The people of Maine had approved a referendum legalizing the recreational use of pot for adults. This means that going on vacation in Maine with small amounts of marijuana is not a criminal or civil violation of Maine State law. As a result, people believe that they can take pot with them for outdoor recreational activities, such as snowmobiling, boating, and ATVing. However, they would be only half-correct. While Maine allows you to possess pot while enjoying the outdoors, it remains illegal for you to snowmobile, drive an ATV, or operate a boat while being impaired by pot. A pot OUI on a snowmobile has special nuances for which you need to be aware.
Because the referendum was a Statewide referendum, it only affects Maine State law. This article does not go over similar charges if they occurred in federal recreational areas, such as Maine’s Acadia National Park. Under Federal Law, marijuana is still an illegal drug, and possession could trigger federal criminal charges.
Facing snowmobiling under the influence of marijuana in Maine? I am happy to speak with you about your case and to let you know how I can help defend your case at court. For contact information to my criminal defense law firm, feel free to refer to my website www.nielsengrouplaw.com.
In this article, let’s get a deeper understanding of a Maine OUI for pot on a snowmobile and what you need to know.
- What is the Maine law for a pot OUI on a snowmobile
- What to expect when charge with pot OUI while snowmobiling and smoking marijuana
- How a Maine OUI defense attorney can help
- Possible outcomes for a pot OUI in Maine
Maine Statute for OUI with Pot on a Snowmobile
The Maine Statute governing OUI from pot on a snowmobile is 12 M.R.S.A. Section 10701. Under this statute, a person “may not operate or attempt to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs or a combination of liquor and drugs.” Marijuana is an intoxicant.
For adults over 21, legal “intoxication” is defined as 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath. For young people under 21, you are not allowed to operate a snowmobile with any amount of alcohol in your system.
Determining intoxication by alcohol is typically determined through an alcohol breath test, such as the Intoxilyzer. Investigating impairment by marijuana is not so straightforward. Currently, there is no similar test for intoxication by pot or marijuana. The best tools the State has are still the blood test and the urine test to test for levels of THC.
Snowmobiling while intoxicated is a Class D misdemeanor. For a first offense, the mandatory minimum penalties include a fine of $400.00. Like Pot OUI, the presence of aggravating factors can increase the penalties. The increased mandatory penalties include 48 hours mandatory jail time when:
- Presence of an alcohol breath test results of 0.15 or higher.
- If the person failed or refused to stop upon request of an officer.
- If the person failed to submit to a chemical test to determine that person’s alcohol level or drug concentration.
Mandatory minimum penalties are the least severe penalties imposed by law upon conviction. The maximum penalties for a Class D misdemeanor conviction include up to $2,000.00 in fines and up to 364 days jail time. The best way to resolve a charge of snowmobiling OUI with marijuana is still to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight your case at Court.
OUI while Snowmobiling with Pot in Maine
Al was excited to be going ice fishing with his buddies at his favorite spot on Mausam Lake. He was especially looking forward to testing out his new collapsible ice shelter, which he would have to drive onto the ice using his snowmobile. He and his buddies were passing around a marijuana joint. When they arrived at Mausam Lake, Al saw that people had already set up in his favorite spot, and so he would have to go further out.
A Warden who was paroling the lake observed Al and his friends operating a snowmobile at what the Warden thought was an imprudent speed. The Warden approached Al and his buddies. The Warden noticed the odor of freshly burnt marijuana, and the Warden observed that Al’s eyes were bloodshot. Al admitted to smoking just before getting onto the ice. With these signs of impairment, along with Al’s imprudent operation of his snowmobile, the Warden asks Al to perform some Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). Al performed these tests, and the Warden said he failed. The Warden then places Al in handcuffs and brings him to the Sanford Police Station for an alcohol breath test.
At the police station, Al blows a 0.00 alcohol breath sample. Next, the Warden calls in a Drug Recognition Expert to test what might be causing Al’s impairment. And Al is asked to provide a blood sample. Al was charged with OUI from marijuana on a snowmobile.
How Al Can Benefit from a Criminal Defense Attorney
Al wrote down what happened (what he could remember) from the incident and he called a criminal defense lawyer as soon as he could. Some of the ways that Al can benefit from his criminal defense attorney include:
- Finding Issues from the OUI Investigation: Every OUI stop is different, and it is the criminal defense lawyer’s job to identify any potential issues with the OUI investigation. Did the officer speak to every witness? Did the officer observe any poor operation of Al’s snowmobile?
- Was the Warden qualified to do an OUI investigation? There are procedures for every test, including SFSTs, the Intoxilyzer, and blood and urine tests. Some of these tests require special certifications and training to be able to do. Without the proper certification, the tests themselves can be called into question. Al will need to know this for the proper defense of his case.
- Was the DRE evaluation done correctly? Does the DRE evaluator have a history of incorrectly identifying intoxicants?
Al’s case would follow the Maine Court procedure of the Unified Criminal Docket, and you can refer to the series of court dates outlined in my separate article.
Possible Outcomes to Al’s OUI from Pot on a Snowmobile
Potential resolutions to Al’s case might include:
- Dismissal: If Al has no other criminal history, and this OUI is a first offense, a criminal defense attorney might be able to argue for a dismissal with the right district attorney from Court.
- Plea agreement: When Al agrees to plead guilty to a different charge, or a lesser charge, then the one he was charged with. With the effective assistance of legal counsel, Al might be able to plead guilty to operating his snowmobile poorly instead of having the charge contemplate intoxication.
- Deferred Disposition: If the District Attorney agrees to this type of a resolution, Al could enter a guilty plea as charged, but he would not be sentenced immediately. The sentencing would be put off or “deferred” pending a period of good behavior and Al meeting certain conditions and requirements. Here, the District Attorney’s Office might require that Al get counseling for potential substance abuse issues with marijuana. If Frank is successful in staying out of trouble, then he would get an “upside” to the deferred disposition, such as having the charge dismissed. If Al is unsuccessful in meeting his deferred disposition requirements, then he would be convicted, and his sentence would be determined by Maine statute.
- Jury Verdict: If Al does not want to plead guilty to anything unless the State “proves it” then he could pursue a Jury Trial, in which the jury would determine whether he is guilty or innocent. If Al is found to be Not Guilty, then he would be acquitted of the charge. If Al is found to be Guilty by the Jury, then the Judge would determine what his sentence would be.
For More Information on Marijuana OUI on a Snowmobile
If this article on Marijuana OUI in Maine interests you, you might want to explore these related articles:
- Drunk Driving Involving Drugs
- New Drunk Driving Law Takes Effect December 2013
- Questions to Ask your OUI Defense Lawyer
- Court Process for Marijuana and Alcohol OUI Laws
- What Are the Maine OUI Laws?
- Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in Maine