Criminal Law in Maine
Maine criminal offenses are categorized by “class.” People often speak of crimes in terms of misdemeanors and felonies, but in Maine crimes are no longer categorized that way. Traditionally, a felony is a crime punishable by one year or more of imprisonment and a misdemeanor is a crime punishable by less than a year of imprisonment.
Maine categorizes crimes as follows:
- Murder, minimum 25 years in prison, maximum of life;
- Class A, up to 30 years in prison, a $50,00.00 fine and 4 years of probation;
- Class B, up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000.00 fine and 3 years of probation;
- Class C, up to 5 years in prison, a $5,000.00 fine and 2 years of probation;
- Class D, up to 364 days in jail, a $2,000.00 fine and (in certain instances) 1 or 2 years of probation; and
- Class E, up to 6 months in jail, a $1,000.00 fine and (in certain instances) 1 year of probation.
Maine’s Class A, B and C crimes are what are often referred to as felonies, and Class D and E crimes are what are often referred to as misdemeanors.
The vast majority of Maine crimes are defined in Titles 17-A and 29-A of the Maine Revised Statutes.
Title 17-A is the Maine Criminal Code, defining the bulk of Maine’s non-traffic criminal offenses, from disorderly conduct, to sex crimes, to murder. Title 29-A contains Maine’s motor vehicle statutes and defines crimes such as OUI, operating without a license, operating after suspension and operating after habitual offender revocation. Convictions of Title 29-A crimes often involve suspension or revocation of a person’s driver’s license in addition to fines and/or incarceration.
Criminal convictions often also carry collateral consequences.
For instance, a conviction may have a detrimental effect on employment prospects. Non-citizens may be deported or barred from re-entering the U.S. because of certain types of criminal convictions. U.S. citizens may find that convictions of certain crimes interfere with their ability to travel to Canada. Convictions of certain domestic violence crimes and convictions of Class A, B and C crimes result in loss of the right to possess firearms. Convictions of certain crimes may interfere with a person’s prospects for military service. These and other collateral consequences of criminal convictions underscore the importance of having an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney to counsel and assist you in your defense if you are charged with a crime.