Many different types of drug crimes exist in Maine. The penalties vary widely, too. There are a lot of factors involved in this practice area. Having an experienced drug crimes attorney who
- has an excellent understanding of these extensive drug crime laws,
- has a working understanding of the state prosecutors and court system, and
- has the insight to put together a strategically sound defense
will be the key to a successful outcome in your particular drug crime case. If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact the Law Offices of William H. Ashe.
Types of Drug Crimes in Maine
Maine's Criminal Code, Title 17-A, Chapter 45, governs most drug crimes. Maine Criminal Code, Chapter 45: Drugs There are a number of different types of drug crimes in Maine. Below is a summary of some of these crimes.
Drug paraphernalia is governed by Title 17-A §1111-A. It is a crime where the person who allegedly committed it has in his or her possession any implement that could be used to take or manufacture drugs. Examples include:
- roach clips
- rolling papers.
This crime is typically a Class E crime.
The crime of drug possession is governed in most part by Title 17-A §1107-A. Unlawful drug possession is committed when a person knowingly and intentionally possesses a scheduled drug. The severity of the crime of drug possession depends on the type of drug and the quantity.
To note, possession of marijuana under 2.5 ounces has been decriminalized. But anything over 2.5 ounces is a crime, starting with as a Class 4 crime and increasing to a Class B crime, again depending on the quantity of marijuana.
Furnishing drugs is a crime and is controlled by several sections under Title 17-A. This crime is committed when a person intentionally or knowingly furnishes to another person a scheduled drug, counterfeit drugs, or hypodermic apparatuses. The crime classification can be enhanced if aggravating circumstances are present.
Drug trafficking is also regulated under several sections of Title 17-A. This crime occurs when a person unlawfully sells illegal drugs. The crime is a state crime but is almost always charged as a federal crime. Like other crimes, the severity is dependent on the type of drug and the quantity. Like other drug crimes, drug trafficking charges can also be aggravated under certain statutory-specified situations, e.g., trafficking near a school or selling to a person under the age of 18.
Drug Schedules in Maine
The type of drug crime does not always indicate the seriousness of the offense or, rather, does not indicate the seriousness of the penalties that accompany a conviction of the offense. The sentencing of a drug crime conviction is primarily dependent on the drug schedule, the classification of the offense, and the quantity of the drug.
The following is a summary of Maine's drug schedules:
- Schedule W drugs, which include nonprescription amphetamine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, heroin, cocaine, among others;
- Schedule X drugs, which include hallucinogens or drugs having a depressant effect on the central nervous system (e.g., hashish and mushrooms);
- Schedule Y drugs, which include prescription drugs like codeine;
- Schedule Z drugs, which include marijuana and all prescription and nonprescription drugs other than those in Schedules W, X, or Y.
Collateral Consequences of a Drug Crime Conviction in Maine
With a drug crime conviction, incarceration and fines are not the only penalties – collateral consequences lead to penalties that can follow you throughout your life.
A conviction of a drug crime can mean a criminal record, which means problems finding or maintaining a job or a career. For some of you, you may be in or may want to step your feet into a career that requires a professional license or security clearance –a drug crime conviction can prevent or restrict these types of careers. Drug crime convictions can also impact child custody to your detriment.
Further, if you were convicted of a felony drug crime, you can lose your right to vote and your right to own and use a firearm.
Plus, if this was your first offense, any future crime you are alleged to have committed later will be the subject of harsher sentencing. In some cases, if the future offense is a misdemeanor, it could be enhanced to a felony.
These types of collateral consequences matter because they can really impact the quality of your life. Defending yourself against a drug charge is the best way for you to avoid these types of collateral consequences.
Defenses in Maine to Drug Crime Charges
Drug crimes are defensible – that said, each case is different, and the strength of the defense is dependent both on the facts as much as it is the attorney you retain. Regarding the facts, specifically, a defense will build from whether you are innocent or not and what the nature and circumstances of your arrest are.
William Ashe, a respected drug crimes attorney in Maine, will look into the following issues to help build your defense.
- Were you legally stopped and detained by the police?
- Did the police conduct a lawful search for drugs or other evidence?
- Did the police seize the drugs or other property (e.g., paraphernalia) lawfully?
- Was their probable cause for your arrest?
- Were you read your Miranda warnings?
- Can the state prove the elements of the alleged crimes (e.g., state of mind where you intentionally and knowingly possessed the drug)?
- Is anyone else associated with the drugs?
- Was there constructive or actual possession of the drug?
- Were the drugs on your person or were you simply near the drugs?
- Did you know the drugs were illegal or dangerous, and if so, is there evidence to suggest the same?
- Does laboratory tests confirm the substance is an illicit drug?
- Were proper procedures followed with respect to you generally and the handling of the substance specifically?
Answering these questions is just the start of building your defense to a drug crime charge in Maine.
Contact a Smart, Aggressive Drug Crimes Attorney in Maine
Drug crime cases are fact-specific and each case is always unique. To get a smart, aggressive defense, you need a drug crimes attorney in Maine who has the experience, knowledge, insight, and capability to put together a strong, viable defense strategy. William Ashe can discuss your case with you and outline your options. Contact his office today to learn more.