For a juvenile under the age of 18, their first driver’s license is their first big step into adulthood. When a juvenile is charged with Drunk Driving OUI, it is often their first serious brush with the law. In Maine, juvenile drunk driving, is a juvenile charge. Notwithstanding that juvenile OUI is a juvenile charge, the District Attorneys take juvenile drunk driving cases very seriously. At the same time, a drunk driving conviction on a juvenile’s record can hinder their future before it starts. Therefore, it is paramount for a Maine OUI criminal defense lawyer to help your child fight the charge.
If you or someone you know is facing a Juvenile OUI Charges in Maine, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. I am always happy to meet with you to answer your questions and put your mind at ease.
If you are charged with Juvenile OUI in Maine, here are some things you need to know including how you can help your defense.
- How does Maine define Underage Drunk Driving?
- What are the penalties for Juvenile Drunk Driving?
- What are the impacts to the Juvenile’s Driver’ License?
- How a Juvenile OUI Defense Attorney can help?
How Maine defines Juvenile Drunk Driving
The statute governing Juvenile OUI is the same statue that governs drunk driving for adults in Maine. Under Maine statute 29-A M.R.S.A. § 2411, a criminal charge for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is a Class D misdemeanor and includes the following elements:
- Operating a motor vehicle while,
- Being under the influence of intoxicants, including alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, or a combination of the two.
In the case of a juvenile, for whom alcohol is still illegal, if they are found with any amount of alcohol in their system, they are also facing an additional criminal charge of Operating Beyond License Restriction.
Juvenile OUI and Zero Tolerance
Maine has “zero tolerance” in regards to underage intoxication. If an individual under 21 years of age is found to have any amount of alcohol in their system, they are in violation of the law. With this guidance, a teenager can be stopped for speeding and be arrested for juvenile OUI.
What are the Penalties for Juvenile OUI Charges in Maine?
As I had discussed previously about Juvenile Crimes in Maine, the objective of the Maine juvenile justice system is rehabilitates the offenders rather than punishes them. That being said, the penalties for a Juvenile OUI conviction would be similar to those for a Maine First OUI Offense for an adult. A Juvenile OUI is considered a class D crime with mandatory minimum penalties.
Criminal Penalties for a Juvenile OUI
|Fine||$500 Fine (plus additional fees and surcharges)||$2,000 Fine (plus additional fees and surcharges)|
|Jail Time||If certain aggravating factors were present, such as having a BAC of 0.15 or higher, driving with passengers who are also under the age of 21, the mandatory minimum penalties can also include 48 hours jail time.||Up to 364 days incarcerated|
|Driver’s License||150 day loss of driver’s license||150 day loss of driver’s license|
Administrative Penalties for a Juvenile OUI
Although the Criminal Court can suspend a juvenile’s license for a 150 days, because of the zero tolerance law, the BMV will suspend for period of 1 year.
Juvenile Passengers an Aggravating Factor
If certain “aggravating factors” are present in the facts of a juvenile OUI case, the driver’s license suspension time can be even longer. One common aggravating factor in juvenile OUI cases is that the juvenile was not alone in the car when pulled over by law enforcement. If the juvenile has friends in the car who are also under 21, that juvenile can be in for more trouble as a result. In this case, the driver’s license suspension can be extended for an additional six (6) months by the BMV, lengthening the total anticipated license suspension time to one and a half years.
Refusal of a Chemical Test
During the investigation of the Juvenile OUI Charge, the juvenile will be requested to submit to a chemical test. If the under 21 youth refused to take the chemical test, their driver’s license would be suspended for 18 months, which would run consecutive to any Court ordered Suspension. In total, that is just under two years license suspension for refusing to take the chemical test. If convicted of an OUI Refusal at Court, the juvenile would be fined $600, and be required to serve at least 96 hours jail time.
What are the impacts to my driver’s license if convicted of a Juvenile OUI Charges in Maine?
The license suspension time for a Juvenile OUI Offense by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles is generally for one year. This suspension can be served concurrently (at the same time) with the court imposed license suspension of 150 days.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) Hearing
A Juvenile OUI differs significantly from an adult first offense OUI at the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Things are different for a Juvenile OUI because a juvenile’s driver’s license is a “provisional” driver’s license. The condition of a “provisional” license includes being not allowed to drive a car with any amount of alcohol in your system. This is why a provisional license is referred to as the “zero tolerance” law. In other words, the only acceptable alcohol is 0.00. If a youth drives drunk, they face the double whammy of violating the drunk driving law and violating the law of their provisional driver’s license.
Like other drunk driving cases, the juvenile will get a notice in the mail notifying them that their provisional driver’s license is about to go under suspension for one (1) year. For a young person, a license suspension for one whole year can seem like an eternity. The juvenile has the right to request an Administrative Hearing to challenge the suspension of their provisional driver’s license.
Juvenile DEEP Program
The requirements for license reinstatement in Maine after an OUI include completing a DEEP course. For juveniles under 21, there are DEEP courses specifically designed to address juvenile drinking concerns. These courses focus on underage drinking prevention.
How a Juvenile OUI Defense Lawyer can help
In a Juvenile OUI case, your criminal defense lawyer has the knowledge of the law and the skill to persuade the State’s Attorney to see your side of the story. Most importantly, your criminal defense lawyer can explain the law to you in a way you can understand. Some of the areas of attack for your criminal defense lawyer should be:
- Problems with the 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 SFSTs – 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 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?
- Problems with a Blood Draw – Were proper procedures followed for the blood draw? Were proper procedures followed when the blood was tested? Were there issues with the blood draw sample or instruments?
- Contemplating Juvenile Alcohol or Substance Abuse Treatment – One means of achieving a better bargaining position with the State’s Attorney is to meet their expectations ahead of time by investing early in juvenile alcohol or substance abuse treatment.
Adjudication Hearings for Juvenile OUI
Juveniles are required to attend all court dates while accompanied by a parent or guardian. In adult criminal matters, these adjudication hearings would be similar to the Dispositional Conference at the Unified Criminal Docket or the Docket Call at the District and Superior Court. Adjudication Hearings consider a broader range of remedies for resolving the case than the adult criminal court, taking into account the juvenile’s age and level of maturity.
For More Information
If this article on Juvenile OUI Charges in Maine was interesting to 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
- 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