In the Aftermath of an Arrest, Initial Court Steps - Ashe Law Offices

If you have been arrested in Maine, chances are you are already under a lot of stress. While it is impossible to know what to expect, it is important to have some idea what awaits you before and during your first Court appearances. This article goes over that initial timeline with the different possible factors that could impact the procedure, including:

  • When your first court date is scheduled, and what it will entail.
  • How the crime you are charged with impacts your court schedule and procedure.
  • Why you should never go to court without an attorney.

I Was Arrested In Maine. When Will I Have My First Court Date?

For people who are arrested, if they are able to make bail , their first court date is typically going to be labeled as an initial appearance/arraignment. That is a simple court appearance where the charges are read out loud in court.

This arraignment hearing ensures you are aware of what you are being charged with and which of Maine’s five classes of crime it falls under (A, B, C, D, or E). This gives you an initial idea of what punishment range to expect. This is not a trial, however you have every right to bring an attorney and exercise your right to remain silent throughout the proceeding.

Later on, you will have the right to a trial where you can confess to or contest the charges against you.

How Will The Type Of Charge Impact My Initial Court Appearance?

In Maine, criminal charges are divided into two categories depending on their severity under the law: misdemeanors and felonies, with misdemeanors being the less serious of the two.

In misdemeanor cases, you can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty during the arraignment hearing. You can also enter a plea of no-contest if the prosecutor agrees, but that is a more complex and nuanced option. Entering that initial plea is all that is supposed to happen during this initial court appearance.

Felony charges will result in a very different initial court appearance experience. Because your case is pre-indictment, you are not going to enter a plea. You will just hear the charge read and then will most likely be free to go, assuming you meet your bail conditions.

Either way, the next potential court appearance for scheduling is likely to be one to three months after your arrest. This scheduling hearing is not a mandatory appearance, however, your lawyer can attend it for you with a not-guilty plea filed in writing.

How Will My Court Schedule Differ If I Was Not Able To Make Bail?

If you find yourself in jail due to an inability to post bail or because a bail commissioner lacked the authority to set bail, Maine is obligated to schedule a court appearance within 28 hours of your arrest, excluding holidays and weekends. This appearance will serve as your arraignment or initial appearance. Subsequently, your next significant court date will be a dispositional conference, typically scheduled one to three months later.

What Is The Dispositional Hearing For After Being Arrested In Maine?

The disposition marks the initial substantial court date where negotiations are anticipated. However, the severity of your crime may impact the likelihood of significant progress being achieved so early in the legal process.

If you haven't secured legal representation by this point, it's crucial to hire or consult with a defense attorney. Doing so allows you to gather as much information as possible about your situation before the court date.

The sooner you engage with an attorney, the greater the influence they can have on the process and the outcome of your Maine arrest – and early legal involvement can be instrumental in both navigating the complexities of the legal proceedings and building a robust defense strategy. For more information on The Aftermath Of A Criminal Arrest In Maine, an initial consultation is your next best step.

William Ashe, Esq Attorney - Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ellsworth Maine - Ashe Law Offices
Call Now To Speak With Attorney Ashe: (207) 813-2935

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