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Maine Laws on Domestic Violence Stalking

Home > Maine Domestic Violence Attorney > Maine Laws on Domestic Violence Stalking

Maine’s laws against stalking are harsh but they become harsher if the person you are alleged to have been stalking is someone close to you. In these cases, you can be charged with domestic violence stalking, rather than “normal” stalking. Understanding how stalking law typically works is necessary to fully understand how it can apply in domestic violence context.

Maine’s Law Against Stalking

Maine’s “normal” stalking law is found at Maine Revised Code 17-A §210-A.The law prohibits knowingly engaging in a “course of conduct directed at or concerning a specific person that would cause a reasonable person” to:

  • Suffer emotional distress or serious inconvenience;
  • Fear getting hurt;
  • Fear for family, close friends, lovers, business associates, or even pets; or
  • Worry about his or her property.

If someone who has been accused of stalking is in any of these relationships with the alleged victim, the stalking charge turns into a charge of domestic violence stalking.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Stalking

Typically, domestic violence stalking is a Class D crime in Maine – the most severe type of what used to be called a misdemeanor in Maine. Convictions for domestic violence stalking carry up to 364 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.

However, a prior offense for domestic violence stalking or its equivalent – in Maine or elsewhere – increases the penalties for a conviction by enhancing the offense to a Class C crime. Class C crimes carry up to five years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.

Additionally, a domestic violence stalking offense can become a Class C crime if a defendant has a prior conviction on his or her record of violating a restraining order or their terms of release from prison, or a prior conviction of domestic violence assault.

Defenses to a Charge of Domestic Violence Stalking

The standard for what constitutes domestic violence stalking in Maine is disturbingly low, and the penalties for a conviction are not trivial. Raising effective legal arguments that cast doubt on your guilt and/or show you are innocent and did not commit the crime is an essential part of your defense strategy.

False Prosecution

In some stalking cases, the victim is blowing out of proportion trivial conduct on purpose. False accusations are made when, for example, the purported victim has a personal vendetta against you or wants to get you in trouble for some reason. Domestic violence allegations are full of these situations where the purported victim uses the justice system for his or her own purposes.

Innocent Conduct

What constitutes stalking under Maine’s stalking law is very low. Completely normal and innocent conduct could be construed as stalking if you think about it too much. For example, making eye contact on the bus more than once could be interpreted as stalking. Arguing that the conduct is innocent could persuade a jury that the allegations don’t fit the alleged conduct.

The Reasonable Person Standard

Similarly, the conduct that allegedly rises to the level of stalking has to create fear or emotional distress to a reasonable person. If this were not the case, paranoid people would be putting dozens of innocent people behind bars. Showing that what you did would not have caused the necessary fear, emotional distress, or serious inconvenience to a reasonable person is often a fundamental part of a defense strategy to a stalking allegation. The alleged victim’s past, including any stalking claims he or she has previously made, can provide strong support for this defense. Calling character witnesses to the stand to show that what you did was completely innocuous and that the purported victim is overreacting to normal conduct is a normal part of this defense.

Domestic Violence Stalking Defense at Maine Criminal Defense Group

The criminal defense lawyers at Maine Criminal Defense Group strive to represent people who have been accused of domestic violence stalking. These allegations are heavy and can ruin someone’s life if allowed to progress too far. Raising effective legal defenses and showing that the conduct does not fit the allegations can protect your future from a serious criminal conviction.

With the help of an attorney from Maine Criminal Defense Group, you can fight for your future by invoking your rights. Contact us online or call our attorneys at our Portland or Biddeford law offices at (207) 571-8146 if you have been arrested and accused of stalking in Portland, Biddeford, Bangor, Saco, or Augusta.

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