The Maine Defender Blog

Change to Maine’s “Look Back” Law on OUI’s

Effective August 1, 2014, Maine has imposed a “lifetime look back law” for certain types of previous OUI convictions. “Look back laws” are laws that require enhanced punishment for folks with prior convictions within a designated time frame. That punishment, in OUI cases, may include longer minimum mandatory jail or prison sentences, longer license suspensions and increased fines. Enhancement may also include elevating misdemeanor charges to felonies.

Until August I , 2014, Maine would only consider prior OUI convictions, for sentence enhancement purposes, that occurred within ten years prior to the new alleged OUI charge. That has now changed.

Maine law now requires enhanced sanctions for folks with certain types of OUI convictions on their record that occurred ANYTIME in the past.

Specifically, if you have been convicted of a felony OUI (because of multiple priors or causing death or serious bodily injury in conjunction with operating under the influence) , any OUI charge arising out of conduct on or subsequent to August 1, 2014 will be charged as a Class C felony, regardless of the absence of other aggravating factors.

At a minimum, you will face sanctions as follows:

  • Minimum 30 days in jail
  • Maximum 5 years in prison plus up to 2 years of probation
  • A 6 year license suspension
  • Fines ranging up to $5,000 plus surcharges

Maine and other states have increased “look back laws” for decades. These laws do apply retroactively. The retroactive application of the extension of “look back laws” has withstood judicial scrutiny in the face of ex post facto Constitutional challenges time and time again. Maine’s latest extension of the “look back law” for felony OUI convictions will be applied retroactively and will undoubtedly survive any challenges based on Constitutional grounds.

If you have previously been convicted of a felony OUI, you know all too well what a burden that placed upon you, your family and other loved ones. No matter how long ago that conviction occurred, you are at risk of facing the same, or worse, consequences if you are charged with OUI again.

Do not take a chance. Do not risk it. For more information regarding Maine’s new and all current OUI laws, give us a call at Nichols & Churchill. Portland: 207-879-4000.


Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general, not specific, information about Maine law. The publication of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the author(s) and the reader(s).

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