You’ve been stopped and arrested for Operating Under the Influence of alcohol (OUI/DUI/DWI). You posted bail, and now you’re home. You’re terrified and have no idea where things go from here. All you did was drive your motor vehicle! You cannot believe you got a first offense DUI in Maine. At work everyone asks, “A drunk driving charge? Is this your first OUI?”
What were your test results? Blood alcohol level? Breath test? Blood test? Refusal? What are the first offense OUI penalties? If this summons for OUI/DUI/DWI is a subsequent offense to other significant driving convictions, we’ll be discussing them in a future blog. But for now, let’s take a minute and talk about the Maine first DUI.
When you are charged with a first offense in Maine, you actually have two cases going on at the same time. I try to get clients to visualize two trains on parallel tracks leaving the station together. On one track you have the court (the judge, the clerks, the DA’s Office), and on the other track you have the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. In most cases, long before the arraignment date for your court case (Plead not guilty!), the Bureau of Motor Vehicles BMV (also commonly known as “DMV”) will send you a Notice of Suspension. This is where we discuss loss of license. If you have not contacted a law firm at this point, you should do so now.
Maine BMV License Suspension
The BMV sends the Notice of Suspension to the address on your license. If your mailing address has subsequently changed, and it is different from your license, you should go to the local BMV office and change it. You may be told that BMV also will send a copy of the notice to the address that you gave to the police officer and was written by the officer on your summons. Please do not rely on that. Go to BMV with three forms of identification and make the change. If you have questions, call BMV or call us! We are happy to help.
The Notice of Suspension will have important information in the upper right-hand corner, most importantly the length of the license suspension and the effective date of the suspension. Please call us as soon as you get this Notice of Suspension.
If you took a breath test, the BMV will issue a 150-day suspension. If you refused to take a breath test, the BMV suspension will be for 275 days. Additionally, if you are 21 years old or older, and you had a passenger under 21 years of age in your vehicle at the time of the offense, BMV will add an additional 275 days to your suspension. If you are under the age of 21 at the time of the offense and had a passenger under the age of 21 with you, BMV will add an additional 180-day suspension.
Criminal Conviction License Suspension
The second train is the criminal case. If you are convicted of a first offense OUI in court, you will receive a minimum fine of $500, a minimum 150-day loss of your right to operate a motor vehicle, and a minimum of 48 hours incarceration in the county jail if the breath test result was .15 BAC or higher, or a minimum of 96 hours (four days) of jail time for a refusal. This mandatory jail time is often negotiable but never enjoyable. The biggest difference besides the length of a breath test suspension versus a refusal suspension is the fact that a court-ordered license suspension in a criminal case flowing from an OUI conviction cannot be run concurrent with the BMV refusal suspension. Some criminal defense attorneys may tell you that it can be. They are wrong. The court-ordered suspension will be stacked on top of the BMV refusal suspension.
Never drink and drive or give law enforcement a reason to stop you in your motor vehicle. BUT if you are accused by the police in Maine of OUI/DUI/DWI, “Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs,” possession of a controlled drug or any alleged motor vehicle or criminal offense, feel free to call the Webb Law Firm today at 207-283-6400 and arrange a free consultation to discuss your case or visit www.LawyersMaine.com.