Drunk driving laws were enacted nationwide to discourage operating under the influence (OUI in Maine, but commonly referred to as driving under the influence or DUI, or driving while intoxicated or DWI in other jurisdictions) and hopefully reduce the number of people injured or killed in such accidents. Despite the possible criminal penalties people face for DUI convictions, many individuals still get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol and some occasionally are responsible for devastating crashes.
When a person suffers serious injuries or a loved one is killed as the result of a drunk driver, the victim can be entitled to compensation for various financial damages arising from the accident. It is important to note that OUI is a criminal offense that is completely separate from these civil claims, and victims can still receive monetary awards even if the driver is not convicted of drunk driving.
Maine Drunk Driving Laws
Maine Revised Statute Title 29-A Section 2411.1-A.A establishes that a person commits OUI if that person operates a motor vehicle:
- While under the influence of intoxicants; or
- While having an alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath.
Under state law, drivers who are arrested for OUI can be considered legally negligent because they violate the expected duty of care by failing to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. Such negligence also makes a driver convicted of drunk driving liable for any injuries victims suffered as a result of the violation.
Dram Shop Laws in Maine
Another important aspect to a drunk driving accident concerns the location at which the driver became intoxicated. Title 28-A, Chapter 100 of the Maine Revised Statutes is known as the “Maine Liquor Liability Act,” which is the state’s “dram shop law.”
Numerous states have dram shop laws, named after the units alcohol was sold in at establishments in 18th-century England. Under the Liquor Liability Act, an establishment could also be liable for a victim’s injuries in a drunk driving crash if the business negligently or recklessly served alcohol to the drunk driver.
The law applies not only to vendors (licensees), but also social hosts (non-licensees). Maine’s dram shop law is applicable when a server negligently or recklessly serves alcohol to:
- A minor (person under 21 years of age); or
- A visibly intoxicated individual.
Maine Revised Statute Title 28-A Section 2506.3 defines negligent conduct as serving alcohol to a minor or to an intoxicated individual if the server or a “reasonable and prudent person in similar circumstances” would know that the person being served is a minor or is visibly intoxicated. Reckless conduct is defined under Maine Revised Statute Title 28-A Section 2507.3 as intentionally serving alcohol to a person when the server knows that the person being served is a minor or is visibly intoxicated and consciously disregards the “obvious and substantial risk” that the service of alcohol will cause physical harm to the person being served or any other party.”
Maine Revised Statute Title 28-A Section 2513 also establishes that any plaintiff seeking damages under the Liquor Liability Act is required to give written notice to all defendants within 180 days of the date of the conduct that created liability under the Act.
Find a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Maine
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle crash caused by a drunk driver, it is in your best interest to contact Need an Injury Attorney Maine as soon as possible. Our personal injury lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your case and work to hold all negligent parties accountable.
Our firm will provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, no obligation consultation.