PORTLAND LEGAL CENTER PA - Legal Services at Reasonable Cost Since 1987.

            YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.

      YOUR FREEDOM FROM JAIL IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.

            Many laws have been changed in the past few years that have resulted in very long license suspensions, large fines, and very long stays in jail. People have received multiple year jail sentences for just trying to get to work!You need to know what you are getting into before you walk into a Courtroom. What often starts out as "no big deal" rapidly spirals out of control. You need an experienced attorney at your side to take you through the process, pursue possible defenses and mitigating factors so you will suffer as little as possible from your journey through the criminal justice system. Often motor vehicle cases involve "average Joes" who have no idea what they are facing.  For instance in OUI cases you are dealing with two seperate proceedings, one at the Court and one at DMV. These proceedings have little to do with each other. DMV will seek to suspend your license before you have had your "Day in Court". I have listed below some of the possible effects of a motor vehicle stop. 

       OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE.

              Laws conerning operating under the influence have been toughened up over the past years. Operating Under the Influence is defined as (1) operating or attempting to operate  a motor vehicle while (2) under the influence of intoxicants including alcohol and/or drugs including legally prescribed prescription drugs or having a blood alcohol level above .08.        

            Being under the influence means that your mental or physical faculties are impaired to the slightest degree. It is not even necessary that this impairment affects your ability to operate the motor vehicle. Maine has a per se law. If you are over the legal limit you have commited the offense even if you are not otherwise impaired. Permissible blood alcohol levels have been continually reduced over the years. The blood alcohol  level was reduced from .15 to .10 in September of 1971 and from .10 to .08 in August of 1988. Every year .05 legislation is introduced in the Legislature.

             A recent change will change the measurement from blood alcohol concentration to breath alcohol concentration. This mostly a change in terminology.

                                  

                   MINIMUM PENALTIES FOR OUI

Offense                                Suspension                        Jail time                         Fine

 1st (no aggravating factors)

90 days                   

none                           

 $500    

 1st (aggravating factors)

90 days +

 48 hrs.

 $500

 1st   (refusal)

90 days +

 96 hrs.

 $600

 2nd

3 years

 7 days

 $700

 2nd (refusal)

3 years

 12 days

 $900

 3rd

6 years

 30 days

 $1100

 3rd (refusal)

6 years

 40 days

 $1400

 4th (or more)

6 years

 6 months

 $2100

 4th refusal

 6 years

 6 months + 20 days

 $2500


MORE BAD NEWS    

              These are the minimum penalties. Penalties are likely to beyond the minimum for repeat offenders. Penalties for first and second offense can go up to 364 days in jail. Third and subsequent offense can be penalized by up to 5 years in prison. The "look back period" is 10 years. Remember that refusals count as offenses, so you may have two priors from one incident. Offense in other states also count. Fines are greater than listed here as they are subject to a 20 percent surcharge plus other fees. Aggravating factors include having a level above .15, traveling 30 miles an hour over the speed limit, attempting to elude an officer or having a passenger under 21. An additional 275 day suspension is imposed if there is a passenger under 21. A refusal to take a test will result in a minimum 275 suspension by DMV consecutive to the Court suspension. For second and subsequent offenses your right to register a motor vehicle will also be suspended. A third offense is a felony which will result in a ban on the ownership of firearms. Your insurance costs will increase greatly. You will have to particpate in the Driver Education and Evaluation Program (DEEP) and/or counseling and will have to pay a reinstatement fee. You will be barred from entering Canada. Second and subsequent offenders may get ignition interlocks installed. This will  help 2nd and 3rd offenders as part of the suspension may served while driving with an interlock. For 4th+ offenders the interlock is required for an additional 4 years after serving the full suspension.

                                                  OPERATING AFTER SUSPENSION

        If you are convicted of Operating after Suspension cerain minimum penalties also apply. For a first offense there is a minimum fine of $250 (plus surchages) and $500 (plus surcharges) for second and subsequent offenses. In addition the Secretary of State will suspend you license for  60 days. The situation gets worse if you have been suspended for an OUI by the Court or by the Secretary of State, including for a refusal suspension. The penalty will be a minimum of a $600 fine, 7 days in jail and a 1-3 year license suspension consecutive to the original suspension. If there are priors for Operating After Suspension for OUI the penalties increase to (1 prior) minimum $1000 fine, 30 days in jail and a 1-3 year license suspension; (2 priors) minimum $2000 fine, 60 days in jail and a 1-3 year consecutive license suspension; (3 or more priors) a minum $3000 fine and 6 months in jail and a 1-3 year consecutive suspension.

OPERATING AFTER REVOCATION (HABITUAL OFFENDER)

        Since the passage of "Tina's Law" penalties for Operating after Revocation (HO) have drastically increased. You will become a habitual offender if you have 3 major offenses within a 5 year period. These include: Operating Under the Influence, Operating After Suspension or Revocation, Driving to Endanger, Criminal Speeding and many other criminal motor vehicle crimes. Amazingly you can now become a habitual offender soley by commiting traffic violations if you have 10 in 5 years!

       MINIMUM PENALTIES FOR OPERATING AFTER REVOCATION (HO)

Offense                                   Class                        Fine                          Jail

HO No prior HO or OUI 

misdemeanor     

$500                    

30  days

 HO one prior HO or OUI

 felony

 $1000

 6 months

 HO two prior HOs of OUIs

 felony

 $1000

 9 months + 1 day

 HO three prior HOs or OUIs

 felony

 $1000

 2 years

      If you Operate after Revocation and commit one of the following offenses at the same time you can be charged with Aggravated Operating After Revocation. Those Offenses are 1. Operating Under the Influence; (2) Driving to Endanger; (3) Eluding a Police Officer; (4) Passing a Police Roadblock; or (5) Criminal Speeding.

MINIMUM PENALTIES FOR AGGRAVATED OPERATING AFTER REVOCATION

Offense                                             Class                      Fine                    Jail

 no prior convictions for Agg. HO, HO or OUI

 misdemeanor         

 $500                           

 6 months          

 1 prior conviction for Agg. HO, HO or OUI

 felony

 $1000

 1 year

 2 prior coviction for Agg. HO or HO

 felony

 $2000

 2 years

 3 prior convictions or Agg. HO or HO

 felony

 $3000

 5 years