We assume that when someone’s conduct behind the wheel is so egregious they receive a “lifetime driving ban” that it means just that – they’ll no longer be able to lawfully drive. It turns out that it’s not so in Maine.
This was highlighted in a recent case out of Fairfield. There, a man previously from Skowhegan was convicted of drunk driving for a 1996 crash that killed three people and injured two others. For this crime, as part of his sentence, the judge imposed a lifelong ban on his driving privileges. That should have been the end of the story, but as it turns out, there is a loophole in Maine law. If a person’s driver’s license has been “permanently” revoked, they are still allowed to petition the court for reinstatement of that license if 10 years have passed since they were released from prison.
After this case was highlighted by the Press Herald, two lawmakers from central Maine who are members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee vowed to introduce a bill that would scrap that section of the law. In an interview, they noted it was “upsetting” that the word “permanent” doesn’t actually mean that under state law. They say there should be no chance for a driver like this one to appeal years after a judge ruled they should never be allowed to drive again.