driving investigation.

oui-maine-768x576-1-300x225

After getting an OUI/DUI in Maine, there is often lots of questions that may come into your mind.  Most of them have answers that can be found.  One that is much harder to track down is the costs and fees that come from an OUI in Maine.

Court Costs

A first offense OUI is a Class D crime, which has a maximum jail sentence of 364 days, and a maximum fine of $2,000.  The mandatory minimum penalties are a fine of $500, plus court fees. Court costs often change due to added surcharges which are 20% or more of the actual fine amount, therefore the $500 fine really ends up being closer to $650. If you refused to submit to a test, you will then face a mandatory minimum fine of $600 plus the 20% or more  surcharge so the fine would be around $785.

dui_seminar-300x225When will I get the report?

Many people put in requests for their police reports and expect them within a few days of their arrest. Even though they are YOUR reports, it is unrealistic for the officer and the PD to get them out to you that quickly. You will most likely not get any reports until your first court date when you have your arraignment. Unfortunately, this is often several weeks and sometimes up to two months after your arrest.

How should I read the report?

IMG_1832x-286x300By: Attorney Vincent S. LoConte

What is the question?

Often in a traffic stop when an officer suspects impairment, they will ask the question “on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being sober and 10 being pass out drunk, how would you rate yourself”. Seems like a straight forward question, but is it really fair, and is there a right and wrong answer?

Maine OUI Parked Car Engine OffYou can be charged with DUI even when you are not driving. Every state has a law that says it is illegal to drive under the influence.  What many people do not realize is that most states have some variation of this law that allows police to charge you even when you are not actually driving (DUI parked car).

Depending on the state, a person can often be charged with attempting to drive or operate or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence.  Usually the penalties are the same as for driving under the influence.

Attempting to operate usually means someone is trying to drive the car. In Maine, “operating” means putting power to the wheels and moving the car.  Attempting to operate means trying to do that.  Trying to operate includes taking a substantial step toward operating.

OUI-300x200If you get a DUI it is very important that you get a good DUI lawyer right away.  If you wait, the chances of losing the case and losing your license get much, much worse.  You may lose the chance to fight your license suspension if you wait too long.  Equally as bad, critical evidence may be destroyed – that’s evidence you need to win.

Most states have a procedure that suspends your license for DUI or refusing a test BEFORE your court date.  In some states the police take your license when they arrest you.  In other states the Motor Vehicles department gets notice from the police about the DUI.  Motor Vehicles then sends you notice of suspension that your license will be suspended soon.  You have a right to fight this suspension, no matter which way they do it.  But that right requires you to tell Motor Vehicles you want to fight it.  The time to let them know is limited.  In my state, Maine, you have ten days from the date of suspension to challenge the suspension.  If you don’t file your challenge within those ten days, you can never challenge it.

Evidence you need to win your case may be lost if you don’t take steps to save it.  Police video cameras record to hard drives.  After a couple of weeks many of those hard drives start to record over the old recordings.  Unless you put the police on notice that you want the video saved, you may LOSE IT FOREVER.  That video may be the only evidence you have to prove the cop wrong.  If there is no video it is your word against the cop’s word.  Who do you think they will believe?

drug-300x225I thought I had seen about everything in the DUI law area.  Then the Maine prosecutors decided to try change the law about drugs and driving.  Right now the LD 1491 is up in front of the state legislature and they are considering it.  Listen to this.

Here is what the new law says:

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles can take your license:

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