Maine’s OUI/DUI Laws & Penalties in 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Maine

Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is a criminal offense in Maine if you drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08% or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or higher.

One or two standard drinks are enough to push you over the 0.08% BAC limit. This number of drinks is only an estimate because a person’s BAC level can vary depending on gender, weight, and other factors.

Please keep in mind that the purpose of this article is to educate readers on Maine’s impaired driving laws. This article is not meant to endorse or promote drunk driving in any way.

Impaired driving or operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Maine.

In 2020, drunk drivers were involved in 164 fatal car accidents in Maine. Thirty-nine percent of these accidents involved drivers who had blood alcohol levels over 0.08%, and 25% involved drivers who had BAC levels over 0.15%.

Maine’s government enforces DUI regulations to combat drunk driving in the state. Hence, monitoring your blood alcohol level before getting behind the wheel is important.

Check your blood alcohol level using a breathalyzer to ensure it is below Maine’s legal BAC limit.

Instead of driving, you could hire a designated driver, use Uber, or call a cab.

Check Maine’s Department of Public Safety official website to stay updated with DUI driving laws and regulations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Maine

You would be charged with OUI in Maine if you were caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

The BAC limits were put in place to reduce the number of impaired driving-related accidents.

Although the state enforces a 0.08% legal BAC limit, it’s important to remember that everyone reacts differently to alcohol. A few sips of alcohol may be enough to knock some people out.

Several factors, including the following, influence your BAC:

  • weight
  • gender
  • taking medication
  • levels of stress and fatigue
  • level of alcohol consumption

A BAC chart and calculator will help you determine the quantity of alcohol you can consume before driving. Since everyone’s reaction to alcohol differs, these methods may not suit everyone.

The most accurate method for measuring your BAC is to use a certified alcohol breathalyzer.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Maine

The degree of impairment varies depending on the BAC and other factors. When a person’s BAC is between 0.010% and 0.029%, their appearance is usually normal. However, as BAC levels increase, the signs of alcohol impairment become more visible.

Driving a vehicle while intoxicated may result in administrative and legal consequences. DUI or OUI laws differ from one state to the next. To avoid a fine, you must test your blood alcohol content before driving.

The following is an overview of OUI penalties in Maine.

First Offense

  • Fines: $500
  • License Suspension: 150days

A first OUI offense in Maine is a Class D crime punishable by up to one year in prison. Regardless of the potential penalty, imprisonment for at least 48 hours is required in the following cases:

  • The offender’s BAC was at least 0.15% or higher
  • The offender drove at least 30 miles per hour over the speed limit.
  • The offender evaded or attempted to evade the police.
  • There was a passenger under 21 at the time of the offense.

Second Offense

  • Fines: At least $700
  • License Suspension: Three years
  • Jail Time: Minimum of seven days up to one year in prison
  • Alcohol Program: Mandatory participation in an alcohol awareness program

Third Offense

  • Fines: At least $1,100
  • License Suspension: Four years
  • Jail Time: Minimum of 30 days up to five years imprisonment
  • Alcohol Program: Participation in an alcohol awareness program is mandatory

Fourth and Subsequent Offense

  • Fines: Minimum of $2,100
  • License Suspension: Six years
  • Jail Time: At least six months up to five years imprisonment
  • Alcohol Program: Mandatory participation in an alcohol awareness program

Increased Penalty for Drunk Drivers Transporting Underage Passengers

If an OUI is committed while a minor under 21 is in the vehicle, the offender’s license will be suspended for another 275 days.

Revocation of License for Life for Habitual Offenders

OUI offenders convicted three or more times in a five-year period are considered “habitual offenders.” The offender’s driver’s license will be revoked indefinitely in such cases.

Test Refusal

Refusing to be tested results in the following penalties, which run concurrently with any suspension imposed for an OUI conviction:

First refusal

  • License Suspension: 275 days
  • Jail Time: 96 hours
  • Fines: $600

Second Refusal

  • License Suspension: Three years
  • Jail Time: 12 days
  • Fines: $900

Third Refusal

  • License Suspension: 6 years
  • Jail Time: 40 days
  • Fines: $1,400

Fourth Refusal

  • License Suspension: Eight years
  • Jail Time: 6 months and 20 days
  • Fines: $2,500

When Can You Drink and Drive in Maine?

As previously stated, everyone’s reaction to alcohol differs. A person’s gender is one aspect that impacts their blood alcohol level. According to studies, men and women have different BACs.

Men have higher ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase) concentrations than women. Men have a fast alcohol metabolism because of these enzymes. As a result, men process alcohol faster than women.

If you’re unsure how much alcohol you can safely consume before driving in Maine, the advice below can help you.

The following information is backed up by research. However, because everyone reacts differently to alcohol, it may not apply to everyone.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Maine?

Drink beer and drive in Maine

A man weighing 72 kg (160 lbs) may reach a BAC level of 0.02% after drinking a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

On the other hand, a woman of the same weight who drank the same amount of beer could have a BAC of 0.03%.

BAC charts show that a person with a lighter physique may have a higher BAC.

Drinking one to two beer bottles will keep you within Maine’s legal BAC limit.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Maine?

A standard wine serving (5 oz/142 ml) contains an alcohol content of up to 12% ABV.

Two glasses of wine are enough to reach Maine’s legal BAC level.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Maine?

One shot of an alcoholic beverage like vodka or whiskey may contain 40% ABV.

If you have to drive after drinking, one to two shots of whiskey or vodka will keep your blood alcohol level under the legal limit in Maine.

Sticking to OUI Laws in Maine

There are many misconceptions about alcohol and how it influences safe driving. When alcohol enters your system, your capacity to handle a vehicle and yourself starts to decline instantly. Every driver should be aware of the dangers of OUI and avoid it at all costs.

Driving after drinking is strongly discouraged. Even if you have only had a few drinks, you should never be complacent and assume that your BAC level and driving ability are safe. If you’re heavily intoxicated, you should consider taking a different mode of transportation instead of driving.

If you cannot avoid driving after drinking, make sure your BAC is less than Maine’s legal limit. You must also ensure that your driving capacity is not impaired. Using a reliable alcohol breathalyzer will allow you to calculate your BAC level accurately.

Always check the state’s official website to stay informed about Maine’s OUI-driving regulations.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.