Guidance on Arrest for a Crime in Maine - Ashe Law Offices

One moment, your life is on track and seems to make sense. The next, all certainty is whisked away and you are facing down unhelpful officers or listening to dire warnings from prosecutors. Being arrested in Maine is often life-changing and rarely for the better, but if you arm yourself with some basic knowledge, you will have a little bit more certainty about what to expect and what to do if you are ever arrested, including:

  • The basic strategies used to defend against a criminal offense.
  • What to expect during your first 24 to 36 hours after being arrested in Maine.
  • The real role of Miranda Rights and when they come into play when under criminal investigation.

What Makes Some Crimes Easier Or Harder To Defend Against?

Unlike a run-of-the-mill theft case where you might be accused of shoplifting, there are many scientific or technical elements to OUI defense cases. For example, there are laws that govern the field sobriety tests that an officer might make you perform and there are scientific protocols for field sobriety testing, which can leave room for an attorney to make a big difference in the outcome of your case.

What’s more, there’s a lot of case law and scientific research related to the chemical testing used in OUI cases. So, whether you were subjected to a blood test or a breathalyzer test, there is a nearly inexhaustible number of things that a criminal defense lawyer can look for to defend against an OUI charge.

Which Crimes Are Most Likely To Get A Jury Trial?

While any crime in Maine could result in a jury trial to make a final judgment of your guilt or innocence based on the evidence, most crimes will be resolved with a plea deal of some kind.

The more serious the consequences and the crime, however, the less likely a deal will be able to be reached. The more severe criminal charges involving grievous harm, lethal force, or deaths carry much greater potential penalties, which means a deal is less likely to be reached, resulting in more trials for such crimes.

For example, a simple OUI charge in Maine is unlikely to go to trial, but a case involving a pedestrian's death because of possible driver intoxication is far more likely to.

What Generally Happens Within The First 24 To 72 Hours After Being Arrested?

Arrests and criminal charges can happen in a number of different ways.

Often, you will be physically brought to a police station, booked with a crime, and there will be a bail set for your temporary release. In other cases, you might just receive a summons and not be arrested; you will just be given a court date instead.

The most important element all these scenarios have in common is the notification that there will be a criminal case against you and with an upcoming court date in the future. Regardless of whether you are being held in jail, whether you were not even arrested, or whether you were arrested and were able to bail yourself out, there is now a criminal proceeding against you.

What Should I Do After Being Arrested Or Charged With A Crime In Maine?

At this point, it is vital to contact a criminal defense attorney. Doing so will allow you to better understand your rights during the legal process and better assess what you are facing.

Sometimes, law enforcement does not tell you very much at all about what you have been arrested for. Therefore, it is important that you reach out to a defense attorney so that you can get accurate information quickly and avoid inadvertently making your situation worse.

After an arrest, hiring a good defense attorney is your best chance at gaining peace of mind in the short term and finding a positive solution in the long term. A lawyer will also help you understand more nuanced aspects of your arrest and defense, such as when your Miranda rights really apply.

How And When Do Miranda Rights Come Into Play When Interacting With Police In Maine?

Miranda rights are verbal warnings that a police officer is supposed to give you when you are being investigated or detained for a crime – but they are only obligated to read you these rights in certain very specific circumstances and settings.

Miranda rights are triggered by two things happening at once: being held in custody and being subject to interrogation. Unfortunately, determining whether or not you are being held in custody is not always as straightforward as it might seem – it is not as simple as having handcuffs placed on you. In any case, if you are both being held in custody and being subject to interrogation, you get the concept of custodial interrogation. This is when you are supposed to have your Miranda rights read to you.

It is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent and have an attorney any time you are the subject of a criminal investigation. This means you do not have to say anything at all to law enforcement and you have the right to an attorney so that you can have legal advice before you make statements– regardless of whether or not you are being held in custody.

The number of people who do not think to exercise their rights is both astounding and depressing. But you must keep this in mind: for better or for worse, police officers have a job to do – and it is not to look out for you as the suspect in their investigation.

Should I Speak To A Police Officer When I Am Under Investigation For A Crime In Maine?

Given the importance of what you have to say and the risks of punishment, you might want to consider talking to a defense attorney before you talk to any police officers. Why? Because, the truth is, they simply do not have your best interest at heart. This does not mean that police officers are inherently out to get you, it just means that it is not their job to look out for your best interests when they are interrogating you.

The number of cases that depend almost entirely on a confession is astounding, especially when so many instances of criminal charges can be avoided by invoking the right to remain silent or the right to speak with an attorney before talking with law enforcement.

On this note, it’s important to make the point that your Miranda rights do not come up nearly as often as television or movies would have you believe. Officers will commonly tell you after they bring you in that they are just speaking to you. They will reassure you that you are not going to jail and are free to leave at any time, laying the framework for the idea that you are not in custody. This also gets you to lower your guard so that you are more likely to make statements that may not be in your best interest.

In any case, the best course of action is to politely refuse to answer any questions and request the opportunity to speak with an attorney before you discuss anything with law enforcement.

What Happens If I Say Something Incriminating To Law Enforcement Officers Before They Read Me My Rights?

Fortunately, a skilled lawyer can often identify any inconsistencies within your case and argue that even if the police officer didn't officially arrest you, the situation was essentially equivalent to being in custody. In such cases, the lawyer can assert that you should have been informed of your Miranda rights.

Regrettably, Miranda rights are frequently not recited if the police officer is investigating a crime without having you in custody. For instance, during an OUI pullover, you aren't initially considered in custody. Moreover, field sobriety testing and chemical testing are deemed non-testimonial, which means Miranda rights don't apply.

It’s important to keep in mind that law enforcement may argue that any statements you make were not the result of interrogation, especially if they claim you weren't actively questioned while in their custody. What’s more, police officers are well-versed in Supreme Court interpretations of Miranda rights and may attempt to navigate around these requirements.

Therefore, it is strongly advisable to refrain from engaging in conversations with law enforcement until you've consulted with a lawyer. This step is crucial to determine whether it is genuinely in your best interest to do so. For more information on What Happens After An 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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