A driver’s license is both a privilege and a huge responsibility.
That said, not all driver’s licenses are the same. In different states, laws specify different license classes, which determine the type of vehicle you can operate.
Today, we will give you a guide to Maine driver’s license classifications. Plus, we’ll include the requirements you need for each license type.
So let’s get started!
Driver’s License Classes in Maine
Compared to other states, Maine has simple driver’s license classifications. The state only has three license types:
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
Let’s look into each class.
Class A (Commercial)
A Class A license permits the operation of a combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001lbs or more. The gross weight of the vehicle being towed should be over 10,000lbs.
Class B (Commercial)
A Class B license allows the operation of a single motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001lbs or more. As for the gross weight of the vehicle being towed, it should be no more than 10,000lbs.
Class C is the standard license in Maine, which allows the operation of any single motor vehicle that does not meet the definition of vehicles covered by Classes A and B.
So this is the license you use to drive a personal vehicle.
A Class C license may also be a CDL if the vehicle transports hazardous materials, provided the operator has appropriate endorsements.
Motorcycle License (Endorsement)
In some states, there is a specific license class for motorcycles. In Maine, you only need to get an endorsement.
You need this motorcycle endorsement if you plan on driving a motorized scooter or motorcycle. As for mopeds, you don’t need this endorsement, a Class C license alone is allowed to operate it.
How to Get A Class C Driver’s License in Maine
The state of Maine follows a graduated licensing system for new drivers under 18 years old. The purpose of this law is to teach newbie drivers at a young age so they can gain adequate driving knowledge and experience before they receive their full, unrestricted licenses.
The graduated licensing system includes:
- A learner’s permit
- A Class C license
Applying for a Learner’s Permit
15 years olds can begin the driver’s license process by securing a learner’s permit, which will allow you to practice driving, subject to restrictions.
Below are the requirements for obtaining a learner’s permit:
- Application form
- Two forms of identification
- Proof of residency
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s ed completion certificate
- $35 application fee
You can submit your application in person at your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMW) branch, or mail it to:
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Driver License Services Division
29 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0029
The BMV will process your application and schedule you for a written test. On the day of your written test appointment, you may take a required vision test at no charge. However, you may also have your doctor provide the exam, at your expense.
The learner’s permit will allow you to drive under the supervision of a licensed driver who is at least 20 years old and has held a license for at least two years.
Learner’s permits are valid for two years. You cannot renew the permit, but upon expiration, you can apply for a full, unrestricted license.
Applying for a Class C License
In Maine, you can apply for a Class C driver’s license if:
- You are at least 16 years old and have completed an approved driver’s ed course.
- You have not completed a driver’s ed program, but you are at least 18 years old.
- You are under 21 years old and have held a learner’s permit for at least six months from the date of issue and have completed 70 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours done at nighttime.
If you checked all those boxes, you then have to pass a road test at a testing location near you.
If at the time of issuance of your license, you are under 18 years old, you will be subject to the following restrictions:
- You cannot drive while using a mobile phone.
- You cannot drive between 12 AM and 5 AM.
- You cannot transport passengers unrelated to you unless you are accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 20 years old and has possessed a valid license for two years.
How to Get A Commercial Driver’s License in Maine
To be eligible for a commercial license (Class A or B) in Maine, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are at least 16 years old. You need to be at least 21 to drive outside Maine.
- You possess a valid Class C license.
- You must provide proof of US residency or be a lawfully permitted alien.
- You must self-certify that you are physically fit to drive that vehicle you will operate. You will also need to provide a Medical Examiner’s Certificate issued by a doctor who is approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Before you can take the CDL skills test, however, you will need to secure a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) first.
To obtain a CLP, you must pass the written exams for the CDL classification you are applying for, as well as the vision test.
Upon passing the tests, you will receive your CLP and a skills test request card, which you will then need to schedule your CDL appointment.
To prepare for your CDL skills test, make sure you read the state’s CDL manual.
How to Get A Motorcycle Endorsement in Maine
You are welcome to drive a motorcycle in Maine if:
- You are a resident of the state with a valid motorcycle endorsement
- Non-residents with a motorcycle license from their state or country of residence
- Those who are at least 16 years old who hold a permit from another state or country
Note: per Maine law, if you are moving to Maine from another state (except Alabama) and already have your motorcycle license/endorsement, you must transfer your credentials into a Maine license within 30 days of becoming a resident.
To be eligible for a motorcycle endorsement, you must complete a hands-on basic rider course to first earn your motorcycle permit and then your endorsement.
As with the provisions required for other motor vehicle licenses, you must:
- Pass a vision test.
- Complete a basic driver education course (if you are 16 to 18 years of age)
- Enroll in a motorcycle safety course
Once you complete the Basic Rider Course (if you do not qualify for a road test waiver) you will be issued a permit (valid for 2 years) from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles upon showing a course completion certificate.
You will then be given a postcard to send in to schedule a road test. You need to pass this test to get your motorcycle endorsement.
If you fail to pass the first road test, a fee of $35 is required for subsequent tests. If you fail to take the road test within two years, you will be required to retake the Basic Rider Course to complete the licensing process.
Who is not required to obtain a driver’s license in Maine?
- Any military personnel who possess a valid military license operating a military vehicle
- Any non-resident who is at least 16 years old who possess an operator’s license or learner’s permit issued in their home state
- Any resident who holds a learner’s permit so long as they are accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 20 years old and has held a license for at least 2 years
Can I take online driver’s ed classes in Maine?
The state of Maine has not yet approved the use of online driver’s education.
However, you can still take an online driver’s ed program for educational purposes or if you wish to qualify for an auto insurance discount.
We recommend DriversEd.com for your online driver education needs.
DriversEd.com’s course work is highly interactive and features a combination of multimedia elements such as videos, animations, and games. This makes learning fun and interesting. Its courses are also affordable, and fees start at around $24.
What are the requirements for transferring an out-of-state license to Maine?
If you are 16 or 17 years of age with a valid out-of-state license, you may need to submit a driver education completion certificate before a Maine license is issued to you. You will also need to surrender your current out-of-state license.
Compared to other states, Maine’s license classes are pretty straightforward.
Now that you know which license class you need to apply for, keep in mind the requirements you need to obtain that license.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles here.