Maine Drunk Driving Laws
When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Maine?
- Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In Maine, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
- Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when there is any amount of alcohol in their blood.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Maine
- First-time offenders will be fined $500. The driver’s license revocation period is 90 days. A first operating under the influence (OUI) in Maine is considered a Class D crime, which is punishable by up to three years in prison. Despite this potential penalty, imprisonment for at least 48 hours is mandatory if (1) the offender’s BAC was .15 or greater; (2) the offender was exceeding the speed limit by 30 miles per hour or more; (3) the offender eluded or attempted to elude the police; or (4) the offender was driving with a passenger under 21.
- A person who commits a second OUI within a 10-year period will be fined at least $700. The driver’s license suspension period is 18 months. A second OUI in Maine is considered a Class D crime, which is punishable by up to three years imprisonment. For a second OUI, the offender must be incarcerated for at least seven days. The offender will also be ordered to participate in an alcohol program.
- A third-time offender who has two previous OUIs within a 10-year period commits a Class C crime, which is punishable by three to five years in prison. At a minimum, a third-time offender will be incarcerated for 30 days. The fine is at least $1,100. The driver’s license suspension period is four years. The offender will be ordered to participate in an alcohol program.
- A fourth-time offender with three previous OUIs within a 10-year period commits a Class C crime, which is punishable by three to five years in prison. At a minimum, a fourth-time offender will be incarcerated for at least six months. The fine is at least $2,100. The driver’s license suspension period is six years. The offender will be ordered to participate in an alcohol program.
- Other Drunk Driving Penalties
- What is Maine’s Liquor Liability Act?
- Criminal Penalties for Furnishing or Allowing Consumption of Liquor by a Minor
- Criminal Penalties for Furnishing Alcohol to a Visibly Intoxicated Person
Enhanced Penalty for Drunk Drivers Carrying Passengers Under 21
If a person commits an OUI while someone under 21 was in the vehicle, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for an additional 275 days.
Indefinite License Revocation for Habitual Offenders
Those convicted of OUI three or more times within a five-year period are “habitual offenders.” Once a person becomes a “habitual offender,” his or her driver’s license will be indefinitely revoked.
In addition to other penalties associated with Maine’s OUI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted for the first time of OUI will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is three years. If a commercial driver commits a second OUI, he or she will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life, which may or may not be reduced to 10 years.
School Bus Drivers
In addition to other penalties associated with Maine’s OUI laws, any person who is convicted of OUI while operating a school bus will permanently lose their privilege to operate a school bus. Any school bus operator who is convicted of OUI while operating any vehicle will lose their privilege to operate a school bus for at least three years. Any school bus operator who is convicted of a second OUI while operating any vehicle within a 10-year period will lose their privilege to operate a school bus for at least six years.
Drivers at Least 18 but Under 21
A driver at least 18 but under 21 commits OUI if any amount of alcohol is detected in the blood. In addition to other penalties that may apply, a one-year driver’s license suspension will be imposed for a first offense. For a second offense, the suspension period is two years. If, however, a passenger under 21 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, an additional 180-day license suspension will be imposed.
Drivers Under 18
A driver who is under 18 and commits an OUI will be prosecuted and penalized under Maine’s juvenile laws. A license suspension of at least 180 days will be imposed. Additionally, the offender may be placed in a juvenile correctional facility or be ordered to participate in a supervised work or service program. The offender may also be ordered to pay a fine or restitution.
What is Maine’s Liquor Liability Act?
A drinking establishment that negligently or recklessly serves alcohol to a minor or to a visibly intoxicated person is liable for damages caused by the intoxication. Service is “negligent” if the server knows, or if a reasonable and prudent person in similar circumstances would know, that the person being served is a minor or is visibly intoxicated. Service is “reckless” if the server intentionally serves liquor to a person with knowledge that the person is a minor or is visibly intoxicated while consciously disregarding the obvious and substantial risk that serving liquor to that person will cause physical harm to the drinker or to others. Evidence of “reckless conduct” includes active encouragement of drunken persons to drink substantial amounts of liquor; service of alcohol to a person under 18 when the server knows the person’s age; and service of liquor to a person that is so continuous and excessive that it creates a substantial risk of death by alcohol poisoning.
Under this law, any person who is injured may bring an action against the server or drinking establishment for recklessly serving liquor. A claim for negligently serving liquor, however, may not be brought by the intoxicated person, his estate, or any other person claiming damages for personal injury or death of the drunken person if that person was at least 18 at the time of service. A claim for negligent service may be brought by third parties who were injured as a result of the person’s intoxication, as well as the intoxicated person, his estate or any other person claiming damages for his injuries if the intoxicated person was under 18.
A claim for negligently or recklessly serving alcohol must be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues. Additionally, the person seeking damages under this law must give written notice to all defendants within 180 days of the date that the server’s conduct created a claim for damages under the Act. The notice must specify the time, place, and circumstances of the server’s conduct and the time, place, and circumstances of the resulting injury. Failure to give the written notice may be grounds for dismissing the claim.
Finally, except for expenses for medical care and treatment, including devices and aids, damages may not exceed $250,000 for any and all claims arising out of a single accident.
Criminal Penalties for Furnishing or Allowing Consumption of Liquor by a Minor
In Maine, it is a crime to furnish liquor to a minor. A first-time offender will be fined at least $500. A person who violates this law a second time within six years of the first violation will be fined at least $1,000. A person who violates this law a third or subsequent time within six years will be fined at least $1,500. If a violation of this law causes the minor or another person to suffer serious bodily injury or death, the offender is subject to pay a fine of up to $5,000 and may be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Under this statute, a person also commits a crime by allowing a minor in his or her control to have or to drink liquor or by furnishing the minor with a place in which to drink. A person who violates this law will be fined at least $1,000. A second violation within a six-year period will result in a fine of not less than $2,000. If a violation of this law causes the minor or another individual to suffer serious bodily injury or death, the offender is subject to pay a fine of up to $5,000 and may be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
This law does not apply to a person who serves liquor to a minor in a home in the presence of the minor’s parent or guardian.
Criminal Penalties for Furnishing Alcohol to a Visibly Intoxicated Person
In Maine, it is a crime to furnish alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. A person who violates this statute is subject to a fine of up to $500.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.
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