“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 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”

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.

DEEP

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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What is Hearsay?

Hearsay is a statement made by someone out of court, which is then used in court, to prove what was said in the statement.

For a more technical definition, see Rule 801(c) of the Maine Rules of Evidence, which says, “Hearsay means a statement that: (1) The declarant does not make while testifying at the current trial or hearing; and (2) A party offer in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.”

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Generally, hearsay is not allowed to be introduced into evidence pursuant to Rule 802 of the Maine Rules of Evidence.  However, there are many exceptions to this rule. The exceptions can be found ­here­ in Rules 801(d), 803, and 804.

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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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