Domestic abuse has been recognized as a very serious problem affecting families and household members all across Maine. A protection order can, among other things, prohibit one party from contacting another party, and a violation of this order can result in criminal charges. “Abuse” and “family or household members” have specific definitions under the law, and are explained below.
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.
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.