Drug and Alcohol Laws in the State of Maine
Getting caught with drugs or driving under the influence are serious crimes in Maine. You can lose your license, face fines, and spend time in jail. Take a look at this overview of Maine’s laws so you know what to expect.
DUI Laws in Maine
Maine treats Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol very seriously. If you get caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, you are guilty of Operating Under the Influence (OUI). OUI penalties are very serious, and the state estimates the cost at about $7,000 for drivers.
If you receive a OUI conviction, you automatically lose your license — This happens instantly. You don’t even have to go to court first, and the length of time increases if you have multiple convictions.
Once you get your license back, it’s conditional for a year after the first offense and for 10 years after subsequent offences. If you get caught with any alcohol in your system when you have a conditional license, you automatically lose driving privileges for another year.
Zero Tolerance Laws for Maine
Maine has a zero tolerance law for drivers under the age of 21 years. If you get caught driving with any alcohol in your system, you lose your license for a year. By driving, you automatically consent to take blood alcohol tests as requested, and if you refuse to take the test, you lose your license for 18 months.
The penalties are higher if you have passengers in the vehicle. In particular, you lose your license for an extra 180 days if you have a passenger under the age of 21 years. You don’t even need to be driving. You can face these penalties for attempting to drive as well.
Is Marijuana Legal in Maine?
Voters approved recreational marijuana in Maine in 2016, but at the time of writing, the state is still finalizing the rules for retail sales. The rules should be in place by 2020.
As of January 27, 2017, adults over the age of 21 years can grow six mature pot plants at their homes, and they can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
Drug and Alcohol Related Crimes
In addition to Maine’s OUI laws, the state also has a range of laws related to hard drugs. In most states, drug and alcohol crimes are felonies or misdemeanors, but Maine does not use those categories. Instead, the state splits crimes into five classes from A to E.
If you have a previous drug possession conviction and you have one of the following, you are guilty of a Class B crime:
- Over 14 grams of cocaine.
- Over four grams of base cocaine.
- More than 14 grams of methamphetamine.
The prior conviction does not need to be in Maine. It can be in any jurisdiction.
For possessing any of the following, you can be charged with a Class C crime:
- Over 2 grams of cocaine.
- At least 2 grams of cocaine base.
- Over 200 milligrams of heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methamphetamine, or fentanyl.
Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in Maine
Class B crimes are explained above, and the punishments include up to 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine. For a class C crime, the penalty is up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Here are the OUI penalties in Maine:
- 1st offence: lose license for 150 days and $500 fine.
- 1st offence and refuse to take the BAC test: lose license for 275 days, 96 hours in jail, and $600 fine.
- 2nd offense: lose license for three years, seven days in jail, and $700 fine.
- 2nd offense and refuse to take the BAC test: lose license for three years, 12 days in jail, and $900 fine
- 3rd offense: lose license for six years, 30 days in jail, and $1,100 fine.
- 3rd offense and refuse to take BAC test: lose license for six years, 40 days in jail, and $1,400 fine.
- 4th offense: lose license for eight years, six months in jail, and $2,100 fine.
- 4th offense and refuse to take BAC test: lose license for eight years, six months and 20 days in jail, and $2,500 fine.
The penalties increase if you have aggravating factors such as a BAC of 0.15% or higher, driving 30 mph or more over the speed limit, or trying to evade arrest. Additionally, you lose your license for an extra 275 days if you have a passenger under the age of 21 years in the vehicle.
If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol in Maine, don’t risk getting charged with a crime. Seek help from your local addiction center as soon as possible. With the right support, you can stop and get your life back on track.
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