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Not all criminal convictions are eligible for probation under Maine criminal law. 17-A§1201(1).  Generally, there are caps on the maximum amount of time a person may be on probation for any given conviction, however, the legislature has carved out exceptions for certain serious crimes. 17-A §1201(2).

When a person is on probation in Maine, the judge may impose certain conditions that they believe will help the probationer lead a law-abiding life. 17-A §1204.  Every person on probation will have a condition that they refrain from committing new criminal conduct. Id. The court will also require a monthly payment between $10.00 and $50.00 be made to the Maine Department of Corrections. Id. In addition to the aforementioned required conditions, the court also has discretion in order many other conditions.  Probation is not appropriate for everyone, make sure you are fully aware of all of the conditions before signing any document agreeing to be placed on probation. It is wise to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to voluntarily commencing any term of probation.

After the commencement of the term of probation, if a probation officer has probable cause to believe that a person on probation has violated one or more of their conditions of probation, the probation officer may cause that probationer to be arrested. 17-A §1205.  If the probation officer can not locate the individual, a warrant may be issued for their arrest. However, the probation officer has the authority to summons the probationer to appear at court on the alleged violation. 17-A §1205-B.  After the arrest, or summons, the probation officer has three days (excluding the weekend) to file a motion for probation revocation, which sets forth the facts underlying the alleged violations. 17-A §1205-C.

If a person is arrested based on a probation violation, they must be afforded a probable cause hearing as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 7 days, unless that person is released from jail. 17-A §1205. At the probable cause hearing, affidavits and other reliable hearsay can be admitted. If the probable cause hearing is not held within the time prescribed, it is grounds for the court to release the individual on personal recognizance bail. Id. In deciding whether to set bail, the courts must be guided by the standards of post-conviction bail in Title 15 §1051(2-A), but not the post-conviction bail standards of a person awaiting sentencing or appeal after a conviction. 17-A §1205-C.

If you have been charged with a crime, or have been accused of violating conditions of probation, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide you through the uncertain process.  Attorney Eric Thistle has represented hundreds of individuals charged with crimes, and routinely defends people accused of violating conditions of probation.


Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general information about Maine law. The publication of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

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