Articles Posted in Maine Criminal Law

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.

police-search-768x512-1-300x200What is an illegal stop?

If the police illegally stop you, then there is a chance your case could be thrown out! The problem is that the police can stop you for so many things. In order for a stop to be legal, the police only need articulable suspicion that a crime or traffic infraction has occurred. That means the list of reasons the police can use to justify a stop is very long. You can be stopped for anything from improper tinted windows to driving one mile per hour over the speed limit.

Once you are stopped for any legal reason, if the officer finds more evidence of a totally different crime, such as an odor of alcohol or slurred speech, then the investigation can turn into something completely separate from the reason for the stop. You could be stopped for going 5 miles per hour over the speed limit and then it could turn into a drinking and driving investigation.

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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

best-criminal-lawyer-400x284-1-300x213What Charges Affect Student Loans?

If you have been charged with a violation, you are probably wondering where else this charge may affect you, other than with the law. One area that you may be affected is through schooling. If you are incarcerated, you would have limited eligibility for the federal student aid program. But once you are released, many of those limitations are removed. There are, however, a few charges that limit your aid eligibility even after being released.

If you are receiving or applying for federal student aid, there is a chance that past criminal charges may affect you. For instance, the FAFSA, a form used by many college students to apply for federal financial aid for college or graduate school, will ask whether you have had a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while receiving aid. If your answer to this question is “yes,” you will be provided with a worksheet to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. This does not necessarily mean that you are entirely ineligible to receive federal funding, but it may mean that you are ineligible for a certain period of time.

dui_seminar-300x225When will I get the report?

Many people put in requests for their police reports and expect them within a few days of their arrest. Even though they are YOUR reports, it is unrealistic for the officer and the PD to get them out to you that quickly. You will most likely not get any reports until your first court date when you have your arraignment. Unfortunately, this is often several weeks and sometimes up to two months after your arrest.

How should I read the report?

Maine Attorney John Webb

Disclaimer: Welcome to the Webb Law Firm OUI Podcast. This podcast does not create an attorney – client relationship. You will not become a client until a written contract is agreed to between the host and listener. This podcast conveys only general legal information. Every legal situation is different due to changing laws and the facts of the case. If you have a question, do not hesitate to call us at (207) 283-6400.

SO TODAY we’re going to have a general discussion about arraignments. Just to review, in Maine, class A, B, & C crimes are felony crimes that are punishable by a year or more in prison. Class D & E crimes are punishable up to 364 days in prison and are misdemeanors. Felony crimes include but are not limited to Aggravated Assault, Gross Sexual Assault, Arson, and Manslaughter, just to name a few. Misdemeanors are Domestic Violence Assault, Operating Under the Influence, “Simple” Assault, Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, and the like.

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