Motorcycles are great. Maine has some beautiful scenic roads that motorcycle enthusiasts and other visitors to Maine come to enjoy. Maine Law has a hard stance on OUI drunk driving and motorcycles. One can face added risk of serious personal injury or fatality when there is a crash. It is important that you know your rights regarding drinking and going for a ride.
A Maine criminal OUI charge on a motorcycle carries the same criminal risks and collateral consequences to your driver’s license as an OUI charge driving a car or truck. You will find the advice of an experienced OUI criminal defense attorney helpful and especially when representing you at Court and with your Maine driver’s license.
If you or someone you know is facing a criminal charge of OUI on a motorcycle, The Nielsen Group wants to hear from you. Contact us for your free legal consultation with an OUI criminal defense attorney.
Touring the Maine Scenery after a festival
Adam drove his motorcycle to a local festival in Maine where the roads are lined with forests and punctuated with scenic vistas. The festival was a success. Adam had a chance to show is new bike to some friends. He was also able to share a few drinks and buffalo wings. Afterwards, Adam got ready to head home. Adam felt good. The roads, however, were not in such great shape. The route home was winding and had a lot of potholes.
Adam had confidence in his motorcycle and the weather was beautiful. In a moment of oversized confidence, he tried to do a “wheelie” with his motorcycle. Unfortunately, Adam landed off-center. His motorcycle skidded out of control. Adam hit the pavement hard. Adam was lucky that some fellow motorists saw him go down and called for help. When the ambulance and paramedics arrived, Adam was unconscious. He had hit his head and he broke an arm.
Adam was in a lot of pain in the emergency room. A police officer asked him some questions. Adam’s memory was not great after landing on his head. Adam admitted to the officer that he had a few drinks before driving home. When asked, Adam could not remember clearly how he crashed. His blood taken by someone in a hospital uniform. Adam received a Summons for Criminal OUI.
Statute for OUI in Maine
The District Attorney’s Office must prove a Class D misdemeanor OUI conviction against Adam. The District attorney will look to validate the following facts:
- That Adam was operating a motor vehicle. Here, a motorcycle is considered a type of motor vehicle.
- That at the time of operating his motor vehicle,
Adam was under the influence of an intoxicant.
An intoxicant in Maine is alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, some prescription
drugs, or a combination.
- For impairment by alcohol, the legal limit is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath.
The usual means of taking a blood alcohol measurement is by taking al alcohol breath test. The officer can choose to use a blood test. The officer who question Adam choose a blood test because with the circumstances it was the more reasonable option. Blood draws are done using a specific State DHHS blood draw kit. The average hospital blood sample kit is not the same as the prescribed DHHS blood kit and considered not to be as reliable.
The decision as to which test is going to be used is up to the officer. It is a refusal if you are being investigated and ask for a different type of test. It is also a refusal declining to give a breath sample. Out article on aggravated criminal charge of OUI Refusal covers this situation.
The officer considered the facts of Adam’s situation:
- He required medical care from an accident.
- A blood test can be taken at the hospital.
- A breath test would have had to wait until Adam was discharged from the hospital
- A BAC test needs to be taken immediately after the officer realizes the need.
The officer determined a blood test was reasonable given these facts.
Penalties for a First Maine OUI Offense
The mandatory minimum penalties for a first offense OUI on a motorcycle in Main are the same as driving a car.
|Fine||$500 fine (plus fees and surcharges)||$2,000 fine (plus fees and surcharges)|
aggravating conditions: 2days
|Up to 1 year|
|Driver’s License||Court ordered and BMV order suspension for 150 days.||Court ordered and BMV order suspension for 150 days.|
OUI and Car Accidents
While the story here includes a motorcycle where only the driver was injured, the State of Maine has special statutory considerations for OUI charges when there is a car accident. 17-A M.R.S.A. [OUI Statute] subsection D.
- If the accident causes bodily injury to another person (defined in 17-A M.R.S.A. Section 2, subsection 23).
- If the accident causes the death of another person;
- Any prior history of causing the death of another person as a result of operating a motor vehicle.
Maine District Attorney’s always takes a hard stance on these cases and tend to prosecute.
Motorcycle OUI and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles
When arrested for Criminal OUI on a motorcycle, a copy of the police report goes to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Based solely off of this police report alleging OUI, the BMV can suspend your driver’s license administratively. There is a window of opportunity when you have the right to contest this license suspension. Your lawyer can request an Administrative Hearing with the BMV on your behalf. Your criminal defense lawyer can attend this hearing in your place.
It is generally easy for the State to win at the BMV. This is due to the low burden of proof the State has to meet. The Administrative Hearing is still valuable. Often, just getting the testimony of the arresting officer on an official record is helpful when defending your case at the criminal Court.
A blood draw may take longer for the BMV to obtain the initial report. BMV only takes action against your license once BMV receives the results of the blood draw. This certainly benefits you in that you can drive longer before the administrative suspension from the BMV goes into effect.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer can help
In the case described here, the District Attorney’s Office would argue likely that this is an open-and-shut case. Adam admitted to driving his motorcycle, and he admitted to drinking. Adam’s way of driving his motorcycle resulted in him crashing it and injuring himself. The State will suggest that doing the “wheelie” is a demonstration of impaired operation. A blood draw with a result above the legal limit, 0.08, indicates to the State the charge is just.
But, there are places in the case where there are problems with the evidence. As a criminal defense lawyer, I would want to know how long it took for Adam to wake up before they questioned him and took his blood at the hospital. If the sample is taken at the wrong time, this can end up showing an inaccurate blood alcohol results.
Blood draws play out somewhat differently than an alcohol breath sample. While breath samples give almost instant results, blood draws involve a greater number of factors. If the blood draw is done by the wrong person, if the wrong test kit was used, or if the State has any problems with the chain of custody of the blood sample, then this can call into question the validity of the test.
A motorcycle OUI charge would carry with it the same investigation requirements as with OUI in a typical car. As a result, defense counsel has as many areas to examine for holes in the State’s case. Because Adam could not remember doing the wheelie that resulted in him going off balance and crashing, we do not have a record of the operation of his motor vehicle was. The cops did not pull him over, but were called after a report of a crash.
In your specific case circumstances, your criminal defense lawyer should know how to represent the strengths of your case at Court.
Potential Outcomes of a Motorcycle OUI
In my experience as a criminal defense lawyer, Maine District Attorney’s Offices are not lenient on OUI charges that involve accidents or injuries. This can impact how a resolution is negotiated at Court. When facing OUI charges, your OUI defense attorney should take every opportunity to poke holes in the State’s case where they can and weaken the State case. This is the only way to put the State in a position where they will make a good offer. Here are some of the possible outcomes of an OUI with a motorcycle.
- Trial. Trial is your right as a Defendant. Why not put the State to the test, especially if your OUI defense attorney has found some issues with the State’s case. A good OUI Defense Attorney should always speak with you about the strength’s and weaknesses of your defense and the whether or not your case should head to trial or be negotiated down. Keep in mind, your OUI Defense Attorney works for you. You should be fully advised about your case and any plea offer so you can make good decisions about what you want to happen.
- Enter into Plea Agreement. Dismissals are always preferred, but if the
State does not want to dismiss the case, then perhaps a plea agreement could be
reached. The plea agreement could be
entering a guilty plea to a different charge that avoids some of the most
severe collateral consequences of the original charge. Some examples of a plea agreement include:
- Deferred Disposition. A deferred disposition is when the defendant
enters a plea, and then promises the State good behavior for a period of
time. The “good behavior” can also
include fulfilling certain requirements, such as undergoing a substance abuse
- If you are successful on good behavior, then at the end of the deferred disposition, you would win the benefit of the agreement. This is usually a dismissal of the charge at the end, or a plea to a lesser charge.
- Dropdown to a Lesser Charge. Another outcome could be entering a guilty plea to a lesser charge. One common example of a dropdown in an OUI case is for the State to dismiss the OUI charge and a conviction going forward for Driving to Endanger (DTE), which is a less severe misdemeanor than the OUI.
- Deferred Disposition. A deferred disposition is when the defendant enters a plea, and then promises the State good behavior for a period of time. The “good behavior” can also include fulfilling certain requirements, such as undergoing a substance abuse evaluation.
For More Information
If you or some one you know is facing criminal charges such as OUI, we encourage you to contact our Firm, The Nielsen Group for no cost consultation. If this article seemed interesting to you, we encourage you to explore these other articles: