It is that time of year again. It has taken forever, but it is spring! Hopefully summer will be here before the Fourth of July. And with that comes more young people out and about, particularly those that are attending prom and graduation ceremonies. If you are under the age of 21, PLEASE remember that involving drugs and/or alcohol in your celebration not only doubles the danger but it doubles the consequences too.
In Maine, the “Zero Tolerance” law as outlined in 29-A M.R.S. § 2472 applies to individuals who have yet to attain the age of 21, and includes the condition that the person not operate a motor vehicle with an alcohol level of more that 0.00 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath on the Intoxilyzer or blood test. In addition to being prosecuted for Operating Under the Influence (OUI), the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will suspend your license administratively for 1 year and an additional 180 days if you have a passenger in the vehicle who is also under the age of 21.
An individual under the age of 21 who violates the Implied Consent law by refusing to take a breath test (refusal) faces an administrative suspension of 18 months consecutive to (stacked on top of) any court-ordered suspension and 30 months for a second or subsequent refusal. 29-A M.R.S. § 2472(4).
Even if the young person has a test result that is below .08 BAC and avoids the criminal charge of OUI, they will still be charged with “Operating Without A License” for violating the license condition or restriction that they not consume any alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. Operating Beyond Restriction or “Operating Without A License” is a Class E misdemeanor for which a fine of no more than $1,000, no more than 6 months in jail can be ordered by the court. Additionally there will be consequences with the BMV that will affect your license. 29-A M.R.S. § 1251 (1)(B).
Simply transporting alcohol is a problem for minors in Maine. 28-A M.R.S. § 2052. Its only a civil violation with a maximum fine of $500, but the BMV will still suspend your right to operate a motor vehicle for 30 days on a first offense, 90 days on a second offense and 1 year for any subsequent offense. 28-A M.R.S. § 2053. It should be noted, that a minor is permitted to transport liquor in a motor vehicle if it is in the scope of the minor’s employment or at the request of a minor’s parents, guardian, or custodian. So if your dad asks you to drive home a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon, you are good!!
There are similar penalties for drugs, and always remember that federal student loans can be run completely off the tracks with a simple possession of marijuana. Just say no!
In closing, I want to remind everyone that roadblocks and police departments running “intensive OUI detection details” will all be in the queue for the Summer of 2013. Be safe and do not drink and drive. Have a great summer!
If you have been accused by the police in Maine of OUI, “Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs”, Habitual Offender (HO), Operating under Suspension (OAS), possession of a controlled drug or any alleged motor vehicle or criminal offense, feel free to call Attorney John Webb today at 207-283-6400 and arrange a free consultation to discuss your case or visit: www.nicholswebb.com or www.OUIhotline.com.