Criminal Defense FAQ
We believe that one of the best ways to avoid penalties for a criminal accusation is to be fully informed of your rights under the law. Through our years of criminal defense experience, we have seen a trend in the questions that are asked after people are accused of crimes. Our knowledgeable Maine criminal attorneys have provided the following information for your benefit, and we are always available to answer your questions!
How does Maine classify criminal charges? The terms felony and misdemeanors are not used in Maine statutes, and the State classifies crimes by categories of seriousness on a scale of A through E. When you compare these categories to crimes that are classified as felonies and misdemeanors and other states, it seems that classes A, B and C could be considered felonies and classes D and E as misdemeanors.
The police officer never read me my Miranda rights! Can my case be dismissed? Despite the expectations that popular television shows have created, the answer is probably not. You only have the right to Miranda if you are in custody and are about to be questioned or interrogated. However, the term "in custody" can be interpreted in different ways and is usually taken to mean that you are restrained by police to the same degree as formal arrest or that you are actually under arrest. An attorney may be able to prove that you were in custody at the time and should have been read your Miranda rights, but this will depend on the specific circumstances involved.
Can the police lie to me when they question me about a case? Shockingly, the answer to this question is YES. Police are legally allowed to tell you an outright lie, and one of the most common lies that they use involves telling the defendant that they have other witnesses or substantial evidence even when they do not.
The police contacted me and asked me to come to the station for an interview, do I have to go? No, you are not legally required to go and whether you should go depends on the individual situation. It is always wise to contact an attorney before you make a decision so that you can be confident that your rights are fully protected before you speak with the police.
When should I contact a lawyer? It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as you become aware that you are under investigation by local, state or federal law enforcement agencies. Taking preemptive action is one of the best ways to avoid incriminating yourself, and a lawyer can also help prevent an arrest in the first place. By contacting a lawyer, you can also minimize the embarrassment and impact that a criminal charge will have on you and your family.