Augusta, Maine OUI Defense Attorney
Location of Court
If your arrest for operating under the influence (OUI) occurred in Kennebec County, then your case will be handled in the Unified Criminal Docket, located at the Kennebec County Courthouse, in Augusta, Maine. The court is housed in a brand new, modern-looking building at 1 Court Street, in Augusta, Maine, opening in the beginning of 2015. The new building can be difficult to find, as it's down a hill behind the old superior courthouse. However, all criminal district and superior court cases are heard at this new courthouse. Driving directions can be found using Google Maps, but are also available on the court's website. It is also possible that depending on where in Kennebec County you were arrested, your arraignment could take place at the Waterville District Court. Double check your bail bond or summons to be sure.
There is usually enough parking at the courthouse, but if it's an especially busy day, you might strike out and have to look for a spot on one of the many side streets nearby. The streets near the courthouse are generally arranged in a grid-like pattern, with Court Street running directly to the courthouse, so as long as you know where Court Street is, you shouldn't get lost. Give yourself extra time to make sure you find a spot.
Because The Kennebec County Courthouse is such a new building, the courtrooms don't have delegated purposes just yet. However, most cases are heard in one of the courtrooms on the first floor. If you lose your way, be sure to ask court security where you should go, and they'll help guide you – because the building is still so new, they're used to having to point people in the right direction.
Your first court appearance will be for your arraignment. Despite the fact that Augusta's District Court uses the Unified Criminal Docket court rules, you can still enter your plea of guilty or not guilty through your attorney. Like most other Unified Criminal Docket courts, you do not need to be present for your arraignment if you have an attorney representing you. However, there is an exception to the general rule that your attorney can handle all the proceedings on your behalf, which is: If you're pleading guilty to a crime that will result in jail time, you will have to be present. The court rarely allows defendants to plead guilty through their attorney.
Additionally, unlike other Unified Criminal Docket courts, if you take the case to trial in the Kennebec County UCD, and are found guilty, your attorney can conduct the sentencing proceedings on your behalf and without you being physically present; as long as you're not facing jail.
The Kennebec County Courthouse does follow the Unified Criminal Docket court rules in that all defendants are required to appear at the dispositional conference, however. This conference comes after the arraignment, but before the trial, and is the best time for you to make a plea deal in your case. All dispositional conferences are held in a very small conference room at the courthouse. The presiding judge, the prosecutors, and the defense attorneys will all be crammed in there, with you, to discuss your case and try to get it resolved without a trial. If you've elected to defend the case yourself, without a lawyer, this can be an awkward and intimidating experience, being surrounded by professionals. Generally, the best offer you will get is made at this conference. If you turn it down, there, it typically is not offered, again.
If the case can't be resolved at the dispositional conference, it will proceed to trial.
The District Attorney for Kennebec County is Maeghan Maloney. Her office's way of handling drunk driving charges are more liberal and open-minded than most other district attorney offices in the state. That said, Ms. Maloney's district attorney office is not just looking to get things settled out of court – they're more than willing to take any criminal case to trial, before a judge or jury.
As of June, 2015, the prosecutorial team at Kennebec County's District Attorney's office is still young. Many of them are fresh out of law school, or lack trial experience. However, Ms. Maloney recently brought in a highly experienced district attorney with an impressive track record, Paul Cavanaugh. He will likely use his long history working as a prosecutor to develop and mentor the younger members of the office.