Maine prohibits driving without a valid license or driving with a suspended license. This article explains what constitutes a violation, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the license requirement.
Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a Maine public road must carry a valid license while doing so.
Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving is a class E crime, carrying a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum six months in jail. Driving without a license includes driving without ever having been issued a license, driving in violation of license restrictions, and failing to obtain an in-state license after 90 days of residency.
Infraction. Licensees with an expired license and new residents (who have been in-state for 30 to 90 days) with only an out-of-state license can be cited for an infraction. A traffic infraction in Maine can be penalized by a fine of $25 to $500 and/or license suspension.
Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver's licenses from their home state can drive in Maine without an in-state license, subject to Maine age restrictions for up to 30 days. Military personnel with active licenses are also exempt. Drivers who are operating a vehicle in a parking area under the supervision of a driver's education instructor are not required to have a driver's license.
A person who operates a vehicle while on a suspended or revoked license is subject to varying penalties including jail, fines, and extended license suspension.
Driving while suspended. Generally, driving while suspended or revoked is a class E crime. A first offense carries a fine of $250 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Any subsequent offense in a ten-year period will result in a $500 to $1,000 fine and up to six months jail.
Suspended for OUI. A violator whose license was suspended due to an impaired driving incident is guilty of a class E crime. The penalty for a conviction depends on the number of prior offenses the defendant has within the last ten years:
The secretary of state may also require two years with an ignition interlock device prior to license reinstatement.
Suspended for failure to pay. A driver whose license was suspended for failure to pay fines, pay reinstatement fees, or for a dishonored check can be cited for a traffic infraction, punishable by $25 to $500 in fines and license suspension.
Habitual Violator. A driver with three or more OUI, driving without a license, or driving while suspended convictions within five years is considered a habitual violator. Habitual violators are subject to immediate three-year license revocation and increased jail time for any subsequent offenses.