“Will I Lose My Guns?”

There are many different ways people ask the question, but what they really want to know is “will this criminal conviction prohibit me from possessing firearms?”

The Second Amendment guarantees that “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  In Maine in particular, owning a gun is a right of passage passed down from generation to generation.  However, there are many criminal convictions that can result in a ban on your right to possess firearms.

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Know Your Rights at a Maine OUI Checkpoint

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure by the government. The United States Supreme Court, in Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, found that suspicion-less roadside Operating Under the Influence (OUI) checkpoints are reasonable, and therefore legal. The Court reasoned that the brief initial investigation in a roadblock sobriety checkpoint is reasonable, because it is a minimal intrusion into the privacy of the motorist, and the public’s interest in preventing drunk driving is very high.

It’s important to know, however, that the Maine Supreme Court has found that it is unreasonable, and therefore in violation of the law, for a law enforcement officer to pull a car over simply for turning around once they see a road block and driving back in the direction they came.  State v. Powell, 591 A.2d 1306 (1991).  An officer may none-the-less attempt to pull someone over for this, in which case the driver must pull over immediately. Whether you are sober or impaired, OUI checkpoints in Maine can be anxiety producing. If you do not want to be stopped in an OUI checkpoint, turn your vehicle around (in a lawful manner), and proceed in the direction you were coming from.  You should not be pulled over for doing this, but if you are, contact an attorney as soon as practical.

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Domestic Violence Assault in Maine

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 8.39.59 PMIn 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.

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Maine Habitual Offender Driving Laws

Maine is a notoriously rural state, with very few public transportation options. For some, losing their right to drive is just simply not an option. If you’ve been charged with a criminal driving offense in Southern Maine, contact Attorney Eric Thistle at the law offices of Fairfield & Associates, P.A. to protect yourself and your driving record. If you have any questions about the information provided in this article, please feel free to send us an email.

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 Habitual Offender: Three Strikes and You’re Out!

A habitual offender in Maine is a person who accumulates three or more convictions for certain distinct driving offenses (arising out of separate acts) committed within a 5-year period.

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Maine Nursing License and Criminal Convictions

Author: Eric S. Thistle

No one likes getting charged with a criminal offense, but it can be especially troublesome for nurses in Maine.  There isn’t one particular crime that will disqualify Picture1someone from getting licensed by the Maine State Board of Nursing (“the Board”). However, the Board may consider, among a variety of other things, the following convictions in making their decision whether or not to issue a Maine nursing license: (1) misdemeanor convictions (less than one-year incarceration) which involve dishonesty or false statement; (2) misdemeanor convictions which directly relate to the trade or occupation for which the license or permit is sought; (3) civil violations which directly relate to the trade or occupation for which the license or permit is sought (4) felony convictions; and (5) misdemeanor convictions involving sexual misconduct.

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A Wise Man Once Said: Nothing At All

Author: Eric S. Thistle

Most people know, or have heard, that they have the “right to remain silent” when being questioned by law enforcement officers.  But what does that actually mean, and when should someone invoke this right?

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The right to remain silent comes from the Fifth Amendment, which states: “no person shall be… compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Continue reading “A Wise Man Once Said: Nothing At All”

What You Need To Know About Field Sobriety Tests

The goal of this article is to level the playing field between law enforcement officers and drivers who are asked to perform Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s).

When an individual is stopped by a Maine law enforcement officer on suspicion of operating under the influence, they may ultimately be asked to submit to a BreathalyzerScreen Shot 2018-06-28 at 9.13.23 AM test (you can read more about that Here). However, before the driver and officer reach the point of the Breathalyzer, it’s likely that the officer will ask the driver to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s or FST’s) to determine whether or not they have a reason, also known as probable cause, to make a formal arrest.

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You Aren’t Required To Submit To A Breathalyzer, But You Might Want To

Typically, when a motorist is pulled over on suspicion of Operating Under the Influence (OUI), a law enforcement officer will ask the driver to exit the vehicle and perform standardized field sobriety tests.  Based on observations by the officer, he or she may ask the driver to submit to a breath test (known as a Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer).

Under Maine law, if there is probable cause to believe a person has operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, that person shall submit to and complete a test. See 29-A §2521. This reading of the statute may leave some feeling as though the breath test is mandatory at the request of a law enforcement officer.

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Innocent Until Proven Guilty?  Not at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Author: Eric S. Thistle

At the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, individuals looking to gain temporary access for work or other matters may be prohibited from entering based on pending criminal charges.  In fact, all misdemeanor and felony charges (except first-offense Operating Under the Influence) will prevent an individual from gaining access to the Shipyard until the case has been finally adjudicated.

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Understanding Maine DEEP

The Driver Evaluation and Education Program (DEEP) is a requirement prior to reinstatement for people whose license has been suspended for an alcohol or drug related motor vehicle offense.  Typically, The DEEP is a three-part program.

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Part One – 20 hour Risk Reduction Program which is the education component of DEEP.  The focus of the education portion is on high-risk alcohol and drug choices. The cost for the Risk Reduction Program is $300.00.  This typically takes place over the weekend, and is offered in many locations throughout the state.

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