You’ve Been Hit By a Drunk Driver – Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?

So you’ve been hit by a drunk driver in Maine.

You’re probably wondering what legal actions you can take to receive compensation and/or ensure the reckless driver who hit you is punished for the crime.

What is the difference between a DUI and an OUI?

A DUI or Driving Under the Influence is classified in Maine as an OUI or “Operating Under the Influence” and will be the legal term you’ll see in proceedings and documents. If the at-fault driver was operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08%+ they may be found guilty of a criminal offense.

In the state of Maine it is prohibited to operate or attempt to operate a motor vehicle under the following conditions:

  • The operator has a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or more

  • The operator is under the influence of intoxicants. This means the operator’s physical or mental faculties are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants to any extent.

Keep in mind: operating or attempting to operate a vehicle doesn’t require the actual movement of the vehicle. If there’s proven intent of operating the vehicle or significant steps towards doing so, an impaired person can be convicted of an OUI. For example, someone sitting in the driver’s seat of a car with the motor running, or sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition without the vehicle started while intoxicated may demonstrate intent.

Maine OUI Statistics

The OUI statistics in Maine are quite startling. According to, of the total driving fatalities in the state of Maine in 2018, 30.7% of those were alcohol-impaired fatalities. The national average in that same category was actually lower than Maine’s in 2018 at 28.8%.

And the percentage of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities that involved drivers with high BAC levels (.15+) was almost as high as the national average. Maine hit 64% while the US as a whole was only a little higher at 70%.

I’ve been hit by a driver under the influence – what do I do?

First, if you’ve not done so, contact the authorities and contact a personal injury lawyer right away. The authorities will document the details of your experience for court proceedings should those proceedings occur, and a personal injury lawyer will protect your rights, work with insurance companies for just compensation should your car be damaged, and if you have suffered personal injuries. . Additionally, a personal injury lawyer will only charge a percentage of what you’re compensated in court, so there’s little reason not to hire an attorney to help you navigate what can be a very complex system. If you want the person who hit you to be convicted for the crime they committed, a personal injury lawyer can also help to supply information to the District Attorney’s office on your behalf, including your medical records, bills, and any statements needed.

If the driver who hit you was operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08%+ they may be found guilty of a criminal offense. This means that immediately following the arrest the license of the at-fault driver will be suspended by the Secretary of State. This suspension is based solely on police reports and the BAC (blood alcohol content) results. In Maine, no trial is required for the license suspension so while you’re waiting for your day in court, you can rest assured that the driver who hit you is not legally allowed to drive.

The driver who hit me was under 21 – do they get off easy?

Lucky for you, the State of Maine and the Department of Public Safety have a Zero Tolerance Law. This means that if the driver who hit you was under the age of 21 and intoxicated while operating the vehicle, the driver will lose his or her license for one year, with no exceptions. This scenario also applies if the driver was even attempting to operate a vehicle.

If the driver refused a BAC test at the time of the accident, the driver will also lose his or her license for at least 18 months. Also, if that driver had a passenger at the time of the accident/arrest who is under 21 years of age, Maine imposes an additional 180-day license suspension. Also, if the driver who hit you was under 21 with a BAC of .08%+ that person can be prosecuted for a criminal offense OUI.

Drivers under 21 with a BAC of .08% or more can be prosecuted for the criminal offense of OUI, but the license suspension must be for one year.

What exactly is “Blood Alcohol Content” (BAC)?

When the driver who hit you is interviewed by the police at the scene of the accident, that person will undergo a breath test or a blood test – the latter performed off the premises. The results of this test determine the blood alcohol content of the inhibited person, results of which can act as quite powerful evidence. A BAC of .08% or more can result in a conviction of guilty by the courts without any additional evidence. Also, in the state of Maine, the very act of having a license is a statement of implied consent. This means that having a license is a privilege, not a right and as such, the driver who hit you has automatically agreed to a chemical test – whether that test is a breath test or a blood test, or even urine. And this test can be administered by the authorities at any time. Failure to comply results in immediate suspension of the driver’s license for anywhere up to 6 years. Again, the court ruling is not required to administer this suspension. Refusal alone is enough to result in license suspension.

What if the driver who hit me refused the BAC? Can he or she still be arrested?

Fortunately, the testimony regarding the driving performance of the person who hit you can result in an OUI conviction without the BAC test. This means if a police officer happened to bear witness to the accident the police officer’s testimony of the reckless driver who hit you can help with the OUI conviction. The refusal of the driver to take the BAC test can then be used against the driver in the court of law, further tacking on an additional suspicion and even mandatory jail time.

The Driver Who Hit Me Will Face What Penalties?

Depending on the driver’s record, he or she can experience different repercussions:

1st Offense

  • Up to 1 year jail time
  • $500 to $2,000 Fines
  • 150 days License suspension

2nd Offense

  • 7 days to 1 year (minimum 12 days if implied consent violation) Jail time
  • $700 to $2,000 (minimum $900 if implied consent violation) FInes
  • 3 years License suspension

3rd Offense

  • 30 days to 5 years (minimum 40 days if implied consent violation) Jail time
  • $1,100 to $5,000 (minimum $1,400 if implied consent violation) Fines
  • 6 years License suspension

Will the Drunk Driver Who Hit Me Face Additional Consequences?

Yes. If the person who hit you was intoxicated while driving and is convicted of an OUI, not only will that person carry a criminal record, there are many additional consequences.

  • The convicted driver will carry this record with them when applying for a job or college

  • The driver’s out-of-pocket expenses could reach as high as $7000 after legal proceedings, insurance claims, etc.

  • If the driver killed someone or left you injured, he or she will live with that knowledge for the rest of his or her’s life which is a pretty big burden to carry.

Were you hit by an intoxicated driver? Are you seeking legal counsel you can trust and rely upon? Contact Mann Law, personal injury law specialists for a risk-free consultation today.

attorney image
Christiana E. Mann Christiana “Chrissy” Mann has specialized in civil litigation for 21+ years as a savvy and creative litigator, and she’s regarded as a fair, compassionate, and zealous advocate on behalf of her clients.