Drunk Driving / OUI Defense

If you have been arrested for a Maine OUI, you need an OUI defense attorney by your side who will work to provide you with an aggressive and effective defense. It is common for people who have been arrested for OUI to feel as if there is little hope of beating an OUI charge. But there are many defenses to OUI charges that might not seem obvious, even if you tested at or above a .08% BAC or believe that you might have “failed” the field sobriety tests. That’s why it is important to retain a qualified OUI attorney who will investigate your case and work to provide you the best possible result.

When facing an OUI, you may find yourself asking many questions. Will I lose my license? How do I get my license back? Will there be jail time? Can I beat the OUI charge? Can I get my OUI reduced? If you have questions like these, please call us at (207) 985-1815 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a Maine OUI attorney.

We offer flat-fee representation in most OUI cases. This offers peace of mind knowing that you do not have to fear rising costs as the case progresses. Instead, the focus stays where it should be: putting forward the best defense for your OUI charge.

Operating Under the Influence: What the State Needs to Prove

Maine defines OUI as operating a motor vehicle while either under the influence of intoxicants or while having a BAC of .08% or above. “Intoxicants” can include alcohol, drugs, a combination of alcohol and drugs, or even prescription medications. “Under the influence of intoxicants” means that the person’s “mental or physical faculties were impaired however slightly, or to any extent[,]” by intoxicants.  Maine also has separate but related laws prohibiting boating under the influence (“BUI”) and operating a snowmobile or ATV while under the influence.

Many cases are resolved by plea agreement. If the case proceeds to a trial, the State will need to prove every element of OUI beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest standard known to Maine law and requires the jury to find that the charge is almost certainly true. The jury (or judge in a bench trial) must acquit you if there is any “reasonable doubt” about whether you are guilty.

Defenses to OUI Charges

Although no two cases are the same, there are many possible defenses to OUI charges. Some common defenses are that

  • The officer lacked reasonable articulable suspicion to stop your vehicle.
  • The officer lacked reasonable articulable suspicion to request that you perform field sobriety tests.
  • The officer failed to conduct the field sobriety tests in accordance with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s training and standards.
  • You have physical or mental conditions that can be mistaken for impairment, or which made the field sobriety tests unfair.
  • Your performance on the field sobriety tests resulted from fatigue or nervousness, rather than impairment.
  • The officer did not observe clues of impairment that are usually exhibited by impaired drivers.
  • The officer failed to comply with Maine’s implied consent law.
  • The officer failed to perform a valid mouth check before administering a breath test.
  • The officer failed to perform a valid 15-minute observation period before your breath test.
  • There were irregularities with either the testing procedure or with the maintenance and calibration checks for the Intoxilyzer.
  • The BAC result is inconsistent with your performance on field sobriety tests or with other evidence in the case.
  • The reliability of a blood test is impaired by human error in the collection, handling, or testing of the sample.

After entering our appearance, we request discovery (police reports, cruiser or body-camera video, breath and/or blood testing information) from the State of Maine under Rule 16 of the Maine Rules of Unified Criminal Procedure and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). We also issue a preservation of evidence notice to the police departments involved to ensure that all documents about the investigation are preserved.

Penalties for OUI if Convicted in Court

Maine has the following mandatory minimum penalties on OUI convictions. Judges may exceed these penalties depending on the severity of the facts.

Offense Type Jail Fine License Suspension
First offense None $500 150 days
First offense w/ aggravating factor(s) 48 hours $500 150 days
First offense w/ refusal to submit to chemical test 96 hours $600 150 days
Second offense 7 days $700 3 years
Second offense w/ refusal to submit to chemical test 12 days $900 3 years
Third offense 30 days $1,100 6 years
Third offense w/ refusal 40 days $1,400 6 years
Fourth and subsequent offense 6 months $2,500 8 years
Fourth and subsequent offense w/ refusal 6 months, 20 days $2,500 8 years

A third, fourth, or subsequent offense is considered a felony. There are other attendant circumstances that can affect the mandatory minimum penalty. Finally, all fines are subject to a 20% surcharge and other court fees.

Driver’s License Suspension for an OUI Charge

When you are arrested for OUI, the arresting officer will send the police report to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). The BMV will independently suspend your license, no matter what happens in court.

If you took a breath, blood, or urine test when you were arrested, your administrative license suspension will usually run concurrently with any suspension imposed by the court. If you refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, the administrative license suspension will be for anywhere from 275 days to 6 years, depending on the number of prior refusals. Refusal suspensions run consecutively to any penalty imposed by the court. Thus, a first offense with a refusal may result in a total license suspension of 425 (150 + 275) days.

The Notice of Suspension from the BMV is usually mailed within 2-4 weeks of your arrest. It is important to make sure that you have an up-to-date address on file with the BMV so that you receive this notification.

Cost of an OUI Attorney

OUI attorneys generally charge for their services in one of two ways.

The first is an hourly fee structure. Under an hourly fee structure, the total cost of your attorney will depend on how much work is involved in your case. You must usually pay a retainer upfront, which the attorney bills against at an hourly rate in 1/10-hour increments. If the retainer is exhausted before your case is resolved, you may be asked to replenish the retainer. You may also be asked to post a trial retainer before the case goes to trial.

The second is a flat fee structure. Under a flat fee structure, you pay a single fee that covers either the entire cost of representation or the entire cost of representation up until a certain stage of the case. Flat fees offer more predictability about the total cost of representation.

We offer flat fee representation in most OUI cases and a free 30-minute consultation. Once retained as your attorneys, we will help guide you through the process and provide you with an aggressive defense for an OUI charge. Our attorneys are licensed to practice throughout the State of Maine and regularly defend clients arrested for OUI throughout Southern Maine, including York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arundel, Biddeford, Saco, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, and Portland.

Other Resources

We welcome you to review the following resources to answer some of the most common questions we receive in OUI cases.

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.