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If you’ve been charged with assault in Maine, your priority should be to ensure that the charge does not result in a conviction.
Assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and, as well as jail time, you will face severe consequences for your future if you are convicted. Self-representation, therefore, should not be an option.
If you’re charged with assault in Maine, call a credible criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Once we know the details of your charge, we will begin working on your release (if you remain in custody) and start building a defense.
Normally, bail will be set within a few hours of your arrest and you will be issued a summons that includes the date and time of your first hearing and the court location.
It helps to understand more about the crime of assault, the different classes, and the punishments you may face.
Under the Maine Criminal Code 17-A §207, if you “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another person” you can be charged with assault.
Most assault cases involve bodily harm but assault cases have been filed after minimal contact because, by definition, bodily harm is not necessary — the defendant only needs to cause offensive physical contact.
Minor altercations are sometimes exaggerated without good reason — and a criminal charge is a harsh lesson to learn for the defendant
Assault is not to be confused with battery, which is a more serious charge that must involve physical contact and usually results in injury.
It is also important to note that unintentional contact should not be charged as assault unless it is extremely reckless. Unintentional contact can be a valid defense if you are charged and your lawyer may question you to this effect.
Aggravated assault is defined under the Maine Revised Statute 17-A §208. Unlike assault, which is usually charged as a misdemeanor, the offense is a felony and carries more serious penalties. However, there are different classes of aggravated assault depending on the circumstances.
Under Maine law, the elements that elevate simple assault to aggravated assault include bodily injury that results in:
You can also be charged with aggravated assault if you use a dangerous weapon or show “extreme indifference” to the value of human life.
When deciding on the charge, the police/prosecutors will consider the manner of then physical contact, the number of injuries inflicted, and the observable physical condition of the victim at the time of the assault.
Let’s consider the various classes of aggravated assault in Maine.
Simple assault can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a Class C felony (aggravated assault) in Maine if the defendant has been convicted of two other offenses of a certain category within the previous 10 years.
The offence can also be elevated if a person over the age of 18 intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person who is under the age of six.
A Class C felony can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years.
Simple assault can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a Class B felony in Maine if there is evidence of the use of a dangerous weapon, serious injury is caused or extreme indifference to human life is demonstrated by the defendant.
This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It is worth noting that to charge an assault as a Class B felony, it is not enough that bodily injury could have resulted from the assault. The bodily injury must be serious enough to create “a substantial risk of death or extended convalescence necessary for recovery of physical health” or “serious, permanent disfigurement or loss or substantial impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
A black eye, bad bruise or another injury from a common altercation would usually not be considered enough to lead to a charge of aggravated assault.
The definition of a “dangerous weapon” is usually taken to mean a firearm, knife, or other weapon capable of producing death or serious bodily injury. This, along with the definition of “extreme indifference to the value of human life” is often debated in court between defence and prosecution lawyers.
A Class A felony carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison in Maine. To be convicted of this, the prosecution needs to prove serious bodily injury intentionally caused as a result of the use of a dangerous weapon, with a “depraved indifference” to the value of human life or conduct undertaken with terroristic intent.
A “depraved indifference to the value of human life” is even more serious than the “extreme indifference” covered in a Class B felony.
Under the Maine Criminal Code,” terroristic intent” is defined as an intent to cause injury or death to multiple victims, an intent to cause damage to multiple structures or substantially damage critical infrastructure, with intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or impact the conduct of government.
Most assaults in Maine are charged as misdemeanors (Class D charges or “simple assault”) unless the aggravating factors described above are present. It carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
A Class D charge may be elevated to a Class C felony charge with up to five years in prison if the victim is a minor or prior convictions are present. If the sentence is nine months or less, it can be served in county jail in Maine but, if it exceeds that term, it must be served in state prison. The maximum term of probation is two years and the maximum fine is $5,000.
If you need help defending an assault charge, call the Maine Criminal Defense Group at 207-571-8146 for an initial case evaluation.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with
one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys
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