The holiday season is already upon us and many of us will find ourselves celebrating the season with family and friends. It is not unusual for those celebrations to include several drinks. Many people find themselves in this situation and the decisions that are made may have long-lasting impacts.
It only takes 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath to be considered under the influence of intoxicants while driving in Maine. Police are just as diligent, if not more so, this time of year in keeping intoxicated drivers off the roads. If you are charged with operating under the influence (OUI), you should know that the State Legislature has set certain mandatory minimum sentences which judges must enforce.
- For a first offense OUI, the mandatory minimum sentence is a fine of not less than $500 and a driver’s license suspension of 150 days. Certain aggravating circumstances can increase the minimum sentence even on a first offense. For example, if your blood alcohol content is 0.15 grams or more of alcohol or if there is a passenger under 21 years of age in your car, then there is a minimum period of incarceration of not less than 48 hours.
- If you are convicted of OUI for a second time within 10 years then the mandatory minimums increase to a fine of not less than $700, a period of incarceration of not less than 7 days, and a driver’s license suspension of 3 years.
- If you are convicted of three OUI offenses within a 10 year period then the OUI charge is a felony and the mandatory minimums increase to a fine of not less than $1,100, a period of incarceration of not less than 30 days, and a driver’s license suspension of 6 years.
- Another way in which the mandatory minimum sentences can increase is if the driver refuses to submit to a breath test. For example, a refusal on a first offense OUI carries a 96-hour period of incarceration. On a second offense, a refusal increases the mandatory minimum period of incarceration to 12 days. It is also important to note that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles imposes a longer driver’s license suspension for those who refuse to be tested.
Operating under the influence is a serious offence in Maine and can be a very complicated charge to deal with. If you find yourself in this position, you should contact us to discuss the specific facts of your case and how these laws apply to you.