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Classification of Crimes in Maine

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Dec 11, 2021

Classification of Crimes in Maine

Updated: July 2023

Classification of Criminal Charges in Maine

If you have been arrested for a crime in Maine, it is important to understand the consequences that you may be facing.

In the state of Maine, the severity of a crime is measured by a code classification system.

Each code comes with its own minimum and maximum sentences. Several of the codes are felonies and some are misdemeanors.

For every criminal offense, there is a set of minimum and maximum penalties.

Read More An Overview of the Criminal Record Challenge Process in Maine

Criminal Sentencing in the state of Maine

When a person is convicted of a crime, they are subject to be sentenced by the judge. For the most part their sentence depends on the judge’s discretion but guidelines are set based on the criminal classification of the offense.

These classifications provide minimum and maximum guidelines for fines and jail time. A judge can also make the decision to include probation, community service and more.

Usually, the judge will look at the facts of the case and any aggravating factors that were involved. The judge will also take the offender’s criminal record, and social history into consideration.

In some cases the victim or victim’s family will also give input for the judge’s consideration. For many crimes there are mandatory minimum sentences that must be dealt out.

The most severe sentence a person can receive is a life sentence. The State of Maine does not use the death penalty. Some crimes, like murder, have their own special classification.

Murder cases usually result in a sentence of 25 years to life in jail.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in Maine?

In Maine, the main difference between a felony and a misdemeanor lies in the severity of the crime and the potential penalties. A felony is a more serious offense, carrying harsher consequences, including imprisonment in state prison. Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are less severe crimes with shorter potential sentences, usually served in county jails.

The distinction is essential as it determines the gravity of the legal proceedings and the impact on an individual’s criminal record. To learn more about the difference between a felony and misdemeanor in Maine, continue reading below.

Felony

In Maine, a felony refers to a serious offense that may lead to imprisonment for more than one year. Felonies are classified based on their maximum prison sentences and fines, except for murder, which carries a sentence of 25 years to life.

Maine has five classifications of crimes, with Classes A, B, and C all considered felonies. Among these, Class A crimes are the most severe, carrying penalties of up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $50,000.00.

Class B crimes entail maximum sentences of 10 years and fines of up to $20,000.00, while Class C crimes carry penalties of five years in prison and fines up to $5,000.00.

Prominent examples of felonies in Maine include:

Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor in Maine is a less severe crime than a felony, though it still carries significant consequences. Unlike felonies, which can lead to imprisonment for more than a year, misdemeanors typically result in sentences served in county jails, with a maximum of 364 days.

Maine classifies misdemeanors into two categories: Classes D and E. Class D misdemeanors may result in up to 364 days in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000.00. Class E misdemeanors, on the other hand, can lead to a maximum of six months in county jail and a fine of $1,000.00.

Common examples of misdemeanors in Maine include:

Classifications of Crimes in Maine

In Maine, a new criminal classification system has replaced the outdated misdemeanor and felony distinction. The system now utilizes five classes of crimes, offering a wider range of penalties. The classifications range from Class A (most severe) to Class E (least severe), with Class D and E offenses considered misdemeanors. It’s crucial to determine the specific classification of your charges and understand the potential penalties associated.

Notably, certain crimes may have unique circumstances and may not fit within the standard classification framework. For instance, murder charges carry a punishment of 25 years to life imprisonment. An example of a Class E crime in Maine could be criminal mischief involving property damage valued at less than $200.

It’s essential to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Maine Criminal Defense Group, who can provide guidance tailored to your specific case. They can assess the details surrounding your charges, investigate any mitigating factors, and build a robust defense strategy. Below is a run-down of each class of crime in Maine.

Class E

Class E crimes carry a maximum penalty of a fine of up to a $1000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days of jail.

It is the class used for the least serious offenses like operating on a suspended license, disorderly conduct and theft under $1,000. Along with Class D crimes, these charges are typically misdemeanors.

Class D

Class D offenses include domestic violence assault cases, assault and OUI / DUI / DWI (drunk driving) offenses. Class D offenses carry a maximum penalty of up to 364 days of jail and a fine of up to $2000.

If you simply plead guilty to a Class D offense, the judge can sentence you to the maximum penalty and you will have no recourse.

Class C

A Class C offense is the lowest level felony offense in Maine. An example of a Class C offense could be an Aggravated OUI where you may have 2 or more priors.

It could be a felony habitual offender charge. It could be an Aggravated Criminal Mischief or felony theft.

The maximum fine or penalty that could be imposed for a Class C conviction is up to 5 years of prison and/or $5000 in fines.

Class B

Class B offenses are extremely serious charges. This class of charges includes trafficking in drugs, some sexual assault cases, aggravated assault cases and motor vehicle DUI involving serious bodily injury.

Class B crimes include punishments up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Class A

Class A offenses are reserved for the most serious of crimes in the State of Maine such as manslaughter, gross sexual assault (commonly referred to as rape) and aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs.

The mandatory maximum penalty that can be imposed is up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

If the charge is murder, the minimum sentence that can be imposed would be 25 years and up to life imprisonment.

Maine law has an extra caveat to the law if a weapon is involved. In circumstances where a dangerous weapon was used to commit the crime, the charges will be one class higher than average.

For example, a domestic violence assault is usually a Class D crime, but if a gun was used during the assault, it will be charged as a Class C crime.

If the crime was already a Class A, consideration for the use of the weapon will be taken when deciding a sentence.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Maine

Contact our office today if you have any questions about criminal charges and the penalties associated with them.



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