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Maine laws on drunken driving then and now
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush said he told a Kennebunkport, Maine, police officer he had been drinking on September 4, 1976, when he was stopped for driving too slowly.
Police found that he had a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent and charged him with Operating Under the Influence (OUI), which is Maine's official term for drunken driving.
Bush pleaded guilty to OUI and was fined $150 and had his driving privileges revoked in Maine for 30 days.
"I think that's pretty much par for the course," said Matthew Nichols, a Maine attorney who specializes in drunken driving cases.
Maine strengthened its OUI laws in 1988, lowering the legal limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent, according to the state department of public safety.
President Clinton signed a law last month that would reduce federal highway funding to states that do not lower their legal limits. Currently, 31 states have a limit of 0.10 percent.
The punishments for drinking and driving have also increased in Maine.
First time offenders now have their licenses suspended for 90 days and do not have to serve any jail time, unless there are aggravating factors such as driving more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, trying to elude police or having a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher. If there are aggravating circumstances, the offender has to spend a minimum of 48 hours in jail.
There is also a fine of $400 for first time offenders, which is actually less than $150 Bush paid in 1976 when inflation is factored in. The U.S. Federal Reserve estimates that $150 in 1976 would be worth $453.43 today.
Bill Schneider on the presidential campaign
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
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