Leading Maine Habitual Offender Defense Lawyer
Defense Attorney for Portland, Bangor, Saco, Biddeford, Augusta, and all of Maine
Maine has a tough Habitual Offender law. A habitual offender is defined as follows:
- 3 or more major offenses within a five year period, which are defined as follows:
- OUI conviction
- Operating after Suspension conviction
- Operating without a License
- Driving to Endanger
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident
- OUI manslaughter
- Failure to Report an Accident
- 10 or more traffic offenses within a five year period
Since minimum jail sentences apply to people convicted under Maine's Operating After Habitual Offender law, now is no time to "go it alone" or to satisfy yourself with an inexperienced or mediocre criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested for this offense, you are facing hard deadlines that you must meet in order to protect yourself.
How a Maine Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
A skilled Maine criminal defense attorney might be able to help you arrange the following outcomes:
- a dismissal of the charges against you;
- a filing agreement that will result in an eventual dismissal if you meet certain conditions; or
- A plea bargain that will allow you to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
William T. Bly enjoys a dozen years of practice representing criminal defendants, with a special focus on DUI defense:
- He has been assigned a perfect 10.0 rating ("Superb") by the prestigious Avvo legal rating service
- He has twice been named a New England Super Lawyers Rising Star, an honor awarded to only a small percentage of Maine lawyers
- He is a member in good standing of various professional associations including the National College of DUI Defense, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Other Areas of Practice
Mr. Bly frequently handles cases in the following areas of practice:
- Criminal defense
- Personal injury
- Fish, game, boating and ATV law
- Civil offenses (traffic violations and violations of municipal ordinances, for example)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does the prosecutor have to prove to convict me of Operating After Habitual Offender?
The prosecutor must prove:
- You were operating a motor vehicle on a public road (not bicycling, for example, or driving off-road on your ATV);
- Your driver's license had been revoked for Habitual Offender status at the time you were apprehended; and
- You knew of the revocation or had received oral or written notification of it
Is it possible to defend myself by challenging the original Maine Habitual Offender revocation?
Yes. If, for example, you pleaded guilty to a traffic offense just to "get it over with" without realizing that you would be placed on Habitual Offender status as a result, it might be possible to withdraw your guilty plea, fight the charge and win a dismissal. This is not guaranteed, of course.
Can I clear my driving record by moving to another state?
It is possible, but don't count on it. The interstate Driver License Compact was designed to prevent drivers from being able to do this by sharing information on driving records among the states. Although Maine is one of the few states that are not members of the Driver LIcense Compact, there is no guarantee that this will protect you if you move to another state.
Keep in mind that if your new state does find out about a habitual Offender license revocation, it will impose penalties on driver's license and your in-state driving privileges that are consistent with its own law, not with Maine law.
How much jail time am I looking at if I am convicted?
That depends largely on your prior record. Under the Maine Operating After Habitual Offender law, if you have never been placed on Habitual Offender status before and you have not received an OUI conviction within the last 10 years, you could be looking at only 30 days. On the other extreme, if you have multiple Habitual Offender designations or OUI convictions, you could be looking at a minimum of 2 years in jail.
Is it possible to get a work-restricted license during my suspension period, so I don't risk Operating After Habitual Offender?
You may petition the Maine Secretary of State for a work-restricted license after 18 months of suspension. Depending on your previous driving record and your need, the Secretary of State may grant or deny your petition (certain prior offenses render you ineligible for a work-restricted license, however).
It is Critical That You Respond Promptly and Effectively; Call Skilled Maine Habitual Offender Defense Attorney
The Maine criminal justice system can feel like a meat grinder to those who are unprepared for it. Rules of evidence and civil procedure are complex and arcane, and the system is predatory to its core. Quite frankly, the system will eat you alive if you are not prepared to deal with it.
Missing a critical deadline or responding ineffectively could greatly harm your case or even result in unnecessary jail time. The earlier you involve an experienced criminal defense attorney in your Maine habitual offender case, the readier you will be to fight back when the time comes. Call me today at (207) 571-8146 or fill in my online contact form to schedule a case consultation and find out how I can help.