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Aug 8, 2019

Housing Troubles in Maine: Domestic Violence or Assault on Neighbors

A Portland man has been accused of beating up a neighbor in his apartment complex. While the incident would not be considered a crime of domestic violence in Maine, it can lead to similar housing repercussions to which a domestic violence charge could also lead.

Portland Man Accused of Assaulting Neighbor in Apartment Complex

According to initial news reports of the incident, a 62-year-old man was arrested on Saturday, August 3, 2019, for allegedly assaulting a 63-year-old man who lived in his apartment complex on Danforth Street in Portland.

Apparently, the two know each other. It’s unclear whether they are neighbors in the complex with adjacent apartments or if they just share the same building.

The alleged victim was brought to Maine Med, where he is listed in critical condition.

The defendant is being held in the Cumberland County Jail on $50,000 bail. He is being charged with elevated aggravated assault.

People Who Share an Apartment Complex are Not Family or Household Members

A crime only becomes a crime of domestic violence if the purported victim was a member of the defendant’s “family or household.” The types of relationships that fall within this realm is listed at 19-A Maine Statute § 4002(4).

Unlike some states, Maine does not include a neighbor as a family or household member for the purpose of domestic violence. While it is conceivable that people who live in the same apartment complex could fall within the purview of the “individuals presently or formerly living together” the law mentions, the courts have not yet interpreted the latter phrase to include neighbors.

Evictions Are Likely After Altercations Between Neighbors

Just because neighbors are not included in the definition of domestic violence, though, does not mean that the housing repercussions are different.

One of the things that many of the people who have been accused of domestic violence have to face is a sudden scramble for somewhere to live. This is usually a consequence of the restraining orders that get filed in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence altercation.

While people who rent their apartment and assault their neighbors are unlikely to be kicked out of their abode by a restraining order, their landlord is another matter. Most, if not all, leases include a provision that forbids violent or even loud altercations with neighbors. In most cases, the penalty for violating those rules is an eviction.

In fact, assaults on neighbors can be even worse for your housing future than if you get accused of domestic violence. If the landlord takes action and evicts you from your apartment for assaulting a neighbor, the eviction has to be disclosed in future apartment searches and can make it more difficult to find a place to live.

Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers at Maine Criminal Defense Group in Portland

The criminal defense and domestic violence defense lawyers at Maine Criminal Defense Group legally represent Mainers who have been accused of crimes in Portland, Saco, Biddeford, and surrounding areas. Contact us online or call our law office at (207) 571-8146 for the legal help you need.

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