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 even be committed by driving under the influence 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.