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“ After having a consult with Steve, I quickly realized he was the attorney I needed on my side. His presence in the courtroom is unmatched and his straightforward personality never left me with uncertainty. My family and I are beyond pleased with the work he has done for us. “
“ Attorney Smith has represented me in the past and I would not hesitate to hire him again if I need an attorney. He is no-nonsense with a lot of experience who tells you like it is and does not waste time or your money. I definitely recommend him. “
“ I hired Steve after speaking with roughly 4 other attorneys. He didn't mince words, was straight to the point, and told me what to expect. He was spot on. I was happy with the result of my case and while I hope I don't ever need an attorney again, I would most certainly hire Steve to assist me and would recommend him to any family and friends. He isn't flashy, showy or self-praising like some others in the area. Very appreciative of that. “
“ Steve Smith is a very knowledgeable, straightforward and experienced attorney who is also very easy to work with. “
Homicide is when a person causes the death of another person. Homicide is divided into three categories:
A person is guilty of murder the person:
Any death that is caused during the commission of, or during the attempt to commit, a felony, is considered Felony Murder. The necessary mental state of malice aforethought can be implied from the intent to commit the underlying felony.
In Maine, a person is guilty of Felony Murder if a death occurs during the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from one of the following. And the death is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the commission, attempt, or flight:
Voluntary Manslaughter is when the killing would be murder but for the existence of adequate provocation. Involuntary Manslaughter is a killing committed with criminal negligence.
A person is guilty of manslaughter if that person:
Kidnapping & Criminal Restraint are crimes that involve restraining another person.
“Restrain” means to restrict substantially the movements of another person without the other person’s consent or other lawful authority by:
A person is guilty of kidnapping, if either:
“Hostage” means a person restrained with the tent that a third person, not the person restrained or the actor, perform or refrain from performing some act.
A person is guilty of Criminal Restraint if, knowing the actor has no legal right to do so, the actor intentionally or knowingly takes, retains, or entices another person who:
A person is guilty of Criminal Restraint by a Parent if, being the parent of a child and knowing the person has no legal right to do so, the person takes, retains, or entices the child:
A person commits OUI if that person:
Operating under the influence of intoxicants means that the operator has been impaired to the slightest degree. There are then two ways in which the state can prove you are operating under the influence of alcohol. The first is by means of test result, and the second is by means of observation of operation plus other evidence of alcohol intake.
A law enforcement officer may arrest, without a warrant, a person the officer has probable cause to believe has operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants if the arrest occurs within a period following the offense reasonably likely to result in obtaining probative evidence of an alcohol level or the presence of a drug or drug metabolite.
The penalties in Maine have just become much more severe for OUI primarily due to the license suspension period.
The following minimum penalties apply for a person having no previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period:
If you fail to submit to a test by refusing the breathalyzer or other testing which may be available, the jail sentence must be not less than 96 hours.
The following minimum penalties apply for a person having 1 previous OUI offense within a 10-year period:
The following minimum penalties apply for a person having 2 previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period:
A third OUI offense within a 10-year period is a Class C Crime, which is a felony.
The following minimum penalties apply for a person having 3 or more previous OUI offenses within a 10-year period:
Four or more OUI offenses within a 10-year period is a Class C Crime for which you can receive up to 5 years in jail and a substantial fine.
In addition to these penalties, under some circumstances involving serious bodily injury, the penalties can be substantially increased:
(1) a period of not less than 6 months;
(2) a fine of not less than $2,100; and
(3) a court-ordered license suspension of up to 6 years must be imposed.
Under certain circumstances, if the OUI causes a death, a sentence must include a period of incarceration of not less than 6 months, a fine of not less than $2,100 and a court-ordered suspension of a driver’s license for a period of 10 years.
Under additional circumstances, the Court must order an additional period of license suspension of 275 days for some people charged with OUI if the person who was operating the motor vehicle at the time of the offense with a passenger under 21 years of age.
All people convicted of an OUI must obtain a DEEP Course Certificate in order to reinstate their license.
Maine DEEP stands for the Maine Driver Education and Evaluation Program. It is administered by the Office of Substance Abuse of the Maine Department of Health & Human Services. If you have been charged with OUI, you must complete a Maine DEEP Course to get your license back after suspension. You must also obtain a DEEP Course Certificate to obtain your ignition interlock device.
It is important to understand that license suspensions do not end automatically. You must apply for reinstatement, pay the necessary fee, and provide the necessary DEEP Certificate.
It may be helpful to take the DEEP Course as soon as possible after having been charged. While you may have a successful outcome and obtain a not guilty verdict in your criminal case, it is always good to have a backup plan. It is unfortunate when clients ignore the DEEP Course until the last possible moment and have to obtain the certificate after their period of suspension has already passed, delaying their ability to drive beyond what the law would otherwise require.
DEEP Courses are offered at locations throughout the state. There are various levels of DEEP requirements.
The Risk Reduction Program is the most common Maine DEEP Course. This is a 20-hour program for adult OUI offenders. It commonly takes place on weekends.
The Under 21 Program is a 16-hour course designed for OUI offenders under the age of 21.
The Treatment Completion Program for High-Risk Offenders might require the offender to engage in one-on-one counseling with a certified substance abuse counselor. This level of DEEP Program is quite variable and is usually much more extensive than the above-referenced other levels.
You cannot use an old DEEP Course completion toward a new OUI. New OUIs require new DEEP Course certification. If your driver’s license is from another state, you still must take a DEEP Course. Under some circumstances, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles may accept completion of an out-of-state program, but you will need to confirm this before taking the course.
A work restricted driver’s license is available only under some circumstances. See 29-A §2503.
To obtain a Maine work restricted driver’s license, you must petition the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (“BMV”) clearly stating your need for a work license. You must then submit the petition, along with your Maine driver’s license and a $50 reinstatement fee. Work restricted licenses do not have any effect on the mandatory minimum license suspension time required by Maine if you are convicted of OUI. Work restricted licenses mean just that: you must only be driving to and from work.
A better alternative can be the use of the ignition interlock device.
Since 2013, Maine has allowed certain OUI offenders to get their license reinstated earlier than had been previously allowed. An ignition interlock device is essentially a mobile breathalyzer with certain safeguards which tie into your car’s ignition system. The device tests your blood alcohol level in a variety of ways before you can start the car and while you are driving the car to make sure you are not cheating the system.
The benefit of the ignition interlock device is that license suspension times can be dramatically decreased:
|OUI Offense||Mandatory Suspension Period||Ignition Interlock Device|
|1st||150 days||30 days|
|2nd||3 years||9 months|
|3rd||6 years||3 years|
Once you are charged with OUI, your case enters the criminal court process. At the end of that process, after either conviction or plea, the court will impose the appropriate license suspension.
What people do not understand or appreciate is that once you are charged with OUI, the officer will send his arrest records to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which will then begin a completely separate, parallel suspension process.
Shortly after your arrest, you will receive in the mail a letter from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This letter will be sent to the address on your driver’s license, and it will not be forwarded to any new addresses. If you have a new address which does not appear on your driver’s license, you need to take affirmative steps to make sure that a letter is sent to you showing the date your license will be suspended and your right to request a hearing.
Many people are pulled over and charged with the additional crime of Operating After Suspension (“OAS”) because they did not change the address on their license and, therefore, did not get the notice of suspension.
It is quite common that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles acts faster than the courts in scheduling a suspension hearing or requiring suspension of your license. You have a right to contest the Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ suspension. These hearings are very difficult and operate at a much lower evidentiary standard than is the case in criminal court.
If you acquiesce to the suspension or go to the hearing and lose, your license suspension began either on the day of the notice or the day of hearing if you lose. If you then go to criminal court and lose at trial or plea, the court imposes a separate suspension. You will get credit for the BMV suspension. In other words, you will not be suspended for two suspension periods. There may, however, be a short overlap between suspensions. If you have served your license suspension through the BMV process, the criminal court will still require you to surrender your license to be returned to the BMV to be reissued to you. This may take several days.
Click here to learn more about Bureau of Motor Vehicles OUI Hearings.
Most OUI charges are misdemeanors. Misdemeanors can be handled by your attorney through the mail by filing a special piece of paper telling the Court that your attorney has read you your rights. This can save you waiting around all morning or afternoon in court while the court calls name after name simply to make sure that you understand the charge and asking you how you plead.
Your attorney should be skilled at filing motions to suppress, motions in limine and other appropriate motions to keep evidence or to limit or shape certain types of evidence. As you can imagine, if evidence is kept out, it may affect how a jury or judge perceives your case. This is a subtle and complex area of law, and every case is different.
At some point, your case will typically be scheduled for a dispositional conference. A dispositional conference is a glorified name for a plea-bargaining session. You will arrive at the court with your attorney, you wait in the hallway or the courtroom, your attorney goes in the back room with the Judge and the prosecutor, they talk about your case. Your attorney will then come out, give you an offer, and give you the Judge’s take on that offer. You can then accept the offer, reject the offer, or make a counter-offer.
If you decide to accept the offer, your attorney should be able to work with the Court to manage any jail time. It is our practice (and the law) that the client ultimately chooses whether to accept or reject any plea offer.
At trial, the state goes first and bears the burden of proof. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each and every element of the offense.
In an OUI case, they must prove that you were operating under the influence. If the state has alleged a second offense, they must present proper paperwork showing that there was a first offense, and so on.
If the state does not meet their burden of proof, you win. You do not have to prove anything. Your defense lawyer can both attack the state’s case and present his own witnesses to rebut the state’s case. The defendant need not put on any case at all and may still win, because the defense lawyer shows that the state has not proven their case.
Potential defenses in an OUI are many and varied, and they are very fact dependent. You should discuss your trial strategy closely with your OUI Trial Lawyer.
The prosecution and defense of sex crimes is one of the most challenging and difficult areas of criminal law. From the prosecution perspective, the victims are very real, ranging from young children to vulnerable and abused men and women. The scars left by sexual assault are well-documented and well-understood by those who deal with the victims of these crimes on a daily basis. The commissions of such crimes echo through generations of families and perpetuate even more victimization years later. These crimes violate our most sacred sense of self and deserve close attention by the authorities charged with prosecuting these matters.
On the defense side, things are more doomist. The accused perpetrators of such crimes fall into more nuanced categories. There are certainly a huge percentage of people who actually commit the crime of which they are accused. Having listened to hundreds of such people, however, it is actually the rare defendant who is truly a predator. Often these situations involve alcohol, lowering normal inhibitions. Other defendants may be predators in a sense, but recognize their own depravity and struggle with it. Many defendants simply lack a mental capacity to fully grasp the nature of the offense.
Every defense lawyer knows that the cases that keep you up at night are the ones where you believe the defendant did not do it. Unfortunately, in the area of sex crimes, more than any other area of practice, people are falsely accused far more often than is credited.
The reasons for this are many and require “normal people” to set aside the rule of rationality in human affairs. The rule of children in sex crimes is such an area. A common pattern is one parent truly believes they are the better situation for the children of the relationship. They convince themselves and occasionally even the children that bad things have happened or could happen and that the other parent is so dangerous and so undesirable that either the ends justify the means or that they themselves truly believe that some event or act means that the other parent is some form of child predator. The use of sexual abuse allegations in child custody arrangements is grossly under-reported. In modern partlets, it simply does not fit the “narrative”.
There are a variety of crimes that are considered sex crimes or sexual assaults in the state of Maine:
If you are charged with a Sex Crime, a Criminal Defense Lawyer will help you understand your rights and defend you in Court.
A person is guilty of theft if the person obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another with the intent to deprive the other person of the property.
A person is can also be guilty of theft if the person knowingly operates an audiovisual or audio recording function of any device in a motion picture theater while a motion picture is being exhibited for the purpose of making a copy of the motion picture, without the written consent of the motion picture theater owner.
A person is guilty of theft by deception if the person obtains or exercises control over property of another as a result of deception and with the intent to deprive the other person of the property.
Deception occurs when a person intentionally:
A person is guilty of insurance theft if the person obtains or exercises control over property of another as a result of insurance deception and with an intent to deprive the other person of the property.
Insurance deception occurs when a person intentionally makes a misrepresentation or written false statement that the person does not believe to be true relating to a material fact to any person engaged in the business of insurance concerning any of the following:
A person is guilty of Theft by Extortion if the person obtains or exercises control over the property of another as a result of extortion and with the intent to deprive the other person of the property.
Extortion occurs when a person threatens to either:
A person is guilty of theft of services if the person obtains services by deception, threat, force, or any other means designed to avoid the due payment for the services that the person knows are available only for compensation.
A person is also guilty of theft of services if, having control over the disposition of services of another, to which the person knows the person is not entitled, the person diverts such services to the person’s own benefit or to the benefit of some other person who the person knows is not entitled to services.
A person is guilty of robbery if the person commits or attempts to commit theft and at the time of the person’s actions:
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