OUI charges come with lots of worries, from fines to jail time. One concern you may have is retaining your driving privileges.
The risk of losing your license is high, but there may be steps you can take to prevent it or regain it quickly.
Penalties of OUI
Failing a breath test results in an automatic 30-day license suspension, though you can appeal it. If you receive a conviction, then the loss will be longer with the length of time depending on your circumstances. First-time offenders will have a year-long license suspension. It will take completing an alcohol education program to regain your license, with the potential of getting it back sooner than a year.
Those with prior OUI convictions, including from other states, have to wait longer to receive a driver’s license again:
- Second offense: two years
- Third offense: eight years
- Fourth offense: 10 years
You will need to go through the process from scratch, passing both the learner’s permit and road tests. Installing an ignition interlock device is also mandatory. If you have five or more OUI convictions, then license revocation is permanent. Additional factors, such as having a minor in the car or causing someone bodily injury, affect the length of suspension and eligibility for reinstatement.
Protecting your driving privileges
The good news is that you may be able to apply for a hardship license so you can keep your employment. You must meet certain criteria based on your conviction, though doing so is not a guarantee of receiving the license. The key is to act quickly and refrain from violating any laws that will hurt your case.
Refusal of a chemical test
If you refused to consent to a chemical test, whether or not you were drunk, you will immediately lose your license and vehicle as a precautionary measure. Depending on violations, the suspension can last anywhere from 180 days to a few years, or for forever if it has been your third OUI or more.
The court finding you not guilty or dismissing your case leads to you getting back driving privileges. Otherwise, you have 15 days in which to obtain a hearing with the Registry of Motor Vehicles to challenge the suspension.