Getting Your License Back After an OUI

In Maine, drunk driving is called “operating under the influence,” or “OUI”. The officer who arrested you will send a police report to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which will administratively suspend your notice. If you are ultimately convicted of OUI In court, the court will also suspend your license. For a first offense with no aggravating circumstances, the administrative and court-imposed license suspensions will be for 150 days. If you refused to submit to a test, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will impose a separate administrative suspension of at least 275-days.

Some of the most common questions I am asked are:

  • How do I get my license back?
  • Can I get my license back early?
  • Can I get a work license?

Eligibility for License Reinstatement

To be eligible for reinstatement after serving a suspension, you must do two things. First, you must pay a $50 reinstatement fee to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Second, you must complete the Driver Education and Evaluation Program (DEEP).

DEEP is a 20-hour program administered by the Office of Substance Abuse. I recommend that clients complete DEEP immediately and do not wait until after their court date. Further alcohol evaluation and treatment or counseling may be recommended after completing the class. Early completion of DEEP and any recommended counseling or evaluation may help when you go to court. DEEP is also required for some early reinstatement programs. Information for DEEP is available at the Office of Behavioral Health DEEP website.

Options for Early License Reinstatement

There are three potential options for getting your license back early.

Ignition Interlock Device

An ignition interlock device is a device installed in your vehicle that prevents operation after drinking alcohol. A first offender is eligible for the ignition interlock device program after serving 30 days of suspension time, and a second offender is eligible after serving nine months of suspension time. A license offered to a second or subsequent offender, however, is limited to traveling to and from work, school or an alcohol treatment program. An IID is not available if your license was suspended for refusing to submit to a test. Information about the application, fees, approved installation vendors is available at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Ignition Interlock Device website.

Work Restricted License

A work restricted license allows you to travel to and from work, and approved treatment programs. There is no 30-day waiting period for seeking a work restricted license, but there are other downsides. Time spent driving on a work restricted license will not count towards a court-ordered suspension, and will not count towards the 30-days to request full reinstatement with an ignition interlock device. A work restricted license is discretionary, meaning that the BMV does not need to approve a request for a work restricted license. For these reasons, a work restricted license is not a great option for many drivers.

Restricted License

Like a work restricted license, a restricted license allows you to drive to and from work, and approved treatment programs. The Secretary of State will automatically issue you a restricted license after you have served 2/3 of your suspension, if you have completed DEEP and paid your reinstatement fee. The BMV will not issue a restricted license, however, if you are already reinstated with an ignition interlock device.

Tyler J. Smith

Tyler Smith joined Libby O’Brien Kingsley & Champion as an associate in 2012 and became a partner in 2018. He maintains a general litigation practice, with experience in criminal defense, employment law, appellate advocacy, defamation/slander, civil rights, undue influence, and other civil disputes. He is also experienced in representing professionals before professional licensing boards. In… Read more »