Throughout the Portland area, people are arrested every day for charges ranging from disorderly conduct and driving without a license to more serious felonies such as assault.
No matter what the charge—if you’ve been accused, arrested, or charged, your next step is to find the best legal defense available. A Maine criminal defense attorney will understand how our case will be treated in the court system based on available facts, the law, the prosecutor, and the judge. Having an attorney will help you navigate through the court system and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
A criminal charge means your future is at stake. You may be restricted in your future occupations and a professional such as a doctor, lawyer, or nurse can lose their professional license with a conviction. Should the media cover your case, you can be “tried in the court of public opinion,” and likely “convicted” long before your court date. How will you find an impartial jury and receive a fair trial anywhere in Maine?
Maine uses a unique system of classifying a crime. Instead of “misdemeanors” and “felonies,” the state uses Class A through Class E. The higher the classification, the more serious the crime, and the harsher the penalties for a conviction at trial.
Crimes that are in the D and E class are what were previously called “misdemeanors” or minor offenses. Classes A through C are for the more severe crimes that were previously called “felonies,” with murder charges in a class by itself. These divisions determine the fines and prison sentences that you can receive with a conviction.
Class E (Minor) Charges
Many people believe that a Class E or “misdemeanor” charge is “no big deal.” But it is. A conviction brings as much as $1,000 in fines and six months in jail, depending on the circumstances. Even a simple traffic ticket or charge of “disturbing the peace” can have long-term implications years after you’ve moved on.
Think about it—every time you apply for college, a job, a background check, or a professional license, you’ll have to disclose a minor criminal charge that you paid a $200 fine to finish. In some cases, a criminal conviction of any kind can disqualify you for certain types of jobs, student aid, or professional licenses you need for employment.
A Class E charge is still a criminal charge, no matter how minor. A conviction means you have a criminal record, just as you would if you were charged with a felony. The best solution is to have a Maine criminal defense attorney who can represent you in court and work towards dismissal—not pleading guilty and paying a fine.
I Can’t Afford An Attorney
Maine does not have a formal public defender system, and the state uses contract attorneys to represent people who have been arrested. When you inform the police that you want to meet with an attorney, or you appear in court and explain that you cannot afford an attorney to defend you, one is assigned from the pool of attorneys available.
Peter W. Evans offers his clients affordable prices for legal representation, and also provides simple and convenient payment plans for clients who need representation that fits their budgets. By providing help for you to afford legal fees, we make it easier to hire a qualified Maine criminal defense attorney.
Arrested And Charged? Call Peter W. Evans Immediately
Acting quickly means more control over the proceedings. That’s why it’s important to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately to build a strategy to resolve the case so you can move forward. The time to fight your case is in a jury trial, because it’s much more difficult to undo a conviction, if at all.
Peter W. Evans is Maine’s trusted criminal defense attorney defending Maine residents against criminal charges since 1989. Call today at (207) 747-5114, or use my online contact form to get in touch.
You don’t have to face a criminal charge on your own. But don’t plead guilty or go to court before you speak with a Maine criminal defense attorney who understands the court system and what you’re facing. Our personal attention to each criminal case means you stand a better chance of having your charges reduced, an acquittal, or your case dismissed.