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. If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse, contact Attorney Thistle to help obtain a protection order.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 someone 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.
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?
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”
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 Breathalyzer 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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.