What happens if you’re stopped for speeding and the officer finds out you’ve been drinking underrage but only charges you with driving without a license?

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What happens if you’re stopped for speeding and the officer finds out you’ve been drinking underrage but only charges you with driving without a license?

Last night I got pulled over for what I believe was speeding. I’m 19 and I couldn’t have been going over the speed limit by more than 10 mph but I believe it was less. They smelled alcohol on me and made me do field sobriety tests, which I passed, except for the one where you follow the officers pen with your eyes. I had half a bottle of wine in my car. When I got to the county jail I blew .04 grams per 210 L of beath which the officer said was so low he wouldn’t charge me with an OUI. He ended up charging me with driving without a license because apparently it get suspended automatically?

Asked on June 18, 2012 under Criminal Law, Maine

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

He should have charged you with underage drinking, not driving without a license.... but.... if this is the worst that it gets, you're in pretty good shape.  Better to have a traffic citation on your record that an MIP charge.  Keep in mind, however, that the officer has until the statute of limitations runs to file any charges, so try to avoid any new arrests for a while.  As far as the driving while licenses suspended charge goes, you may want to hire an attorney to look into this for you.  If you had a license while you were driving, then you can't be convicted of DWLS.  You're catch 22 is, however, the officer may realize the mistake and change the charge.  So have someone look into it and how it's going to actually be charged-- but be careful not to raise to big of a stink that could backfire on you. 


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