OUI is a crime that involves operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants or while having an alcohol level of .08% or more. In states other than Maine, the crime is typically designated DUI or driving under the influence. In Maine, there is no requirement that the motor vehicle must be operated on a public way. The crime can occur through operation of a motor vehicle on private property.
The term “operate” means to either engage the transmission to direct power to the wheels of a motor vehicle or to attempt to do so. In other words, to attempt to operate a motor vehicle under the influence is to operate a motor vehicle under the influence.
In general, the term “motor vehicle” is defined as any self-propelled vehicle that is not operated exclusively on railroad tracks. There are certain exceptions. For instance, by specific definition, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles are not motor vehicles. Still, a person who operates an all-terrain vehicle on a public way is subject to the OUI law if that person operates it under the influence or with an excessive alcohol level.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
A person is “under the influence” when that person’s senses are impaired to some degree by intoxicants. Intoxicants include alcohol, prescription and non-prescription drugs and any other substance that is capable of impairing a person’s safe operation of a motor vehicle. If a person’s mental or physical faculties are impaired by a prescription drug, it is not a defense that the source of impairment was prescribed.
If it is proven that a person had an alcohol level of .08% or more at the time of operation, it is not necessary for the state to prove the person was also under the influence.