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According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, 8,097 drunk drivers were arrested in Maine for breaking Maine DUI laws in 2007. That year, drunk driving claimed the lives of 36 people, which is actually a vast improvement from a few years ago. Thanks to the efforts put forth by local law enforcement, as well as the Bureau of Highway Safety, the number of fatalities caused by drunk drivers has significantly decreased in the past ten years.
To ensure the safety of the roads, Maine DUI laws are strictly enforced. If a person drives while under the influence, they can expect to face some very serious legal and financial consequences. One should expect to pay quite a bit more money on car insurance after a DUI. Find affordable car insurance with our FREE ZIP code search!
Important Maine DUI Laws Drivers Need to Know
There are several important Maine DUI laws that drivers should be aware of. These laws include:
- Operating Under the Influence: Any driver that is found driving with a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of 0.08% or higher will be arrested and charged with Operating Under the Influence, or OUI. Drivers can be charged based on their BAC, even if there is no additional evidence proving their ability or inability to operate a motor vehicle. Once a driver is charged with an OUI, their license is suspended by the Secretary of State. This suspension is effective immediately. Drivers are not allowed to operate a vehicle while waiting for their court date.
- The Zero Tolerance Law: In Maine, adults must be 21 years of age to legally purchase or consume alcohol. If a driver under 21 years of age attempts to drive after consuming any amount of alcohol, they will be charged with Operating Under the Influence. Under the Zero Tolerance Law, underage drivers will have their license suspended for one year. If the driver is accompanied by an underage passenger, the suspension will be extended by 180 days. Underage drivers that refuse a BAC test will have their license suspended for 18 months or longer.
- Implied Consent: When applying for a Maine driver’s license, drivers are agreeing to follow all local laws. Implied Consent means that drivers agree to undergo BAC testing anytime a law enforcement officer has reason to believe that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a driver refuses a breath, urine, or blood test, his or her license will be suspended for up to six years. Under Maine DUI laws, drivers that refuse BAC testing may still be convicted of an OUI. In cases of refusal, a law enforcement officer’s testimony will be used as evidence of impairment. Refusing a test will not get an impaired driver out of a conviction.
Maine DUI Laws: Minimum Penalties for Breaking the Law
Maine DUI laws impose serious consequences on impaired drivers. One should realize that their state car insurance could rise due to breaking one of the DUI laws. According to the Bureau of Highway Safety, the minimum penalties for OUI are:
- 1st Time Offender – 90 day license suspension and $400 fine
- 1st Time Aggravated Offender – 90 day license suspension, 48 hours jail time, and $400 fine
- 2nd Time Offender – 18 month license suspension, 7 days jail time, and $600 fine
- 3rd Time Offender – 4 year license suspension, 30 days jail time, and $1,000 fine
- 4th Time+ Offender – 6 year license suspension, 6 months jail time, and $2,000 fine
Not only are there minimum car insurance requirements for states. There are also minimum penalties for breaking a DUI. The minimum penalties for refusing a BAC test are:
- 1st Time Offender – 90 day license suspension, 96 hours jail time, and $500 fine
- 2nd Time Offender – 18 month license suspension, 12 days jail time, and $800 fine
- 3rd Time Offender – 4 year license suspension, 40 days jail time, and $1,300 fine
- 4th Time+ Offender – 6 year license suspension, 6 months and 20 days jail time, and $2,400 fine
It is also worth noting that a third DUI is a felony offense. Being convicted of a felony may impact a person’s ability to secure gainful employment, rent a home or apartment, and be accepted by many colleges.
Also, due to the Maine House Bill 1137, which was enacted in 2010, repeat offenders will be forced to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle. An IID will force drivers to test their BAC before turning their vehicle on and periodically while driving. These devices require drivers to pay an installation fee, as well as a monthly fee to maintain.
How a DUI Will Affect Your Car Insurance Rates
According to the Bureau of Highway Safety, one OUI conviction can cost as much as $7,000. This doesn’t just include fines, court costs, and lawyer fees, it also includes the increase in a driver’s Maine car insurance rates. After receiving a DUI, drivers will be considered a high risk for three years. Each subsequent DUI will push a person’s rates even higher. Depending on a driver’s other risk factors, they may even be denied car insurance coverage by many providers.
Also, before a person’s license is reinstated, he or she must file an SR-22. An SR-22 is a form that proves that a driver has adequate insurance. It also informs the driver’s car insurance company of their DUI. Many insurance companies charge additional fees for this form, which is just another cost that a driver will need to consider.
After being convicted of a DUI, it may be difficult to find cheap car insurance coverage. The best way for drivers to lower the cost of insurance is to shop around and look for cheap car insurance online. Some insurance providers are much more forgiving of DUI convictions than others. In fact, drivers may be able to save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars each year just by comparing different policies. While it may be difficult to find affordable insurance rates after a DUI, it certainly isn’t impossible–as long as a driver really takes the time to look. Enter your ZIP code below and compare the best auto companies INSTANTLY!