Violation of a Protection Order
Legal Representation for Portland, Bangor, Augusta, Biddeford, and Saco Maine
In Maine, protection from abuse and protection from harassment orders are filed and granted on a regular basis. "Victims" have unlimited access to court resources and organizations such as Pine Tree Legal and Caring Unlimited. These organizations will provide any female "victim" of abuse a free attorney who will advocate fiercely on the woman's behalf. Because of the gross imbalance in free resources available to women in this state, men are frequently at a major disadvantage in court. Oftentimes, men will go to court in the hopes of fighting the protection from abuse complaint on their own and without the assistance of an attorney. When this happens, the man ends up getting railroaded into a consent order or a finding of abuse is made against the man.
There is a difference between a temporary 21-day order and a permanent 2-year order. In all protection matters, if a court finds that the alleged conduct conforms with the statutory definition of abuse or harassment, the court will enter a 21-day temporary order and set a hearing on the issue. In addition, the court can entertain an ex parte proceeding, which means that the "victim" can be heard on the issue of immediate and present danger to herself or her child. This will be done without your knowledge, consent or presence.
While you're waiting for an opportunity for your hearing, you'll likely have been excluded from your home, locked out of your bank accounts, prohibited from contacting the "victim" or your child in any form or manner and perhaps may be rendered homeless. None of these issues are causes of concern for the court as their only purpose when determining whether or not enter a temporary order is to decided if the allegations conform with the statutory definitions of abuse or harassment. That's why it's imperative that you retain an attorney to represent you at the final hearing on a protection from abuse or harassment proceeding.
Once a hearing is held, if the court finds by preponderance of the evidence that abuse or harassment has occurred, the court will enter a finding formal finding of abuse or harassment and order that the Defendant be prohibited from contacting, harassing, stalking or abusing the "victim" and that a violation of that order constitutes a criminal violation. In addition, if a finding of abuse is made, you are forever prohibited from owning, using, carrying or possessing a firearm or ammunition for the remainder of your life. For most people who are avid gun owners and hunters, this is an unacceptable outcome and a restriction which they have a great deal of difficulty complying.
All too often, the man will violate the order by contacting the "victim"; either by phone or over Facebook. The next thing the man knows, he's in jail and facing serious criminal charges; charges that can carry life-altering consequences if convicted.
If a protection from abuse or protection from harassment order has been entered against you, either as a 21-day temporary order or a permanent order following a hearing, and it's alleged that you've violated that order; you'll be charged with a class D misdemeanor if this is the first time you've violated a protection order. However, if you've been previously convicted of a crime of Domestic Violence or of Violating a Protection order, you'll be charged with a class C felony. The difference between the two charges is stark and each classification carries a different penalty in Maine:
- For a class D misdemeanor Violation of Protection Order, Maine courts can impose any sentence up to and including 364 days at the local county jail and a fine of $2,000.00 as well as a term of probation.
- For a class C felony, you can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years in state prison followed by a term of probation and a fine of up to $5,000.00.
If you've been charged with the crime of Violating a Protection Order, you need to call an attorney who is experienced with handling these type of criminal matters. Call Office of William T. Bly at (207) 571-8146 for a free consultation. We can make a difference in the outcome of your case. Contact us today!