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The last thing you want is to get convicted for drunk driving. If you know the laws governing DUI cases in Maine, including the legal limit for alcohol, it can help you avoid trouble. You may be legally impaired, under Maine law, after consuming what you feel is only a modest amount of alcohol.
In fact, if you are under 21, you can't have any measurable blood alcohol content, typically referred to as your BAC. Your BAC must be .00 if you're under 21 due to Maine's a zero tolerance stance.
If you are 21 or over, Maine law says that you can face DUI charges if your blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. To judge whether your BAC will be at that level or not, you should consult charts that approximate blood alcohol content. Such charts can give you an idea of how your BAC will be affected by any particular number of drinks according to your weight range. However, tables should not be relied upon to determine whether you are capable of operating a motor vehicle. Always keep in mind that there are a number of variables that can influence whether you are legally qualified to drive.
However, those charts are a general guideline only, and won't help if you are charged with a DUI after your blood alcohol content has been shown be testing at or above the legal limit. For that reason, it is important to use good judgment. If you have any doubt at all about your condition after drinking, it's best to be safe and not drive. It can also help to get an opinion about your condition from a friend who doesn't drink. A friend can give you a ride so you don't put yourself or others at risk.
If you are driving a commercial vehicle when you're pulled over, your blood alcohol content can only be .04. This differentiation is important to know, since individuals may drive a personal vehicle at some time and a commercial vehicle at others.
Additionally, you don't have the option to refuse to take a BAC test. Maine has an implied consent law. That means that if you are stopped and arrested by a law officer who has probable cause to suspect a DUI, the officer has a right to test you. In essence, your consent to the test is legally implied or presumed. In most cases this will be done by breathalyzer. It should be done as soon after the person was stopped as possible. That way, an accurate recording of the person's blood alcohol level while driving can be made.
Technically, you can refuse to take the test. The officer isn't going to force you to take it unless very specific conditions are met. Those include accidents that result in death or in injuries that are so severe an officer presumes that they will lead to death. They also include any time an officer has reason to suspect drug use. If those conditions don't apply, the arresting officer can't actually force you to take the test to determine your blood alcohol content level.
However, if you refuse it, you will be subject to specific penalties in accordance with Maine law. A key one is that you can lose your driver's license for up to six years. Additionally, your refusal can legally be used against you if you wind up in court. If you are convicted of an OUI, your refusal to take a test can result in time being added to your sentence. The arresting officer has to inform you of all these things at the time you are stopped, however, or they don't apply. Regardless of the circumstances, it is best to review your case with an attorney to understand all of your legal options.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.