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Driving to Endanger Maine

In some states, driving recklessly can be defined as strictly as going 11 MPH over the limit. In Maine, the nomenclature used for “reckless driving” is “driving to endanger” and for better or worse, the restricts aren’t so well defined. The problem with being arrested for driving to endanger in Maine is that it’s up to the discretion of the office.

One of the biggest problems with our criminal justice system is that people are often wrongly arrested. Once people are sent to court, even when innocent, they struggle to prove their lack of culpability, often without a lawyer. People who go unrepresented lose more often than people with attorneys, by a larger margin.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving to endanger in Maine, you should consider hiring a lawyer. Here are 5 reasons why you should seek out representation.

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Self Defense Laws

Using deadly force to protect yourself is a last resort nobody wants to imagine themselves having to use.

Unfortunately, it happens every day, and the law won’t always protect you for choosing this option.

Often, people will defend themselves with deadly force, and then claim they thought some other state’s laws applied to them. Or learn, to their surprise, that their own state’s laws don’t cover what happened to them.

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Updated May 7, 2021 by John Webb, Super Lawyer and OUI-DUI Defense Lawyer for Over 28 Years

John Scott Webb
Is OUI a felony or is impaired driving a misdemean9r in Maine? When cuffed and taken to jail on a Maine OUI laws first offense, many people ask, “Is driving under the influence a felony?” Unless death or serious injury occurred (while driving drunk or on drugs) in an OUI accident, then it is a misdemeanor.

In addition to discussing our state’s Maine DUI laws, this article touches on the Maine OUI process, what does OUI mean, and the license suspension impact that occurs in conjunction with OUI arrests in Maine. Luckily, under Maine OUI laws, first offense OUI offenders face the most reasonable conviction penalties (usually no more jail time. smaller court fines, shorter probation periods, and shorter suspended driver’s license consequences).

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Perhaps you’ve read about the Tommy Clark case. If you haven’t, don’t worry. It’s a case everyone’s familiar with — hit and run.

The long and short of it is Tommy Clark, an Industry man hit a woman named Taylor Gaboury as she was walking on U.S. Route 2. He left the scene, getting a sentence of seven years in prison.

After an Accident

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The traditional justification for instigating a search of automobile occupants has – according to the Massachusetts Supreme Court – just gone up in smoke.

Recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Cruz , SJC Case Number SJC-10738, that the odor of marijuana alone does not suffice to establish probable cause or reasonable suspicion enough to order the occupants of a car to get out for a search. In Cruz’ case, the police smelled burnt marijuana, which then prompted them to interrogate and search Cruz. The search yielded marijuana and crack cocaine. Cruz was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute within a school zone. Cruz challenged the evidence in a motion to suppress evidence that was allowed. The case then reached the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on appeal. The Court’s ruling should eliminate the “burnt marijuana” exit orders that frequently turn into drug or OUI cases.

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Now that we’re nearing the end of April, many high school students are gearing up for prom season. Unfortunately, this annual event is also too often the harbinger of underage drinking and, as a result, criminal liability. Under Maine Title 28-A, possession, consumption or purchase of alcohol by a minor can fetch up to $400 in fines (assuming a first offense). If a minor is found illegally transporting alcohol, they can face a fine up to $500 as well as the suspension of their license for 30 days (again assuming a first offense). Lastly, a minor found to have any alcohol at all in their bloodstream while driving can have their license suspended for a year if alone and two and a half years if they have a passenger under 21 in the car, and can face even harsher punitive action if above a .08 BAC. Refusal to take a BAC test will result in the mandatory suspension of the minor’s license for a year and a half. This all goes to show two things: first, if you’re a minor, don’t drink. Second: if you have been arrested for any of the above crimes or infractions, it is 100% imperative that you get the best legal representation available. Being found guilty of any of these crimes could have a far-reaching and long-lasting negative impact on your life (or, at very least, on your summer plans).

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Nationally known New Hampshire DWI Defense Attorney Mark Stevens (http://www.byebyedwi.com) invited me to appear this last week on his radio show “Lawyer UP”, heard every Thursday morning at 9 a.m. on WCCM, AM 1110 (http://www.1110wccmam.com). It was Mark’s (@ByeByeDWI) first show, and I was honored to be his first guest on the inaugural episode. I hadn’t been on a shakedown cruise since my Maine Maritime days! Mark invited me on to discuss the 4th Amendment implications of a proposed new bill in New Hampshire (House Bill 546) that bans driving with a cell phone in your hand, and allows the police to do a warrantless search of your phone if charged, to confirm the time of the call.

This proposed bill is square in the middle of the ongoing erosion of our privacy rights in this country. From here to California, laws are being written that leave the 4th Amendment frayed in the wind of digitization. While Ohio has decided that 4th Amendment protection extends to cell phones seized by police, California just recently ruled that a cell phone is no different from a piece of clothing and is subject to a search incident to arrest. This type of split should set up an epic showdown in the United States Supreme Court in the near future. The New Hampshire proposed bill is also ripe for a vagueness challenge in its current form; in hand? Near ear? Cradled in my 2nd chin? On vibrate…..anyway, thanks again to Mark for the opportunity. Stay tuned, there is more to come!! CALL NICHOLS, WEBB & LORANGER @ 207-283-6400 if you have questions about a criminal case or need an employment attorney, offices in Portland & Saco, Maine.

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Last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, overturned the District Court’s denial of the Defendant’s motion to suppress and held that the use of a GPS device to track the Defendant’s automobile for a month without a warrant was an unreasonable search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment and required a warrant. (See: U.S. v. Maynard, D.C. Cir., 08-3030, Aug. 6, 2010). In that case, as I discussed in my Blog last week (Automated License Plate Readers – The Beginning or the End?), the Government used the illegal GPS and Defendant Jones’ cell-phone records to create a picture of a person who mirrored the Government’s allegations in the indictment. His day-to-day movements were locked –down. And used against him. My favorite part of Circuit Judge Ginsburg’s decision (p.26) [warning, .pdf] discusses the day-to-day use of the GPS against citizens: “It is one thing for a passerby to observe or even to follow someone during a single journey as he goes to the market or returns home from work. It is another thing entirely for that stranger to pick up the scent again the next day and the day after that, week in and week out, dogging his prey until he has identified all the places, people, amusements, and chores that make up that person‘s hitherto private routine.”

The 7th and 9th Circuits have already held that the warrantless use of the GPS trackers is acceptable (United States v. Pineda-Moreno, 591 F.3d 1212 (9th Cir. 2010); United States v. Garcia, 474 F.3d 994 (7th Cir. 2007). A nice circuit-split developing to be resolved by the Supreme Court. I love the smell of a circuit split in the morning, smells like more blog posts!

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The use of electronic surveillance by law enforcement is quickly approaching critical mass across the United States. Between the Internet, street-level surveillance camera systems, GPS tracking technology and automated license plate recognition systems (ALPRS, “automated license plate recognition system” is a system of one or more mobile or fixed high-speed cameras combined with computer algorithms to convert images of registration plates into computer-readable data), the amount of information that could be available to the government about your life and activities is extremely interesting. And not necessarily interesting in a good way.

The Maine Legislature has concerns about the impact that non-court regulated police surveillance activities could have on our lives.  In the last session, the Legislature limited the use of automated license plate recognition systems to the police, Maine Department of Transportation and Maine Turnpike Authority.  It also limits the storage of the data to twenty-one (21) days unless specific data is considered intelligence or investigative information or commercial vehicle screening data. 29-A M.R.S.A. § 2117-A.

But is this enough?  When you leave your home to go shopping, do you expect that the police are going to scan your license plate, tag it in the computer and potentially track your activities by making a record of where you were on a particular date and time?  Will they or do they have the ability to instantaneously cross-reference that tag to your driving record? There is nothing in the modified law to stop law enforcement from posting a ALPRS on the road into and out of your town, thus tracking who is coming and going. The ALPRS could prove I was at the bakery and off my diet!  Triangulate the ALPRS with credit/debit card data or Transpass and my day-to-day movements are locked-down.

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