Being arrested for drunk driving or operating under the influence (OUI) in Maine with an out-of-state license can create problems in your home state. States share information about drunk driving convictions and license suspensions, and many states treat an out-of-state OUI conviction as if it were an in-state conviction.
How OUI Arrests Of Out-Of-State Drivers Are Handled
The case will start out in the same way as if would for a Maine driver. You will face both an administrative license suspension proceeding with the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles and a court proceeding.
Administrative License Suspension
Because Maine does not have the power to suspend an out of state license, the administrative license suspension will suspend only your right to operate a vehicle in the State of Maine. If you operate a vehicle in the State of Maine while suspended, you can be arrested for operating after suspension.
The catch is what happens next: the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles will notify your home state of the suspension. Some states, like Massachusetts, will often take the additional step of suspending your license until the suspension implemented by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles is cleared. To clear the Maine suspension, you will need to complete the Driver Education and Evaluation Program (DEEP) and pay a reinstatement fee. Your home state will likely require that you provide a Letter of Clearance from the Maine BMV before your home state will reinstate your license.
Maine Court Proceeding
The court proceeding will move forward just as if you were a Maine resident. You will be expected to appear in court, unless the court grants you permission to be absent.
If you are found guilty of operating after the influence, Maine will notify your home state of the conviction. In most cases, your home state will treat the Maine conviction as if it had occurred in your home state, and suspend your license in accordance with your home state’s laws. This can be especially problematic if your home state has harsher drunk driving laws than Maine. For example, a Massachusetts resident with an otherwise clean driving record might receive a one-year license suspension from Massachusetts for a first offense OUI committed in Maine, even though Maine only imposed a 150 day license suspension.
Another complicating factor is that your home state might have a different process for identifying prior convictions. Maine has a 10-year lookback period for most OUI offenses, but some other states have a lifetime lookback. This means that, depending on your driving record, your “first offense” Maine OUI could be treated as a second or subsequent offense by your home state.
Consult with a Maine OUI Lawyer
Being an out of state driver with a Maine OUI can be very complicated. It is important to hire an attorney who can help you navigate the process. Located in Kennebunk, Maine, we very frequently represent people arrested for drunk driving in Maine who hold Massachusetts licenses.
This article is for informational and educational purposes and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult legal counsel to assess the legal issues specific to your case.