The True Cost of DUI in the Pine State
Portland, Bangor, Augusta, Bar Harbor, and all other cities in the state of Maine have the same rules and regulations when it comes to drinking and driving. For those who are charged and convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), they can often face a number of penalties including a license suspension, possible time in jail and, sometimes worst of all, high monetary fines. While many people concern themselves with the license suspension and other punishments, the fines and fees they will have to pay as a result of their DUI is what can really have a long term impact on their life.
First Time DUI/OUI Penalties in Maine
Just like all other states, Maine follows the law that individuals with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of over 0.08 percent are considered to be driving impaired. In the state of Maine, DUI is referred to as OUI, or Operating Under the Influence, but the penalties for this crime are generally the same as DUI crimes in other states. First time offenders of DUI/OUI in Maine will face the following penalties:
- 30 Days in Jail
- $500 Fine
- License Suspension of 90 Days
It is important to remember these penalties may not be the only ones passed down by the court depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Additionally, these penalties are only for first time offenders – repeat offenders who have other DUI/OUI convictions on their record will face harsher punishments. For those who have received a second DUI/OUI within 10 years of their first offense, they will often be penalized with a 6-month jail sentence, $1,000 fine, and a three-year license suspension.
What a DUI/OUI Could Cost You Before You Are Convicted
While the fines that are used as penalties for a Maine DUI/OUI conviction can put a dent in anyone’s finances, there are also additional costs they will be responsible for even before their first court date. When an individual is pulled over and arrested for DUI/OUI, the vehicle will generally be towed to a nearby impound lot unless the office allows someone else to get the vehicle. The individual will then be responsible for the towing and storage fees, which can range between $100 and $1,000.
Some DUI/OUI arrests will require that the individual be jailed after they are arrested – this usually occurs when there are aggravated circumstances surrounding the case, such as an accident as a result of drunk driving, having a minor present in the vehicle or if the individual resisted arrested. Should the individual need to be held in jail, bail will usually be set in order for them to be released, which can range between $500 and $50,000. Many people do not have enough money to pay their own bail, so they will use the services of a bail bondsman, which means a loan with interest, increasing the overall financial penalties of the arrest.
Once the driver has been formally charged with DUI/OUI, he or she will be assigned a court hearing to begin trying the case. Before this initial court date, individuals will likely want to seek the legal help of a DUI attorney in the state who can help defend them in court. Having a lawyer who is well versed in DUI/OUI laws in the state of Maine can help win the case or at the very least, have the charges reduced. While all lawyers and law firms will charge different amounts for their services, individuals can expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 and $10,000 – which may well be worth it should they have their charges dropped.
Dealing with DUI/OUI Fines and Other Penalties After Conviction
Should the individual be found guilty of DUI/OUI and convicted of the crime, they will then be responsible for paying the fines assigned as punishment. As mentioned, first time DUI/OUI offenders will have to pay a $500, second time offenders a $1,000, and third time offenders a minimum $1,000 that can be increased depending on the circumstances. This fine will be on top of what the individual has already paid for towing and storage of the car, bail money, and hiring a lawyer.
While the fines outlined above are true for the state of Maine, it is important to keep in mind that every state will assign a different fine amount for first time and repeat offenders.
Will My Car Insurance Change After a DUI/OUI Conviction in Maine?
While many people understand that a DUI/OUI conviction will appear on their criminal record, they often forget that it will also appear on their driving record, which can attribute to even more financial hardship as a result of the conviction. Since this infraction will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, it will also be made available to the various car insurance agencies across the state. When a DUI/OUI conviction appears, car insurance companies will increase rates to cover the increase in risk.
When compared to other state’s car insurance providers, insurance companies in Maine are relatively lenient when it comes to punishing those with a DUI/OUI conviction. On average, someone who receives a DUI/OUI in Maine will see a 55 percent increase to their car insurance cost, which factors out to about an additional $50 on their monthly premiums. As mentioned, this is the average – all providers will have their own procedures for dealing with insurance holders who have a DUI/OUI conviction.
How to Protect Your Finances from DUI/OUI
Being convicted of DUI/OUI in the state of Maine can be very expensive – individuals who are found guilty can end up paying upwards of $40,000 when all is said and done, between towing and storage fees, bail money, attorney costs, fines, and penalties and dealing with an increased car insurance rate. The only surefire way to avoid this astronomical cost is to not drink and drive. Always consider the risks of being impaired behind the wheel and opt for public transportation or a sober driver when you drink.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.