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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Continue reading “You Aren’t Required To Submit To A Breathalyzer, But You Might Want To”

What is an Arraignment?

Your arraignment is the first court appearance on a misdemeanor criminal charge.  In Maine, misdemeanors are classified as Class D and E crimes.

At this point you have been charged with a crime, but are presumed innocent. At your arraignment you will be required to watch a video explaining all of your rights. The judge will likely ask you if you understand your rights before he or she excepts your plea.  You have a variety of important rights, and it’s important that you watch the video to fully understand these rights. If you have any questions, please make sure you consult a qualified Maine criminal defense attorney before entering a plea.

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