Maine Habitual Offender Status

5 Things Everyone Should Know about Maine Habitual Offender Status

Maine has tough driving laws which can subject drivers to heavy fines if they violate the rules. You may already know something about Maine’s driving laws but you may have a few questions; for example, what does it mean to have Maine habitual offender status? Read on for a few answers to typical questions about this status. Let’s start with the basics.

How does Maine define an habitual offender?

The Motor Vehicles and Traffic laws under Title 29-A of the Maine Revised Statutes define an habitual offender as someone whose record shows that he has three or more convictions/adjudications within a 5 year period for the following offenses:

  • vehicular homicide;
  • operating under the influence;
  • driving in a way that endangers other people or property, including the driver and passenger;
  • driving on a revoked or suspended license under current law;
  • driving without a license;
  • driving after revocation under former laws;
  • making a false affidavit, or swearing to or falsely affirming any statement required under Title 29-A;
  • using a motor vehicle in any Class A, B, C, or D offense;
  • leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or death;
  • leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage;
  • evading an officer;
  • passing a roadblock;
  • driving 30 or more miles per hour above the maximum speed limit; and
  • for a person whose license the law reinstated, operating without or tampering with the ignition lock device;

OR

the person’s record shows that he has 10 or more convictions for moving violations in separate incidents within 5 years.

The offenses may result from former Title 29-A laws, federal law, another state’s laws, or municipal laws that follow the statute.

That seems pretty inclusive. Are there any traffic violations that do not invoke the habitual offender rules? Yes. The following violations do not trigger the habitual offender rules:

  • convictions for driving without a license if it is an expired license, not suspended or revoked;
  • conviction for driving on a suspended license if the suspension was for failure to pay child support;
  • operating on a suspended license if suspension was for failure to pay the license reinstatement fee; and
  • a traffic infraction adjudication for operating on suspended license, if the suspension was for failure to pay a fine, a reinstatement fee, or if the suspension was for a bad check.

What’s the penalty for being an habitual offender in Maine? The court can immediately¬† — without a preliminary hearing — revoke an habitual offender’s license. The license will stay revoked for at least 3 years. After 3 years, the habitual offender can petition the Secretary of State for a hearing to show cause why his license should not remain revoked.

What happens if I drive after the law revokes my license under the habitual offender rules? Don’t do it. The penalties are stiff and at some levels include imprisonment.

  • If you drive after revocation as an habitual offender, and you have not been convicted of driving after revocation or convicted of driving under the influence for the past 10 years, then you are guilty of a Class D crime which carries a minimum $500 fine and 30 days in jail. The judge cannot suspend either of those penalties.
  • If you drive after revocation as an habitual offender, and you have one revocation or conviction of driving under the influence in the past 10 years, then you are guilty of a Class C crime which carries a minimum penalty of $1,000 and a minimum of six months in jail. The judge cannot suspend either of those penalties.
  • If you drive after revocation as an habitual offender, and you have two revocations or two convictions for driving under the influence in the past 10 years, then you are guilty of a Class C crime which carries a minimum penalty of $1,000 and a minimum of nine months in jail. The court cannot suspend either of those penalties.
  • If you drive after revocation as an habitual offender, and you have three or more revocations or three or more convictions for driving under the influence in the past 10 years, then you are guilty of a Class C crime which this time carries a minimum penalty of $1,000 and a minimum of two years in jail. The court cannot suspend either of those penalties.

To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us. We are your resource for all your questions on Maine’s Habitual Offender rule.