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George W. Bush DUI Arrest Record

Bush Drunk Driving Summary

This is the 1976 Maine police document recording the arrest of George W. Bushfor driving under the influence of alcohol.

Bush, who was 30 at the time, was popped over the Labor Day weekend near his family’s Kennebunkport summer home. Bush pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor DUI charge, paid a $150 fine, and had his driving privileges briefly revoked in the state of Maine.

The arrest record card was released November 2 by Kennebunkport police. The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles also released this summary of Bush’s DUI conviction. (2 pages)

Not to be outdone, Dick Cheney has two drunk driving busts on his record.

Yes, we’ve all got questions about George W. Bush’s 1976 drunk driving arrest. But the Bush campaign isn’t really answering them (at least not yet), while the silence of the Gore campaign is deafening. So we’ve decided to cut through the spin and go behind the scenes for a few technical pointers on Maine driving laws. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about drunk driving arrests (or have at least wondered about in the past 24 hours).

What’s the difference between a DWI, a DUI and an OUI?

There’s absolutely no difference. Maine happens to use the term “Operating Under the Influence,” or OUI, but other states use DUI or DWI. They all mean the same thing.

Is drunk driving a felony or misdemeanor in Maine?

These days, your fourth OUI conviction in a 10-year period is considered a felony. Back in 1976, drunk driving was considered a misdemeanor into infinity — unless there was an accident, which could elevate the charge.

What was the penalty for an OUI arrest in 1976?

George W. Bush paid a $150 fine and his license was suspended for 30 days. Because Bush carried an out-of-state driver’s license (his address was recorded as Midland, Tex.), the suspension carried weight only in Maine. In other words, Bush could have had someone drive him to the state line, hop in the driver’s seat and tool off (legally) into the sunset.

These days, the penalties are stiffer, and most states adhere to an agreement providing reciprocity: A license suspension in Maine, for example, would carry over into Texas.

Has the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) changed since 1976?

In 1976, when Bush was arrested, the legal limit had just been lowered from .15 to .10. Bush’s BAC reportedly measured .10.

Today’s law puts the limit at .08. If you’re arrested and have a BAC between .08 and .15, you’re issued a standard DUI charge. If your BAC goes above .15, you’re stuck with mandatory jail time.

Can a drunk driving arrest be expunged from your record?

Back in ’76, OUI charges were removed from the driver’s record six years after the offense occurred.

Within the first 10 years after the arrest, a driver’s record shows a drunk driving conviction, with various details. After 10 years, a record will only show a past violation, without details. A casual observer wouldn’t be able to pick out a drunk driving conviction by glancing over a 24-year-old arrest record. You have to know what you’re looking for.

Thanks to State Trooper Lt. Theodore Short of York County, Maine (where Kennebunkport is located).

(How many times was he detained for drinking and driving before they were finally forced to arrest him?)

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