UPCOMING CHANGES IN MAINE OUI SUSPENSIONS AND IGNITION INTERLOCK REINSTATEMENT

Posted August 28, 2013, by Edmund R. Folsom.

 

This past legislative session, the Maine Legislature enacted new provisions regarding OUI suspensions and early reinstatement with an ignition interlock device.  The new provisions do not all take effect on the same date.

Effective for conduct committed on or after October 9, 2013, the length of license suspension for a 4th or subsequent OUI offense committed within 10 years is increased to 8 years.  For conduct committed before October 9, 2013, this offense carries a 6-year license suspension and a requirement that, to become reinstated at the end of the 6-year term, the person must install an ignition interlock device and keep it installed for 6 years.  Effective for conduct committed on or after October 9, 2013, a person will be eligible for reinstatement with an installed ignition interlock device after 4 years of the 8-year suspension period has run, with the requirement that the device must remain installed for the balance of the 8-year term.  Also beginning October 9, 2013, those who are already under suspension for 6 years for a 4th or subsequent OUI offense committed within 10 years are eligible to apply for early reinstatement with an ignition interlock device once they complete 4 years of the 6-year term, with the requirement that the device must remain installed for the balance of the 6-year term.  A person will not be reinstated to drive with an installed ignition interlock device unless the Secretary of State has received notice from DEEP that the person has met all DEEP requirements.  The person will also be required to have paid a $50.00 reinstatement fee and, beginning October 9, 2013, will also need to pay a $50.00 administrative fee in addition to the reinstatement fee.

Effective for conduct committed on or after December 1, 2013, the length of license suspension is increased for a first offense OUI within 10 years from 90 days to 150 days.  It has been widely reported by media outlets that the new length of suspension is 180 days, but it is in fact 150 days (see Public Law Chapter 389, Approved by the Governor July 1, 2013).  A person convicted of such an offense may choose whether to seek early reinstatement with an installed ignition interlock device or simply serve the entire 150-day suspension term.   A person seeking early reinstatement must first serve 30 days of the suspension term.  The Secretary of State will not allow early reinstatement with an ignition interlock device unless notice has first been received that the person has met all DEEP requirements and unless a $50.00 reinstatement fee and an additional $50.00 administrative fee have been paid.   A person who is reinstated early with an ignition interlock device must leave the device installed for the balance of the 150-day suspension term.    If a person chooses not to seek early reinstatement with an installed ignition interlock device, the person will be reinstated to drive on a work-restricted basis after 2/3 (100 days) of the suspension period has been served, provided: (1) the Secretary of State has received notice that the person has met DEEP requirements at the point; and (2) the person has paid a $50.00 reinstatement fee.  The work-restricted status will continue for the last 1/3 (50 days) of the suspension period.  If, rather than wait until 2/3 of the suspension period has been served, the person applies for and is granted a work-restricted license on an administrative suspension, the time the person holds that work license will not be counted toward a court-ordered suspension for conviction of the same offense.  Just as is the case with a 90-day first offense suspension, once a person applies for and is issued a work license on an administrative suspension, the suspension is considered “stayed” and the person is issued a license with the condition that the person must only operate for work purposes.  Again, the time that a person is allowed to drive on this restricted license will not be counted toward a court-ordered suspension for conviction of a first offense OUI.   A number of people have wondered whether, once December 1, 2013, rolls around, a person will be eligible for reinstatement with an ignition interlock device after serving 30 days of their suspension term on a 90-day suspension received for pre-December 1, 2013, first offense OUI conduct.  The answer is “no.”  Early reinstatement with an ignition interlock device will only be available for those who receive a 150-day suspension for a first offense OUI, and will not become available at any point for those who receive a 90-day suspension.

There will be an interesting twist in the new ignition interlock option for first offenders who are suspended for a first-offense refusal and convicted for a first offense OUI arising from the same event, for conduct committed on or after December 1, 2013.   The governing statutes allow a person suspended for a first offense refusal to be reinstated to drive under a work restriction after serving 2/3 of the 275-day suspension period, provided the person has met DEEP requirements and paid a reinstatement fee at that  point.   As discussed above, the governing statutes also provide for a person who has met DEEP requirements and paid a reinstatement fee at the 2/3 mark of a 90-day suspension for a first offense OUI conviction to be reinstated with a work restriction for the last 30 days of that suspension period.    Under current law, when a person is convicted of OUI within the first 6 months of the suspension period for the refusal, if DEEP requirements have been met and reinstatement fees have been paid, the BMV strings the time off the road for the administrative and court ordered suspensions together, causing the person to be barred from driving for a total of 8 months, followed by 4 months of license reinstatement on a work restricted license before full reinstatement.   On December 1, 2013, when the suspension for a first offense OUI grows to 150 days, if a person in these circumstances does not seek early reinstatement with an ignition interlock device, that person will be reinstated to drive on a work restricted basis once 6 months (2/3 of refusal suspension) plus 100 days (2/3 of suspension for conviction) have passed, and will remain on the work restriction for 3 months (last 1/3 of refusal suspension) plus 50 days (last 1/3 of suspension for conviction).   But what will happen if a person in these circumstances seeks early reinstatement with an ignition interlock device after serving the first 6 months of the refusal suspension plus 30 days of the court suspension?  Will the person be reinstated to drive at that point but remain under a work restriction as well as an ignition interlock restriction until the remainder of the 275-day refusal suspension period has run?  Or will the person be reinstated to drive at that point with an ignition interlock device and from that point forward no longer be under a work restriction?   The answer is that as of September 25, 2013, the Secretary of State’s Office has not yet decided how it will structure this work-restricted early reinstatement (admin. refusal suspension) combined with early reinstatement with ignition interlock device (court ordered OUI suspension) situation… so stay tuned.

One last bit…effective December 1, 2013,  a person convicted of OUI, Class C, based on in fact causation of serious bodily injury, will be allowed early reinstatement with an installed ignition interlock device after 3 years of the 6-year suspension term has run, provided all other requirements for early reinstatement, discussed above, have been met.  The person will be required to leave the device installed for the balance of the 6-year suspension term.

 

 

Upcoming Changes in Maine OUI Suspensions and Ignition Interlock Reinstatement.

 



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