1. Rules Regarding OUI and Refusal Suspensions in General.
-Courts impose suspensions for OUI convictions under 29-A M.R.S.A. §2411, with the duration determined by how many prior “OUI offenses” are pled and proved.
-The BMV imposes suspensions for OUI convictions under 29-A M.R.S.A. §2451, not based on what was alleged in the charging instrument but based on how many “OUI offenses” a person “has” within a 10-year period. Therefore, for instance, if a second offense is reduced to a first offense in court, the court will suspend the person’s license for 150 days, but the BMV will then impose a 3-year suspension.
-Administrative refusal suspensions: These are determined by the number of prior refusal suspensions a person “has” in a 10-year period, as follows: (1) 1st refusal, 275 days; (2) 2d refusal, 18 months; (3) 3d refusal, 4 years; (4) 4th refusal, 6 years. See 29-A M.R.S.A. §2521(6).
-A refusal suspension is an “OUI offense.” See 29-A M.R.S.A. §2401(11). The length of a suspension for an OUI conviction is increased by the number of prior “OUI offenses” that are pled and proved, under 29-A M.R.S.A. §2411, and by the number of “OUI offenses” a person “has” under 29-A M.R.S.A. §2451, so a refusal suspension will always increase the length of license suspension a person will receive for a subsequent OUI conviction.
-If a person is suspended for a refusal but is not convicted of the associated OUI, and if the person is later convicted of an OUI that is committed within 10 years of the effective date of the prior refusal suspension, the person will receive a suspension for the OUI conviction that reflects the prior “OUI offense” (refusal suspension).
-On the other hand, if a person is suspended administratively for operating with an excessive alcohol level or for an administrative finding of operation under the influence of drugs, this administrative finding does not constitute an “OUI offense.” Therefore, if the person is not convicted of an OUI charge associated with the administrative suspension, and is later arrested for OUI within 10 years of the previous administrative suspension, the person will be treated as a first offender with respect to the license suspension for both the new administrative action and the new criminal charge of OUI.
a. Refusal suspension 1/1/2010, new charge of OUI with alcohol test taken, 1/1/2014:
-Administrative (excessive alcohol or OUI drugs) suspension 3 years.
-Court suspension for OUI conviction
-3 years if prior pled and proved.
-150 days if prior not pled and proved
-Administrative suspension resulting from OUI conviction, per §2451, 3 years regardless whether prior was pled and proved.
b. Excessive alcohol or OUI drugs suspension 1/1/2013, related OUI charge dismissed or acquitted, new charge of OUI 1/1/2014:
-Admin. (excessive alcohol or OUI drugs) suspension 150-days.
-Court suspension for OUI conviction, 150 days.
-Administrative suspension resulting from OUI conviction, per §2451, 150 days.
2. License reinstatement from Administrative Suspensions and Suspensions for Convictions Generally.
A suspension for an OUI conviction is always consecutive to a refusal suspension from the same episode. See 29-A M.R.S.A. §2451(4).
Example: 2d admin. refusal suspension + 2d offense OUI = 18 months + 3 years.
A suspension for a driving to endanger conviction does not have to be consecutive to an administrative refusal suspension, because there is no such statutory requirement. Because a suspension for driving to endanger begins on the date it is imposed by the court, per 29-A M.R.S.A. §2434, it simply begins that day and ends when it runs out. Therefore, if a person is suspended for DTE while a refusal suspension is in effect, the DTE suspension will in fact run concurrently with the refusal suspension to the extent the two suspensions happen to overlap.
If a person has already served the full refusal suspension when a DTE suspension is imposed, or if the person has served 180 days of a first refusal suspension by then and has been reinstated on a work-restricted basis, it is helpful to have the court order or recommend that the DTE suspension should be “concurrent with” the administrative refusal suspension. If the court does this, the BMV will give the person credit toward the DTE suspension for time already served on the refusal suspension. Authority for the court to enter such a recommendation on the suspension notice is found in 29-A M.R.S.A. §2418(2). Some judges, however, refuse to make such an order in a case involving a DTE as a dropdown from an OUI that involved a test refusal.
By statute, a person must automatically be given credit for time served on an administrative excessive alcohol or OUI drugs suspension toward any suspension for an OUI conviction that arises from the same conduct. 29-A M.R.S.A. §§2453(6)(C), 2453-A(5)(B). This occurs by operation of statute, so there is no need to have a judge recommend or order that a suspension for an OUI conviction is to be concurrent with the administrative suspension. On the other hand, if a judge makes such a recommendation or order regarding a suspension for an OUI conviction with an underlying refusal suspension, this recommendation or order cannot be given effect because of the statutory mandate that suspensions for OUI convictions are consecutive to refusal suspensions. See 29-A M.R.S.A. §2451(4).
3. Work Licenses, Ignition Interlocks and Reinstatement.
Reinstatement fees must always be paid before a person’s license is reinstated.
Early reinstatement is available from administrative suspensions for operating with an excessive alcohol level or OUI drugs, and from suspensions for OUI convictions, as follows:
-1st offense, after 30 days.
-2d offense, after 9 months.
-3d offense, after 3 years.
-4th offense, after 4 years. 29-A M.R.S.A §2508(1).
-Reinstatement Scenarios With and Without Ignition Interlock Device for First Offenders.
–Excessive Alcohol and OUI Drugs Administrative Suspensions.
To be reinstated to drive with an ignition interlock device, the person must first have paid the reinstatement fee, met DEEP requirements and paid an administrative fee for the ignition interlock device. It is difficult to meet DEEP requirements within the first 30 days of a first offense administrative OUI suspension. Often, therefore, the person will be better off to immediately apply for a work license on the administrative suspension. This option is available under 29-A M.R.S.A §2503(1). If the person is convicted of OUI, he or she will likely have met DEEP requirements for ignition interlock reinstatement at that point. This will allow the person to drive with an ignition interlock device after 30 days of the court-ordered suspension term has been served, provided the person has met DEEP requirements and has paid a reinstatement fee at that point. See 29-A M.R.S.A. §2501(1). If a person does not apply for a work license on the person’s administrative suspension, the BMV will reinstate the person to drive on a work-restricted basis after 100 days of the suspension term are served. The work-restricted license will remain in effect for the last 50 days of that term, and the person will be credited with the time served off the road toward a later court-ordered suspension for a related OUI conviction. To allow time for the BMV to credit the person for the administrative suspension time, the court may stay the effective date of the court-ordered suspension for up to 7 days. See 29-A M.R.S.A. §2434(4). This should be adequate time for the crediting to take place, and should allow the person to continue to drive uninterrupted by the court-ordered suspension during the time it takes to apply credit for the administrative suspension.
Those who are suspended for a first offense refusal will be reinstated to drive on a work-restricted basis after 180 days are served, if DEEP requirements have been met at that point and the reinstatement fee has been paid. See 29-A M.R.S.A. §2501(3). On a suspension for a first offense OUI conviction that arises from the same episode, if the person does not seek reinstatement with an ignition interlock device, and if the person has met DEEP and other requirements for reinstatement at the 2/3 mark of the 150-day suspension (100 days), the person will be reinstated to drive on a work-restricted basis for the remainder of the suspension period. In sum, if the person has met DEEP requirements and has paid a reinstatement fee by the time the person has served 180 days of the refusal suspension, and if the person does not care to install an ignition interlock device at any point, the person will be required to serve 180 days (refusal) plus 100 days (OUI conviction) off the road and will then be restricted to operation on a work-restricted license for 50 days before being fully reinstated.
If a person in the circumstance immediately above decides to install an ignition interlock device for part of the court-ordered suspension term, the suspensions will play out as follows: After 180 days of the refusal suspension plus 30 days of the suspension for OUI conviction are served, the person can petition to install an ignition interlock device that will allow the person to drive, for all purposes, for whatever remains of the 150-day court-ordered suspension term on the date the device is installed.
The petition to be allowed to drive with an installed ignition interlock device and information on installers are available here: http://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/forms/iidapp.pdf
3/31/14 CLE: LICENSE SUSPENSIONS, REINSTATEMENT, IGNITION INTERLOCKS.