Articles Posted in criminal-defense

By Webb Law Firm, With Law Offices Near Me in Portland Maine and Saco ME

No other nation except the United States has the Fourth Amendment protections that require a police officer to have information of a crime having been committed before “seizing” a person. When a driver is on the highway, the act of a government law officer seizing that person happens by signaling with emergency lights, using siren or even hand signals, to pull over.

Since the US Supreme Court clarified the issue in 1961, in Mapp v. Ohio, the federal constitutional rule applies to but state and federal officers. Many of the nation’s best criminal cases have been appeals from DUI-OUI arrests made after an officer acted on a hunch, and did not have reasonable suspicion.

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Written by Intern Nicole Williamson, UMaine Law

It’s that time of year again, and alcohol plays as big a part in the festivities of the season as stockings and candy canes. But before you get boozy celebrating the end of 2020 (finally!) you should make sure you have a designated driver or alternative travel plans. Every year, Maine sees an uptick in OUI arrests during the holiday season. The best way to avoid an OUI is, of course, to avoid drinking and driving. Still, even folks who have the best intentions can get caught up in the holiday spirit and end up buzzed behind the wheel.

I Got Pulled Over…Now What?    

IMG_1864-300x200You may feel as though your privacy is being violated if your neighbor installs a security camera which—inadvertently or otherwise—captures activity in your yard. Yet there are no laws in Maine which prevent a person from installing cameras pointing outwards from their own property.

The law does not treat your backyard or the outside of your home as spaces where you have the reasonable expectation of privacy. Your neighbor is allowed to visually record you in these spaces for the same reason that Google can take satellite images of your land.

If you find yourself in this situation and are uncomfortable, you may try speaking with your neighbor or installing something on your own property to block the camera’s view. These solutions are of course more likely to be effective if your neighbor is well intentioned and your property simply appears in the background of their recording.

police-sirens-300x201By: Webb Law Intern Ronahn Clarke

OUI roadblocks are checkpoints where police officers stop every vehicle—or a certain number of vehicles at random—to search for intoxicated drivers. They appear more frequently around holidays.

 
Are OUI Roadblocks Constitutional?

IMG_1832x-286x300In Maine, your income makes no difference in how much your ticket will cost. The fine scale is predetermined and applies evenly to everyone, which seems reasonable. But is it really fair? That all depends on who you are and how much money you make. For some, a speeding ticket could be devastating and for others, it could be nothing more than a slight annoyance.

Lets say that you are driving on the interstate with a speed limit of 60MPH and you get a ticket for going 75MPH. The cost for this tickets will likely be around $200. According to datausa.io, the median household income in Maine is around $55,000 a year. That means that this ticket would be 4.36% of your household income for the month. This would perhaps be a difficult hit, but at the end of the day, would not be the end of the world. It would probably be a good incentive to be more careful and to drive slower in the future. This is exactly the hope of the law makers who set the fee scale for the ticket.

But now lets say that the NFL commissioner gets the same $200 ticket while he is at vacation house in Maine. His income, according to USA Today, is around $40,000,000 a year. That would mean the same ticket would be 0.006% of his monthly income. That type of punishment would be the equivalent of the person making $55,000 a year getting a ticket for around 28 Cents. Is there really any incentive there to follow the speed limit? There are other penalties such as possible license suspension that come with enough points on your license. But if your income is high enough, paying a driver a full time salary would be a realistic option. That is obviously not an alternative for the average Mainer.

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Temporary order

The first thing you need to be aware of is if there is a temporary order in place when you are served the order. A temporary protection order takes effect as soon as it is signed by a judge. However, the defendant must have actual notice of the temporary order, or have been served with the order, in order to be charged with a crime for violating it. Even if you feel that the allegations are false and the case is eventually found in your favor, the temporary order still must be respected or you could face criminal charges. For example, if the temporary order prohibits you from entering a home you shared with the plaintiff, you will be charged with a crime if you enter the house, even if the plaintiff has invited you. Violation of a temporary protection order is a Class D crime that carries penalties of up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Difference between harassment and abuse order

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After getting an OUI/DUI in Maine, there is often lots of questions that may come into your mind.  Most of them have answers that can be found.  One that is much harder to track down is the costs and fees that come from an OUI in Maine.

Court Costs

A first offense OUI is a Class D crime, which has a maximum jail sentence of 364 days, and a maximum fine of $2,000.  The mandatory minimum penalties are a fine of $500, plus court fees. Court costs often change due to added surcharges which are 20% or more of the actual fine amount, therefore the $500 fine really ends up being closer to $650. If you refused to submit to a test, you will then face a mandatory minimum fine of $600 plus the 20% or more  surcharge so the fine would be around $785.

IMG_1864-300x200What should I do first?

You should call a lawyer right away. If you have not been arrested but think you might be soon, your lawyer could set up an arrangement to allow you to turn yourself in rather than have the PD show up to your house or even your job. If the PD is reaching out to you to get your side of the story, you should not speak to them without a lawyer present. This may be your chance to give your side of the story, but it is more likely that things will only get worse after this interview.

What should I do to help my case?

Maine’s Move Over Law: Safety for Police Officers and Safety for You

Saco and Portland Maine Criminal Lawyer Katherine Campbell

By: Maine Criminal Defense Attorney Katherine M. Campbell

It is well known that when you see an emergency vehicle driving up behind you with its lights or siren activated, you pull over. But one important law that many motorists fail to follow is Maine’s “Move Over” law which also requires you to move over when an emergency vehicle is stationary on the side of the road.

You’ve been stopped and arrested for Operating Under the Influence of alcohol (OUI/DUI/DWI). You posted bail, and now you’re home. You’re terrified and have no idea where things go from here. All you did was drive your motor vehicle! You cannot believe you got a first offense DUI in Maine. At work everyone asks, “A drunk driving charge? Is this your first OUI?”

What were your test results? Blood alcohol level? Breath test? Blood test? Refusal? What are the first offense OUI penalties? If this summons for OUI/DUI/DWI is a subsequent offense to other significant driving convictions, we’ll be discussing them in a future blog. But for now, let’s take a minute and talk about the Maine first DUI.

When you are charged with a first offense in Maine, you actually have two cases going on at the same time. I try to get clients to visualize two trains on parallel tracks leaving the station together. On one track you have the court (the judge, the clerks, the DA’s Office), and on the other track you have the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. In most cases, long before the arraignment date for your court case (Plead not guilty!), the Bureau of Motor Vehicles BMV (also commonly known as “DMV”) will send you a Notice of Suspension. This is where we discuss loss of license. If you have not contacted a law firm at this point, you should do so now.

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