OAS for OUI, or operating after suspension for an OUI offense, is a particularly bad form of OAS. For conviction of a first offense, the crime carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 7 days, a mandatory minimum fine of $600.00 and a 1-year license suspension consecutive to (after) the original OUI suspension is finished. In other words, if a person is suspended for 90 days for a first offense OUI and is caught driving while still under that suspension, a conviction of the OAS charge will result in a 1- year suspension consecutive to the 90-day OUI suspension. Yes, once the person is restored from the OUI suspension, he or she will remain suspended for an additional year for the OAS. If the person can persuade a D.A. to strike the language from the OAS complaint alleging that the offense occurred during the suspension period for OUI or an OUI offense, this frees the court from having to impose a minimum of 7 days in jail and a 1-year consecutive license suspension, but the Secretary of State will impose a 1-year consecutive suspension anyway, anytime a person is convicted of OAS that in fact occurred during the original suspension period for an OUI or OUI offense.
The terms OUI and OUI offense cover a lot of ground and include suspensions imposed for OUI convictions and juvenile adjudications, suspensions imposed for test refusals, and administrative suspensions for operating under the influence of drugs, operating with an excessive alcohol level or operating with alcohol or drugs in one’s system in violation of a license condition or restriction. The point is that anyone who is under suspension for an alcohol-related driving offense is taking a big risk to drive while that suspension remains in effect. The extra penalties, above and beyond those for an ordinary OAS conviction, do however only apply during the original period of suspension. When a person fails to pay a reinstatement fee or fails to complete DEEP requirements by the end of a suspension term, the suspension remains in effect until those requirements have been met. If the person drives during this continuing period of suspension, he or she commits only an ordinary OAS.
If a person is under suspension for a first offense OUI and receives a work-restricted license, the OUI suspension is stayed at that point and the person is given a new restricted license with driving permission confined to operating to, from and during work. A person who drives outside the scope of the work restriction does not commit OAS for OUI, and is therefore not subject to the mandatory minimum jail sentence and license suspension for that offense, but instead commits the crime of operating beyond license restriction. I recently had a client barely dodge imposition of mandatory minimum OAS for OUI penalties because, when he first went to court for driving on a work restricted license (issued on a suspension for operating under age 21 with alcohol in his blood), even the D.A. was unaware that this conduct constituted operating beyond license restriction as opposed to OAS for OUI. As a corollary, a person whose license has been revoked as an habitual offender is not guilty of operating after habitual offender revocation if the person has been granted a work license and operates outside the scope of that restriction.
The easiest lesson to take from this is that it’s a very bad idea to drive while under suspension for any alcohol related event. But this stuff gets complicated, and sometimes people get jammed up for penalties even greater than the law requires, which is why it’s a great idea to hire counsel who understands this area of the law if you ever run afoul of it.
What is OAS for OUI in Maine? This post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and reading this post creates no attorney-client relationship with the author.