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Domestic Assault Possible Defenses and Penalties in Maine

Domestic Assault Possible Defenses and Penalties in Maine

In recent years, convictions for domestic violence offenses in Maine have increased as state prosecutors rigorously pursue cases.

This has led to harsher penalties for offenders, which makes it even more essential to work on a credible defense if you have been wrongly accused of the offense.

By understanding more about domestic violence, its penalties, the burden of proof for the prosecution, and possible defenses that can be pursued, you can better prepare for what lies ahead.

Call 207-571-8146 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys today.

Table of Contents

What is considered domestic violence assault in Maine?

A domestic violence assault in Maine is defined as an assault against another individual from the same family or household, i.e., the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator have a defined relationship.

The two main considerations for this offense are the physical contact (assault) itself and the target of the contact.

Under Maine law, assault is when a person intentionally causes harm to another person or, more specifically, “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caus[ing] bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another person.”

The contact does not need to actually cause physical injury to the person. An assault charge can result from grabbing, pushing, shoving or another type of offensive conduct.

Family or household members are defined under Maine law as including:

  • Spouses
  • Domestic partners (two unmarried adults who live together in a long-term committed relationship)
  • People who live together
  • Biological parents of a child
  • Minor children
  • Anyone who is or has been a sexual partner

If the assault element is satisfied AND the complainant meets the definition of being in the same household or same family, charges of domestic violence assault may be filed against the accused.

Is domestic violence a misdemeanor or felony in Maine?

Most cases of domestic violence assault are prosecuted as misdemeanors in Maine. Most commonly, the offense is treated as a Class D misdemeanor. However, even as a misdemeanor, it can still greatly impact the future of anyone found guilty of the offense.

If the offender has a prior conviction for any of the following offenses in the past 10 years, the charge may be upgraded to a Class C felony in Maine:

  • A domestic violence charge, including stalking, reckless conduct, assault, or similar
  • Violating a protection from abuse order
  • Domestic violence misdemeanors or felonies in another state

The associated penalties for felonies are considerably more severe than for misdemeanors.

What are the potential penalties for domestic violence in Maine?

If a person is convicted of a Class D misdemeanor in Maine, the following penalties may apply:

  • A maximum sentence of one year in jail
  • A maximum fine of $2,000
  • Up to two years’ probation
  • A requirement to complete a forty-eight-week batterers intervention education program

If a person is convicted of a Class C felony in Maine, the following penalties may apply:

  • A maximum sentence of five years in jail
  • A maximum fine of $5,000
  • Up to two years’ probation

Probation in domestic violence assault cases will generally require strict supervision and regular monitoring, as well as restrictions placed on alcohol consumption and contact with the victim(s).

The longer-term consequences of a criminal record mean that offenders can continue to pay the price for many years after serving their sentence—with employment restrictions, travel restrictions, issues with immigration status, and more.

Call 207-571-8146 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys today.

What are viable defenses for domestic violence in Maine?

If you face a charge of domestic assault, the potentially serious consequences mean that one of your first calls should be to a criminal defense lawyer. It’s best not to say too much to law enforcement authorities until you have sought legal counsel—invoke your right to remain silent regardless of how wrongful you think the accusations are.

An attorney with experience in defending domestic violence and assault charges will examine the evidence against you carefully. Depending on the findings and circumstances of your case, one of the following defenses may be applied:

No assault or someone else did it

Sometimes, the alleged perpetrator of an assault is wrongly accused. This could be for many reasons, but your lawyer will need to establish a credible alibi (if the victim has indeed been assaulted) or prove that an assault never took place or was carried out by someone else.

If there is a lack of evidence that you were at the scene of the alleged assault or that an assault ever took place, this can be a strong defense.

It was an accident

If there is an admission that the complainant suffered injuries, a viable defense may be that these injuries were caused by an accident rather than intentionally.

To support this, evidence must be provided to support the assertion that an accident caused the injuries. Remember that assault does not have to be intentional to result in a conviction as it is defined as “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly” injuring another person. Therefore, reckless actions that resulted in an accident that caused injury can still be classified as an assault.


Self-defense can be a valid claim if you were in the process of protecting yourself or your children when the alleged assault occurred.

If the police report shows that the complainant used violence or you can show defensive injuries, this can bolster a self-defense claim. If not, other supporting evidence will be required.

Violation of constitutional rights

Your constitutional rights are set in stone in the U.S. and to achieve a conviction, the prosecution must prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Often, the police make mistakes during their investigation. If your rights were violated, considerable doubt can be cast on the evidence against you and the case may be dismissed.

Violations of constitutional rights can occur when police gather evidence, interview or interrogate suspects, or if they deny certain requests, like a request to speak to a lawyer.

How well your criminal defense attorney gathers evidence and presents the case for the defense will determine whether you will face the harsh penalties for domestic violence assault or avoid the worst consequences of a conviction.

If you need to defend charges of domestic violence assault in Maine, call The Maine Criminal Defense Group at 207-571-8146 for assistance.

Call 207-571-8146 or contact us online to schedule a consult with one of our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys today.

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