In Maine, the crime of Domestic Violence Assault can be investigated, charged, and even proven beyond a reasonable doubt based simply on the allegation of one complaining witness. The significant nature of the charges, and potential adverse consequences, make Domestic Violence charges in Maine some of the more serious a person can face.
Not only are the consequences of a conviction very serious, even before the accused is convicted the effects can be life-altering. Specifically, bail and conditions of release are likely to be imposed by the Court at the request of the prosecutor. Bail conditions can include any number of different things, but frequently in cases involving domestic violence, the Court will require a cash bail be posted in order to initially get out of jail. The Court will likely also: (1) prohibit contact between the accused and complaining witness; (2) prohibit contact between the accused and any minor children who might have been present during the alleged assault; (3) prohibit the accused from returning to the home of the complaining witness; and (4) prohibit the accused from possessing any dangerous weapons, including firearms, for the duration of the case.
If you find yourself with overbearing and unnecessary bail conditions, call Attorney Thistle to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to a De Novo redetermination of your bail conditions by a different judge, or a Motion to Amend Bail if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since bail was last amended.
Elements of the Crime of Domestic Violence Assault
Maine defines the crime of Domestic Violence Assault as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another, and the victim is a family or household member under Maine law.
A family or household member is defined as any of the following: (1) spouses or domestic partners or former spouses or former domestic partners; (2) individuals presently or formerly living together as spouses; (3) parents of the same child; (4) individuals presently or formerly living together; (5) individuals who are or were sexual partners; and (6) adult household members related by consanguinity or affinity or minor children of a household member when the defendant is an adult household member.
Misdemeanor and Felony Level Offenses
Typically, Domestic Violence Assault is a Misdemeanor (Class D) offense with a maximum penalty of 364 days in prison, a $2,000.00 fine, and 2 years of probation.
However, a misdemeanor Domestic Violence Assault charge can be elevated to a felony level offense (Class C) if the accused has a prior conviction for DV Criminal Threatening, DV Terrorizing, DV Stalking, DV Reckless Conduct, Violating a Protection Order, or certain convictions for Violating Conditions of Release.
Also, if an allegation of strangulation is made, the prosecutors routinely charge the crime of Aggravated Assault. In order to prove Aggravated Assault in this way, the prosecutor needs to show that there was an intentional, knowing, or reckless infliction of bodily injury manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
As mentioned above, it’s common for the Court to impose bail conditions that prohibit a person from possessing dangerous weapons during the pendency of the case.
A person convicted of Domestic Violence Assault will be prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law for the rest of their life. Similarly, anyone convicted of any felony level offense is also prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.
In Maine, there are a handful of other misdemeanor Domestic Violence charges that result in a 5-year ban on possession of firearms and ammunition. Before pleading guilty to any criminal offense involving a family or household member, it is wise to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact Attorney Eric S. Thistle at the law offices of Irwin & Morris.
Attorney Thistle can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone (207) 274-3811.
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.