If you are facing a charge of aggravated First Offense OUI with a CDL, you need to be aware of the impacts to your lifestyle. Aggravated First Offense OUI charges result in you facing a significant mandatory minimum fine, jail time and license suspensions. If your blood alcohol level is above a 0.15, the 1st offense OUI is considered aggravated. If you have a CDL, there will be impacts to your employment. A conviction for an aggravated First Offense OUI is a class D misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of up to $2000 in fines and 364 days jail time. If you are facing an aggravated first offense OUI with a CDL, you likely have some questions and are looking to see if it is possible to avoid having impacts on your CDL.
When facing an aggravated First Offense OUI with a CDL in Maine, you will not receive any sympathy from the District Attorney’s Office. Under Maine law, all OUI matters are taken as serious. I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation to advise you on your situation fighting your aggravated first offense OUI. I am happy to answer your questions. Once you decide to become my client, I will defend your case aggressively. As we talk about the details of your case at the free consultation, one of things we discuss is the line in the sand. If you choose my firm to represent you, we are going to draw a line in the sand. On our side of the line is your future how you envision it to be. On the other side of the line is the District Attorney, with their charges, penalties and potential jail time. We will also discuss the repercussions a conviction of this OUI charge in Maine.
As your lawyer, we will do everything in our power to stop them from crossing that line. We will fight for you using all of our passion, conviction, and influence. Given my decade of experience, this article is to help answer some of your questions about fighting an aggravated first offense OUI charge with a CDL in Maine and how a criminal defense attorney can help defend you against the charge. We will review:
- A common scenario of being charged with an aggravated first offense OUI
- How a Maine OUI Attorney can help?
- What are the impacts if convicted an aggravated first offense OUI if you have a CDL?
- How the Maine courts process aggravated first offense OUI charges?
A Common Scenario on Aggravated First Offense OUI with a CDL
Stew is a logger in Maine. He drives a logging truck, and so he has a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Stew is also a proud new dad. Stew is the primary breadwinner for his family.
New Year’s Eve was a big deal for Stew and his wife, as this was their first “adult” night out since the baby was born. They were fortunate for this opportunity because Stew’s mother-in-law agreed to watch over the baby while they were out.
Both Stew and his wife very much enjoyed their time out at a New Year’s Eve party. Even though Stew agreed to be the designated driver, he lost track of the number of drinks he had. After the champagne toast at midnight, Stew and his wife said good night to their friends at the party and headed home.
On the way home, Stew stopped too short of a stop sign, which triggered the attention of a police officer who was parked at the corner looking for drunk drivers. The officer followed Stew and observed additional poor operation of his car and pulled Stew over. When the officer came to the window, he immediately asked Stew how much he had to drink that evening. Timidly, Stew admits that he had “a few drinks” at the New Year’s Eve party. The officer asks Stew to step outside the vehicle to perform some standardized field sobriety tests.
Before Stew knew what was happening, he was sitting in the police cruiser being taken down to the station to take an alcohol breath test. During the wait period before taking the breath test, Stew began to worry seriously about what might happen to him, his job, and his family if he was charged with drunk driving. Stew realized that his CDL would get suspended if he is charged with OUI, and he would lose his job. Without his job, how could he provide for his wife and new baby? The alcohol breath test came back 0.19.
Even though Stew is a fictional person, the situation he faces is very real, and can have serious consequences for someone facing an Aggravated First Offense OUI while having a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). If you or someone you know is facing an OUI in Maine, we encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group to represent you and fight for your interests. We are happy to answer your questions and put your mind at ease.
Below is a picture of an Aggravated First Offense OUI case for a person like Stew, who has a commercial driver’s license.
How an OUI Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Stew knew that the stakes were too high for him to try to represent himself. His income was too high for a court-appointed lawyer, but he was facing possible jail time and loss of his livelihood. He needed a DUI criminal defense lawyer. When he met for a free consultation with a Maine OUI criminal defense lawyer, he learned that his case was not hopeless. His case was defensible, and he should assert his rights at Court and at the BMV with the assistance of criminal defense counsel. After all, it was the State’s responsibility to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that he committed the crime.
Here are some common issues that an OUI Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you exploit in defense of your case:
- Problems with the OUI Stop: Did the officer have the requisite reasonable articulable suspicion to pull you over? Did the officer have the requisite probable cause to get you to take an alcohol breath test or other chemical test?
- Problems with the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST): Was the officer trained properly to execute the standardized field sobriety tests? Did the officer execute the tests in accordance with standardized procedures? Did the officer fail to ask about any potential health problems that would affect your performance on the SFSTs?
- Problems with the Alcohol Breath Test or Intoxilyzer Machine: Is the officer certified to use the Intoxilyzer? At the time of the arrest, was the Intoxilyzer machine calibrated properly and well maintained? Did the officer observe the proper wait period before breath testing? Did the machine read any error messages during testing?
- Questioning the Arresting Officer at the BMV Administrative Hearing: Did the officer conduct a solid investigation of the incident? The officer’s testimony at the hearing can shed light in this matter. Moreover, if your lawyer wins at the BMV Administrative Hearing, then your license would not be administratively suspended.
Stew also discovered that if the police “messed up” in any way technically, that this could help his case. This was not “getting off on a technicality,” but it was making sure that the police and the District Attorney did their jobs so that an innocent person does not get convicted. And Stew certainly felt like he was no criminal.
Aggravated First Offense Maine Operating Under the Influence OUI
Stew is right to be worried about his situation. If convicted, there certainly would be very serious things that could happen to him that would both affect his CDL and his family. Even though Stew was driving his own car when he was stopped for OUI, his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is also at risk.
First, in Maine, Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is a criminal charge containing the following elements:
1-A. OFFENSE. A person commits OUI if that person:
- Operates a motor vehicle:
1) While under the influence of intoxicants; or
2) While having an alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath;
Under these elements, you need to be operating a motor vehicle. Stew’s modest family car certainly falls under this definition. Second, you need to be “impaired” by an intoxicant at the time you were operating the motor vehicle. An “intoxicant” can be alcohol, such as in Stew’s case. But an “intoxicant” can also be a prescription medicine or illegal drug as well.
In Maine, a person is legally “intoxicated” with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. Stew’s blood alcohol content was 0.19. A blood alcohol content that is over 0.15 is considered to be an “aggravating factor.” Therefore, Stew is facing a charge of Aggravated First Offense OUI.
An Aggravated First Offense OUI in Maine is a Class D misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for a Class D misdemeanor upon conviction include up to $2,000.00 in fines and up to 364 days jail time. The mandatory minimum penalties for an Aggravated First Offense OUI conviction include:
- 48 hours jail time
- $500.00 Fine
- 150 day loss of his drivers license
- 1 year suspension on his CDL
o It should be noted that the 1 year suspension of the CDL is an administrative collateral consequence.
Mandatory jail time is included when the First Offense OUI is aggravated. Mandatory minimum penalties are the least severe penalties allowed by law. They cannot be reduced or negotiated down by a criminal defense lawyer.
Effects of an OUI on a Commercial Driver’s License
Here, Stew was driving his own vehicle when he was stopped for OUI. Had he been driving his logging truck when he was stopped, he would have faced a more stringent standard. Instead of 0.08 being the legal limit, he would have needed only a 0.04 (to a 0.07) blood alcohol content to be charged with a “rule violation.” While a charge for “rule violation” is not the same as a charge for an OUI, it carries the same administrative collateral consequences. If operating a CMV, any BAC result over a .08 would result in charges for OUI and rule violation.
Since Stew was driving his own personal vehicle when stopped for suspected OUI, he the nonetheless will experience the following consequences on his commercial driver’s license as though he had been charged with a “rule violation”:
- 1 year suspension of commercial driver’s license (CDL) (for a first offense)
- Lifetime disqualification of commercial driver’s license (CDL) (for a subsequent offense)
Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles Administrative Suspensions for OUI
After Stew’s arrest, the police officer will send the police report, along with the high test results from the Intoxilyzer test, to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). The BMV uses the police report alleging OUI as a basis to suspend Stew’s driver’s license administratively.
A week or so after Stew’s arrest, he received a notice in the mail from the Maine Secretary of State indicating that his license is about to go under suspension. This letter also notified Stew of the short window of opportunity to contest the BMV administrative suspension. With the assistance of a DUI criminal defense lawyer, Stew requested an Administrative Hearing. Requesting this hearing placed a stay (postponement) on Stew’s license suspension date until after the hearing. This gave Stew more time that he needed to make arrangements to perform his license reinstatement requirements while his license was still active. Also, it allowed Stew and his family time to prepare for a length of time when Stew would not be able to drive.
Court Process for OUI in Maine for aggravated first offense OUI charges with a CDL
The Unified Criminal Docket court procedure is in place in Cumberland County and Penobscot County Maine. Here is the court procedure for an Aggravated OUI charge with a CDL in this court:
Your first court date for an Aggravated First Offense OUI in Maine is an Arraignment, where the details of the charge are read, and Stew gets to answer to the charge. Since Stew had hired a criminal defense lawyer, his lawyer entered his plea of Not Guilty on his behalf through the mail.
The next court date after Arraignment is a Dispositional Conference, where the attorneys meet to negotiate a potential resolution to the case outside of trial. Here, Stew’s criminal defense lawyer will emphasize his prior clean criminal record, as well as his role as a family man an upstanding citizen. Given these facts, it would be unlikely that Stew would be committing the same offense again. Any remaining issues with the District Attorney would be discussed in a conference with the Justice. If at the end of the Dispositional Conference and no resolution has been reached that is acceptable to the defendant, then the case would progress to pretrial motions and jury trial.
If after reviewing the discovery and the criminal defense lawyer believes that there are issues pertaining to whether certain evidence was obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights, then the criminal defense lawyer would file a Motion to Suppress. For example, in Stew’s case, there could be an issue whether or not the office had the requisite articulable suspicion to make the stop. A Suppression Hearing would be held on the Motion to Suppress. At the Suppression Hearing, the Justice determines whether or not the questionable evidence will be admissible at a potential trial.
At Stew’s Jury Trial, the District Attorney will use the written police report, witness accounts, and physical evidence to prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that he was driving while under the influence of intoxicants, and that this was aggravated by a blood alcohol content of over 0.15. On the other side of the courtroom, Stew’s criminal defense lawyer will cross-examine witnesses, relentlessly test the State’s evidence to assure that correct procedures were used, and introduce expert witness testimony to contest the breathalyzer evidence.
The outcome of a Trial is the end of the case, where Stew would be found guilty or not guilty.
For More Information on Aggravated First Offense OUI Charges with a CDL
If this article interests you, you might want to explore these related articles:
- Questions to Ask When Hiring an OUI Lawyer
- 10 Mistakes People Make During a DUI Stop
- Maine First OUI Offense
- Drunk Driving Involving Drugs
- New Drunk Driving Law Takes Effect December 2013
- Questions to Ask your OUI Defense Lawyer
- Court Process for OUI Laws
- What Are the Maine OUI Laws?
- Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Maine