Maine Driver’s License Classes (A Complete Guide)

Maine Driver’s License Classes (A Complete Guide)

What is the difference between a Class C CDL and a Class C license?

Why are there three types of CDL classes? 

What can each one operate?

Can I drive a motorcycle with my regular driver’s license

So many questions…

…and the answers are found here. 

That’s right! Today, we’re going to give you a complete guide to the Maine driver’s license classes. We’ll detail what each class is used for. 

Plus, we’ll also give you the steps on how to apply for each license class. 

So are you ready?

Let’s begin!

What are the Driver’s License Classes in Maine?

There are five main(e) driver’s license classes. These are:

  • Class A CDL
  • Class B CDL
  • Class C CDL
  • Non-Commercial Class C 
  • Class M

The first three are commercial driver’s licenses, which means you need them if you earn a living through driving. The other two are non-commercial, so it’s for personal use.

Now, let’s detail each one. 

Class A CDL

A Class A CDL is for combination commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or heavier. The unit it tows should weigh more than 10,000 pounds.

Examples of Class A CMVs are semis and big rigs. 

Since this is the highest form of CDL, you can operate Class B and Class C CMVs, too, but you should have the right endorsement. 

Class B CDL

A Class B CDL is for straight CMVs that have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,0001 pounds or more. It may also tow units, but not exceeding 10,000 pounds. 

Examples of Class B CMVs are dump trucks, small trailers, straight trucks, and even city or tour buses. 

And yes, it can also operate Class C CMVs (with the right endorsement), but not Class A CMVs. 

Class C CDL

The last CDL class is Class C. This license type can operate combination or straight CMVs that weigh less than 26,0001 pounds. And if towing a unit, it should weigh less than 10,000 pounds. 

The most common examples of a Class C CDL are vehicles that can fit 16 or more passengers and trucks that haul hazardous materials. It is also what is used to operate farm machinery, military vehicles, etc. 

NOTE: you must have the right endorsements with a Class C CDL. 

Non-Commercial Class C

When people refer to a driver’s license, a non-commercial Class C is what they typically have in mind. You use it to operate a regular vehicle for personal use. So whether you have a sedan, an SUV, or a minivan, this is the license you have to carry.

Class M

A Class M license can operate a motorcycle. 

Keep in mind that Class M isn’t a license in and of itself. It is more of an endorsement, which means that you’ll have to add an “M” endorsement to any of your license classes. So there’s no need to get a new license altogether. 

How to Get Each License Class in Maine?

Okay, now that you know the difference between the Maine driver’s license classes, let’s get into the steps on how to get each one. 

How to Get a Non-Commercial Class C License in Maine

Let’s start with the most common type of driver’s license available — the non-commercial Class C license. 

To get this license type, you have to go through stages, namely:

  • Learner’s permit 
  • Intermediate/juvenile provisional license (for 15-20 years old only)
  • Class C license 

Don’t worry — we’ve outlined the steps for each stage. Let’s go through them one by one. 

How to Get a Learner’s Permit in Maine

To get a learner’s permit, you can start as early as 15 years old. 

Now, in some states, you are no longer required to get this permit once you reach a certain age. However, in Maine, no matter how old you are, you must always start with a permit. 

So here are the steps to getting a learner’s permit in Maine: 

  1. Take and complete a state-approved driver’s ed course (this is only required for teens aged 15-17 years old).
  1. Prepare the following documents: 
  1. Visit a local BMV branch and submit all the necessary documents.

NOTE: you can also mail your application and supporting documents to this address:

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Driver License Services Division

Examination Section

29 State House Station

Augusta, ME 43333-0029

  1. Pay the $35 fee.

NOTE: if you sent your application by mail, enclose a check or money order payable to the Secretary of State.

  1. Receive a BMV appointment schedule for your vision and knowledge test. If you have scheduling restrictions, ensure you indicate these when you submit your application, and the BMV will do its best to accommodate your request.
  1. During your appointment, pass the following tests:
    • Vision screening
    • Knowledge exam
  1. Receive your learner’s permit.

This permit will remain valid for 2 years. It’s best to start practicing your driving as you cannot renew the permit. You have to redo the entire process if you need a new one.

How to Get an Intermediate/Juvenile Provisional License in Maine

The next step is getting your intermediate or juvenile provisional license. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Have your permit for at least 6 months.
  1. Be at least 16 years old. 
  1. Earn the required 70-hour behind-the-wheel practice (remember, 10 hours has to be done at night) and have a qualified adult fill out a driving log
  1. Send in your complete driving log to the address below:

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles

29 State House Station

Augusta, ME 04333-0029

  1. The BMV will let you know where and when you’ll take your driving test. It is typically in the area nearest to you.
  1. During your road test, bring the following with you: 
    • Your learner’s permit
    • Your appointment notice
    • The vehicle you’ll use for the driving test
    • The vehicle’s registration, auto insurance policy, and inspection sticker/card
  1. Pass the road test 
  1. Receive your intermediate/juvenile provisional license. 

Having an intermediate license means you can start driving without a chaperone. However, there are still restrictions on your driving privileges. These include:

  • You can only operate a vehicle between 5:00 am and 12:00 midnight
  • You cannot have passengers except if they are immediate family members (this does not apply if you are with a 2-year licensed driver at least 20 years old)
  • You are not allowed to use a mobile phone while behind the wheel

How to Get a Class C License in Maine 

Earning a Class C license when holding an intermediate one is almost effortless. 

First, ensure you didn’t violate any of the restrictions. 

Second, your license restrictions will be lifted after 270 days.

Third, make sure you don’t have any moving violations to avoid license suspension. 

Fourth, once you turn 21 years old, simply renew your juvenile provisional license to a Class C license. 

If you’re getting your first license and you’re already 21+ years old, the process of getting a Class C license is much shorter. 

Of course, you will still need to get a learner’s permit. However, you can hold it for as long as you like — whether that’s 1 day or the full 2 years. 

After that, scheduling a road test is also the same. However, instead of submitting a driving log (this is no longer required if you’re at least 21 years old), you must submit the road rest request card found on the reverse side of your permit. 

And the other difference is that, once you pass the road test, you will be given a provisional license that you must hold for 1 year. With this license, any moving violation will lead to an instant suspension. 

Once the 1 year has passed, you can renew it and get a full, Class C license. 

If you want even more information, check out our article titled “Maine Driver’s License Requirements” 

How to Get a Class A, B, and C CDL in Maine

No matter what CDL class you get, the steps are the same. 

This time, you’ll have to go through two stages: 

  • Commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL)

Let’s get into the details. 

How to Get a CLP in Maine

Just like a regular driver’s license, you first need a permit to practice how to operate the CMV of your choice. 

Here now are the steps to getting your CLP:

  1. Ensure that you’re eligible for a CDL.
  1. Figure out which CDL class and endorsement(s) you need.
  1. Go to your local BMV branch and submit the following: 
  1. Pass the following tests:
    • Vision screening
    • CDL knowledge exam(s)
  1. Pay the $70 examination fee. If you get an endorsement(s), it will cost an additional $20 each. 
  1. Get your CLP.

How to Get a CDL in Maine 

And here is how to get your official CDL in Maine:

  1. Complete an FMCSA-approved Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program if you are:
    • A first-time applicant for a Class A or Class B CDL 
    • A first-time applicant for a P, S, or X endorsement
    • Upgrading your CDL from a Class B to a Class A
  1. Schedule the skills portion of your CDL exam by sending the CDL skills test request card (found in your CLP) to:

            Maine Office of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles

            29 State House Station

            Augusta, ME 04333-0029

  1. Pass the CDL skills test. 
  1. Pay the $34 CDL fee. 
  1. Get your CDL. 

For more details, check out our “Maine CDL Requirements” article. 

How to Get a Class M License in Maine

Even though this is just an endorsement added to your driver’s license, you still need to get a permit for it, too. 

How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in Maine

Here are the steps to getting an M permit in Maine:

  1. Be at least 16 years old.
  1. Complete a Basic Rider Course and pass the written and driving exams at the end of the program.

NOTE: Passing the written test qualifies you for a permit. You may also receive a skills test waiver upon passing the driving exam.

  1. Prepare the following documents:
    • Two documents confirming your identity
    • One document proving your citizenship or legal status in the U.S.
    • One document showing your residency in Maine
    • Your Basic Rider Course Skills Test Waiver (if you received one)
  1. Apply for a permit at a local BMV office. To do this you must:
    • Submit the required documents
    • Pass a vision screening
    • Pay the $35 fee
  1. Receive your motorcycle permit. It is valid for 2 years. 

NOTE: You cannot have passengers while carrying a motorcycle permit.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Maine

After completing the Basic Rider Course, you can already get your M endorsement if you receive a skills test waiver. However, remember that you cannot carry passengers for 60 days after the BMV issues it.

What if you didn’t get a waiver? Here’s what you should do:

  1. Send your road test card to the BMV. They will give you a schedule.
  1. Pass the road rest with the BMV.
  1. Receive your motorcycle license/endorsement.

The Wrap Up

And that concludes your complete guide to the Maine driver’s license classes. 

So now that you know the differences between the license classes, you will know exactly which one you need. 

From there, you can look at the steps to obtaining it. 

Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *