Like the rest of the country, a Maine DUI refers to Driving Under the Influence. However, Maine also refers to it as OUI (Operating Under the Influence) or OWI (Operating While Intoxicated). For all intents and purposes, Maine defines the term “under the influence” as a person’s mental or physical abilities being impaired to the “slightest degree” as the result of the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs. If your BAC is.08 or above, you will be charged with OUI.
The subjective observations of an officer of the law can also be used as OUI evidence, without the need for a BAC result. These observations include an alcohol odor, bloodshot or glassy eyes, lack of coordination and/or balance, slurred speech, and reckless or unsafe driving.
If you are operating under the influence of controlled substances, either prescribed or over the counter, you can face the same penalties as a drunk driver. Law enforcement authorities can detect drugs through the BAC test, field sobriety tests, and the subjective observations listed above.
Maine DUI laws are written as zero tolerance for underage drinking. Therefore, if you are under the age of 21, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year if you’ve been operating a vehicle with any alcohol in your system. There is a “washout” period of ten years for dui arrests. This means that if dui offenders have ten years’ time between offenses, the previous offense is washed out, and the current offense will be treated as if it were your first.
Were there aggravating factors concerning your first DUI in Maine? Those include attempting to elude law enforcement, a BAC of.15 or above, exceeding the speed limit by at least 30 miles per hour, or a minor passenger in the vehicle. These circumstances require a mandatory 48-hour jail sentence. And, if you had a minor passenger, there will be an additional 275-day suspension of your license.
Your refusal to take a blood, breath, or urine chemical test will be considered an “implied expression of guilt” and will be used as evidence against you. In fact, this refusal is also considered an aggravating factor that will bring harsher penalties than if you had tested positive. These include a mandatory minimum sentence of 96 hours in jail, a $600 fine, and a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license.
If your OUI causes serious bodily injury or death, or if you have a prior conviction for a felony OUI or OUI homicide, it is considered a strict liability felony. The dui penalties for this are a minimum of a six-month jail sentence, a $2,100 file ($2,500 if you refused to take a chemical test), a six-year license suspension, and two years of probation.
http://www.MyDUIAttorney.org is a directory of qualified attorneys, lawyers and firms who deal with drunk driving cases and help defend those charged with a DUI offense. The directory provides a source of marketing and lead generation for these attorneys, lawyers and law firms, making it easy for DUI offenders to search and contact qualified professionals who can help them.
Were you arrested for DUI, or was someone close to you arrested on a DUI offense?
First off, we need to talk about your feelings for a second.
If you have been arrested for DUI, you are probably embarrassed or ashamed, maybe a little mad, but most of all, you want to know what to do, what can be done, what you are facing, and if you even have a chance of fighting a DUI case. It is my hope to bust a few myths about DUI defense, and also let you know what can and cannot be done with a DUI case.
Can you fight a DUI?
DUI Defenses generally fall into categories of types of defenses. The best results follow when you leave no stone unturned in coming up with defenses for a DUI case. It is generally not a good idea to “pick one” defense, and aggressively go for that one defense. The better tactic in defending DUI cases comes when you carefully review all of the evidence, line by line, and come up with a strategy.
Forcing the DA to prove you were driving. Intoxication is not enough: the prosecution must also prove that you were driving. This may be difficult if, as in the case of some accidents, the police arrive after the scene, and there is no witnessing actual driving.
Forcing the DA to prove Probable Cause. Evidence can be, and will be suppressed, if the officer did not have legal cause to (a) stop, (b) detain and (c) arrest. DUI checkpoints and sobriety roadblocks in particular present many defenses to a DUI, but often the police will stop someone for a non-driving violation, and then use that as a pretext to *fill in the blanks* for probable cause. Case law could not be more clear in many cases — this is not allowed and not proper.
Failure to give Miranda warnings. Incriminating statements may be suppressed if warnings were not given at the appropriate time.
Implied consent warning defenses. If the officer did not advise you of the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test, or gave it incorrectly, this may invalidate a DMV license suspension based upon a refusal to provide a breath/blood sample.
Forcing the DA to prove that you were *Under the influence*. The officers observations and opinions as to intoxication can be questioned … the circumstances under which the field sobriety tests were given, for example, or the subjective (and predisposed) nature of what the officer considers as *failing*. Witnesses, including bartenders or waitresses, can also testify that you appeared to be sober.
Breath alcohol testing defenses. There exists a wide range of potential problems with breath testing. Most breath machines will register many chemical compounds found on the human breath as alcohol. Temperature and even the pattern of blowing can wildly cause the breath reading to fluctuate from normal. And breath machines assume a 2100-to-1 ratio in converting alcohol in the breath into alcohol in the blood; in fact, this ratio varies widely from person to person (and within a person from one moment to another). Radio frequency interference can result in inaccurate readings. These and other defects in analysis can be brought out by obtaining the maintenance and calibration records of the machine, or in cross-examination of the state’s expert witness and/or the defense can hire its own forensic chemist.
Blood alcohol testing defenses. There exists a wide range of problems with blood testing, also, including the requirement in California that alcohol swabs not be used, that the person drawing blood be a licensed phlebotomist (not just a police officer), that the blood vial have a certain percentage of preservatives and anti-coagulants, that the blood be available for re-testing, that the blood not be exposed to bacteria (in the air or otherwise), that the blood testing machine be maintained and calibrated, that the blood be homogenized, that the vial follow a chain of custody, and that the blood be taken within three hours of driving.
Medical issues: Being a diabetic, on Atkins related diets, a person with acid reflux, with eye, knee, neurological or other physical defects, or on medication, can often create a false positive conclusion that someone was under the influence.
Testing during the absorptive phase. The blood, breath or urine test will be unreliable if done while you are still actively absorbing alcohol (it takes 30 minutes to three hours to complete absorption; this can be delayed if food is present in the stomach). Thus, drinking “one for the road” can cause wildly inaccurate test results.
Retrograde extrapolation. This refers to the requirement that the BAC be “related back” in time from the test to the driving. A number of complex physiological assumptions are made with retrograde extrapolation, and in general, it involves bad science.
Regulation of blood-alcohol testing. The prosecution must prove that the blood, breath or urine test complied with state requirements as to calibration, maintenance, etc., and often, it is discovered that a machine had mechanical problems, or tests *off*, making the test excludable and sometimes dismissing the entire case.
License suspension hearings. A number of issues can be raised in the context of an administrative hearing before the states department of motor vehicles, including mistakes by the officer.
The thing is, most of your friends do not even know all about the scientific issues involved. They usually just urge you to plead guilty. Even most attorneys are unaware of the complex issues and defenses involved in a DUI case.
A qualified DUI attorney, however, can review the case for defects, suppress evidence, compel discovery of such things as calibration and maintenance records for the breath machine, have blood samples independently analyzed, negotiate for a lesser charge or reduced sentence, obtain expert witnesses for trial, contest the administrative license suspension, and handle a DUI trial with the greatest odds of success.
A good DUI attorney can also help you by handling the Department of Motor Vehicles hearing, which you must request within 10 days of your arrest, saving your license, and can minimize the impact on you from a DUI. In almost all cases, we can appear for you in court, without you ever having to take time off and experience the embarrassment of the court process. We can ask the court to minimize the fees and other punishment in your case, even if your case is not dismissed or reduced.
A DUI can stay on your driving record for life, and also leaves a criminal record (depending on how it was filed, a DUI is either a misdemeanor or a felony). It can expose you to jail time, hefty fines with the court, expensive and inconvenient alcohol schools, and a huge insurance increase that lasts for years, so in almost all cases it is worth it to fight the charges, to avoid a potential conviction (which stays on your record for life in California), and so that you never have to wonder *what if* years later.
Robert Miller is an Orange County DUI Lawyer at Robert Miller and Associates, A Law Corporation. You can reach him through his DUI information websites:
How the DUI conviction affects your driving privileges will depend on what state you were arrested in. Some states will invalidate the license the moment you’re arrested. Some states allow you to fight the charge before suspending it; you’re generally allowed one month before this occurs. If you don’t request a hearing within this time frame, your driver’s license will be suspended. This consequence is called the Administrative License Revocation or Suspension. They generally occur because you were caught with a blood alcohol that was higher than the legal limit; they are also separate from your DUI court case.
Keep in mind that should you refuse to take the chemical tests (blood, breath and/or urine) at the time of your arrest, the state has the right to suspend your license automatically. If you’re required to take this test, it’s in your best driving interest to do so. Even if you don’t reside in the state you are arrested, your license can still be revoked in your state.
If you don’t want to lose your privilege to drive, then it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced DUI lawyer. He/she can help you fight the DMV to keep your license as well as your court case. Remember that the DMV case is entirely different from the DUI case but regardless of what the DMV case outcome is, your DUI case can affect it and your privilege to drive. It’s highly recommended that you challenge your suspension. The worst-case scenario is that you are found guilty of the DUI charge and receive the suspension anyway. Now you can have a restricted license that allows you to drive to a disclosed location (usually work and school) but you will need to make the request at the DMV hearing. You can do this on your own but your DUI attorney would be better equipped and knowledgeable about these matters.
Bear in mind that a DUI conviction will follow you for all of your life, even after you’ve been able to reinstate your license. Auto insurance companies and some employers can use these DMV records to determine your business with them. For instance, you choose to apply for a driving job delivering snacks for a vending company. If the employer likes you, they’re going to ask about your driving history. This means you can’t lie about that DUI conviction you got. It also means you might be turned down for the job. On top of that, people who have DUI convictions have to pay more for auto insurance (because they are seen has a high risk liability). If you wonder if a DUI conviction is showing up your driving record, make a request to the DMV for your record. If it’s showing up, you won’t be able to hide this from potential employers.
Bear in mind that DUI convictions are not like other traffic violations; they don’t fall off after a certain amount of time. A DUI conviction remains on your record for an indefinite period of time. Some states won’t seal or expunge your DUI record even after some time has passed. However, if you do reside in a state that allows the removal of a DUI conviction, you may have to go through an extensive process to guarantee it doesn’t come back. However, it’s not uncommon for roadblocks to show up during this process; hire a professional DUI attorney if you’re looking to get the conviction erased or sealed.
Colin Daives writes general information articles about a number of legal topics that range from personal injury and civil rights to criminal law and DUI cases. Each state has different laws and every case is unique. His articles are not meant to be legal advice. To learn more or for assistance with your case in the state of Colorado, contact a Denver DUI lawyer or a Denver personal injury attorney today.