With sobriety checkpoints, mandatory alcohol assessment/treatment, and greater penalties for test refusal, Maine is tough on its drunk drivers. In fact, the state had 23 drunk driving-related fatalities in 2011, making up only 17% of total traffic deaths that year. Maine also saw a 43% decrease in drunk driving fatalities from the year before. However, the state could decrease drunk driving-related fatalities further by making its discretionary ignition interlock law mandatory.
Anyone who operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher in Maine is charged with operating a vehicle under the influence (OUI). An offense is considered a repeat offense if it occurs within 10 years of a prior conviction. Consequences include a fine, jail time, and driver’s license suspension.
- 1st Offense: $500+ fine; no jail time; 90-day license suspension
- 2nd Offense: $700+ fine; at least 7 days in jail; 3-year license suspension
- 3rd Offense: $1,100+ fine; at least 30 days in jail; 6-year license suspension
- 4th and Subsequent Offenses: $2,100+ fine; at least 6 months in jail; 6-year license suspension
A BAC of 0.15 or higher, exceeding the speed limit by 30 mph, and committing the crime while a passenger under the age of 21 is in the vehicle are all aggravating factors that increase OUI consequences. For example, a first-time offender would face at least 48 hours in jail.
If the offender refuses to submit to an alcohol test, he or she faces a higher fine and increased jail time. If the offense results in the injury or death of another person, the offender will face a $2,100 fine, 6 months in jail, and a 6-year license suspension for injury or 10-year suspension for death.
Ignition Interlock Laws
Drunk drivers who have been convicted of OUI four or more times are the only offenders required to install an ignition interlock and must keep the device installed for four years after their license suspension period ends. Other repeat drunk drivers can reduce their license suspension period by installing the device, along with satisfying all other conditions for license reinstatement. Second-time offenders can obtain their license after 9 months of the suspension period if they install an interlock for 2 years while third-time offenders can obtain their license after 3 years of the suspension period if they install the device for 3 years.