OUI defined and mandatory minimums

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Considering the day and the amount of green beer and other alcohol typically consumed today and this upcoming weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to blog about Operating Under the Influence (OUI).  I am only discussing the criminal aspect of OUI in this blog post.  You will have a separate and distinct proceeding before the Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s as well.

Maine’s OUI law can be found here.  I have further information regarding operating under the influence in the “did you know” section of my website.  To prove OUI the State is required to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that a person operated a motor vehicle:

  • while under the influence of intoxicants; or
  • while having an alcohol level of .08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath.

To help you understand what the State is required to prove or the elements of OUI I provide the following:

  • An intoxicant is any substance that is introduced into the body and affects your mental or physical abilities to the slightest degree.  This includes alcohol, illegal drugs and lawfully prescribed medications.  Although you take a lawfully prescribed medication as prescribed you can still be charged and convicted of OUI if the medication affects your mental or physical abilities.
  • The jury will be instructed that a person is under the influence if that person’s senses — their physical or mental faculties – are impaired, however slight, to any extent by the intoxicant the person consumed.

If you are going to consume any alcohol please do not drive.  The implications of an OUI conviction are substantial and severe.  You will have to defend your privilege to operate a motor vehicle before the Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s, pay increased insurance cost, possibly lose your job, you may have to undergo counsel, and some countries may deny you entry amongst other things.  Additionally, OUI’s carry mandatory minimum sentences.  The following are the mandatory minimums that must be imposed by the court if you are convicted of OUI.  The mandatory minimums cannot be suspended.

1st Offense OUI (Class D Misdemeanor Crime):

  • Jail – No mandatory jail time unless:
    • .15 test or higher = 48 hours;
    • Exceeding the speed limit by 30 mph or more while OUI = 48 hours;
    • Eluded or attempt to eluded an officer while OUI = 48 hours;
    • While OUI had a passenger under 21 years of age = 48 hours; and
    • Failed to submit to a chemical test = 96 hours.
    • Fine – $500 fine unless you failed to submit to a test then the minimum is $600.
    • Loss of License – 90 days

2nd Offense OUI within a 10-year period (Class D Misdemeanor Crime):

  • Jail – 7 days unless you failed to submit to a chemical test then the minimum is 12 days;
  • Fine – $700 fine unless you failed to submit to a chemical test then the minimum is $900; and
  • Loss of License and Loss of Right to Register a Motor Vehicle – 3 years.

3rd Offense OUI within a 10-year period (Class C Felony Crime):

  • Jail – 30 days unless you failed to submit to a chemical test then the minimum is 40 days;
  • Fine — $1,100 unless you failed to submit to a chemical test then the minimum is $1,400; and
  • Loss of License and Loss of Right to Register a Motor Vehicle – 6 years.

4th Offense OUI within a 10-year period (Class C felony Crime):

  • Jail – 6 months unless you failed to submit to a chemical test then the minimum is 6 months and 20 days;
  • Fine — $2,100 unless you failed to submit to a chemical test then the minimum is $2,500;
  • Loss of License and Loss of Right to Register a Motor Vehicle – 6 years; and
  • Must install an ignition interlock device in the motor vehicle the person operates for a period of 4 years after the period of suspension has run.

OUI and causing Serious Bodily Injury (Class C felony Crime regardless of priors):

  • Jail – 6 months;
  • Fine — $2,100; and
  • Loss of License – 6 years.

Class B OUI:

  • An OUI is elevated to a Class B crime if while the person is operating under the influence the person:
    • in fact causes the death of another person (expect to be charged with Manslaughter as well);
    • has a prior Class C OUI conviction under Maine Law within a 10 year period; or
    • a prior criminal homicide conviction involving or resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs or with alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath in any State or jurisdiction within a 10 year period.
    • The mandatory minimums are:
      • Jail – 6 months;
      • Fine — $2,100; and
      • Loss of License – 10 years.

These are the mandatory minimums.  The court can impose a sentence greater than the mandatory minimum.  For Class D crimes the maximum penalty is 364 days, $2,000 fine, and 1 year of probation.  For Class C crimes the maximum penalty is 5 years, $5,000 fine, and 2 years of probation.  For Class B crimes the maximum penalty is 10 years, $20,000 fine, and 3 years of Probation

Being charged with an OUI does not mean you are guilty.  Call my office if you are charged with an OUI.  I have the dedication, experience, and knowledge to protect your interest and rights.

Have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The information provided in this blog post is current as of March 17, 2010.

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