Washington County is the easternmost county in Maine and the entire United States. However, it only has a population of barely more than 30,000, making it the third-least populous area in Maine. The vast majority of those people live in rural areas, making the county's crime rate extraordinarily low. But that does not mean that crimes don't happen in Washington County, or that innocent people don't get accused of crimes they did not commit. Criminal charges are filed every day in places like:
- Grand Lake Stream
If you have been accused of a crime in these places or elsewhere in Washington County, you need legal representation. The criminal defense lawyers at WTB Law can help you raise the legal defenses that are most likely to fight off a groundless criminal charge and protect your rights, interests, and your future.
WTB Law: Criminal Defense in Washington County
According to the 2017 statistics for Maine, Washington County is among the safest counties in the whole state. Using crime rate as the metric – a number that counts all of the index crimes committed in a calendar year for every 1,000 residents in the area – Washington County came in at 8.85. For the sake of comparison, Maine's average crime rate was 16.32 in the same time period. Washington County's crime rate even fell over 35% from 2016.
Most of the offenses that happened in Washington County were property crimes like theft, shoplifting, burglary, and robbery. While by far the most common type of criminal offense, they also tend to carry lower penalties than other convictions and are frequently misdemeanor offenses.
On the other hand, violent crimes are relatively few and far between, but carry much higher penalties for a conviction. These include criminal offenses like:
- Reckless conduct including reckless conduct with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated assault
- Domestic violence crimes
Regardless of the type of offense you have been accused of committing, hiring the best legal defense team is crucial. A conviction on your criminal background can make life difficult, resulting in days, months or years in prison as well as other unforeseen consequences such as loss of employment and loss of status in the community. The defense attorneys at WTB Law can defend your rights and fight the government on your behalf.
Operating Under the Influence (OUI) in Washington County
Operating under the influence (OUI) is a strange type of crime. It is neither a violent crime nor a property crime and often does not have a victim. However, thanks to lots of political pressure, the penalties of an OUI conviction still include extensive jail time, a long license suspension, and steep fines. It also does not require any level of intent – you can accidentally commit OUI and still get convicted.
This is why plenty of law-abiding citizens in Washington County get charged with OUI every year, and why it is so important to have an OUI-defense lawyer on your side. These charges run from basic OUI allegations to those that include other factors, as well, like:
- OUIs involving commercial drivers or underage drivers
- Drug OUIs involving illegal drugs or marijuana
- Child endangerment OUIs where you were found over the legal limit and had a minor passenger
- OUIs that cause accidents, including OUIs that lead to an injury
- Vehicular manslaughter, or OUIs that cause a fatality
Many of these OUI allegations begin with a traffic stop on Route 1. This thoroughfare is where most of the population in Washington County resides, as well as a healthy portion of the bars and other nightlife in the area.
WTB Law: Defending Against Sex Crimes in Washington County
Another unique type of criminal offense is a sex crime. These are not motivated by violence or getting someone else's things. Instead, they are motivated by gratifying a sexual desire, and include the following offenses:
Allegations of sexual crimes like these are tricky and very serious. A conviction can require you to register as a sex offender, putting you on the publicly-accessible registry of sex offenders in Maine. Even an allegation of a serious sex crime can hurt your reputation.
A strong, but also tactful, defense is necessary. The defense attorneys at WTB Law can provide one.
WTB Law: Title 12 Defense and Compliance in Washington County
Title 12 is the section of Maine law that regulates the outdoors and how you can enjoy them. Violations in Title 12 include:
- Fishing violations
- Hunting violations, including hunting at night and poaching
- Boating under the influence
- Committing OUI on a snowmobile or ATV
Violating any of these provisions in Title 12 can imperil your ability to enjoy the outdoors in Washington County, which includes some of Maine's most pristine coastline, woodlands, and lakes.
The lawyers at WTB Law can defend you if you have been accused of violating Title 12 and can help you abide by its strict regulations.
Washington County's Court System
If you are facing criminal charges in Washington County, you will be dealing with prosecutors from the Washington County District Attorney's Office.
Most criminal cases are heard at the Washington County Superior Court, in the county seat of Machias. This court is located at 85 Court Street and is the only court in Washington County where you can have a jury trial.
There are two other courts in Washington County – both of them district courts:
- The Maine District Court in Machias, which is in the same building as the Superior Court
- The Maine District Court in Calais, located at 382 South Street
Because the Superior Court is the only one that can empanel a jury, any felony-level offenses are tried there. Misdemeanor cases can be put to the Superior Court if you exercise your right to a jury trial.
WTB Law: Washington County Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been accused of a crime anywhere in Washington County, you should seriously consider hiring a solid criminal defense lawyer. Protecting your rights and interests, now, can ensure you live the future you want to live, rather than one limited by a criminal conviction.
Call the criminal defense attorneys at WTB Law at (207) 571-8146 or contact them online.