Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Maine
When in Maine, it is important to know the drunk driving laws there. After all, you or your friends and family members may want to drink in some measure during the holiday season. You don't want to get in legal trouble though. If you know the laws governing DUI cases in Maine, you can avoid any such trouble.
For example, you may presume that it is OK to have a few drinks and go out driving if you don't feel incapacitated or that your judgment is impaired. However, depending on various factors, you may be culpable for driving under the influence in Maine after consuming what you feel is only a modest amount of alcohol.
In fact, if you are under 21, you can't have any blood alcohol content, typically referred to as your BAC, at all. Your BAC has to be .00 if you're under 21 because Maine is a zero tolerance state. That means that by law there is no tolerance for drinking underage and then driving.
If you are 21 or over, Maine law says that you can face DUI charges if your blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. To judge whether your BAC will be at that level or not, you can look at some of the charts that are available. Those charts can give you an idea of how your BAC will be affected by any particular number of drinks according to your weight range.
However, those charts are a general guideline only, and won't help if you are charged with a DUI after your blood alcohol content has been shown be testing at or above the legal limit. For that reason, it is important to use good judgment. If you have any doubt at all about your condition after drinking, it's best to be safe and not drive. It can also help to get an opinion about your condition from a friend who doesn't drink. A friend can give you a ride so you don't put yourself or others at risk.
If you are driving a commercial vehicle when you're pulled over, your blood alcohol content can only be .04. This differentiation is important to know, since individuals may drive a personal vehicle at some time and a commercial vehicle at others.
Additionally, you don't have the option to refuse to take a BAC test. Maine has an implied consent law. That means that if you are stopped and arrested by a law officer who has probable cause to suspect a DUI, the officer has a right to test you. In essence, your consent to the test is legally implied or presumed. In most cases this will be done by breathalyzer. It should be done as soon after the person was stopped as possible. That way, an accurate recording of the person's blood alcohol level while driving can be made.
Technically, you can refuse to take the test. The officer isn't going to force you to take it unless very specific conditions are met. Those include accidents that result in death or in injuries that are so severe an officer presumes that they will lead to death. They also include any time an officer has reason to suspect drug use. If those conditions don't apply, the arresting officer can't actually force you to take the test to determine your blood alcohol content level.
However, if you refuse it, you will be subject to specific penalties in accordance with Maine law. A key one is that you can lose your driver's license for up to six years. Additionally, your refusal can legally be used against you if you wind up in court. If you are convicted of an OUI, your refusal to take a test can result in time being added to your sentence. The arresting officer has to inform you of all these things at the time you are stopped, however, or they don't apply. Regardless of the circumstances, it is best to review your case with an attorney to understand all of your legal options.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Drunk Driving Defense Articles
- Do I have to take a Field Sobriety Test under Maine’s Drunk Driving Laws?
- Is the Police Officer's failure to give me Miranda warnings fatal to the State’s case under Maine’s drunk driving laws?
- Can I choose between a Blood, Breath or Urine Test when pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in Maine?
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