Assault is any form of offensive physical contact or contact which causes injury to another person. Common examples of assaults are punching, hitting, and kicking, as well as grabbing onto another person’s arm or leg. Assault in Maine is a misdemeanor. However assault can become a more serious felony offense or even aggravated depending on other circumstances. An Aggravated Assault in Maine often occurs when tempers flare and a fight escalates uncontrollably. A charge of Aggravated Assault is a Class B felony with significant penalties if convicted.
Although everyone has lost their temper from time to time, not everyone has been charged with Aggravated Assault in Maine under that common circumstance. When mounting a criminal defense tp the charge of Aggravated Assault, you need supportive legal guidance. If you or someone you know is facing a felony charge of Aggravated Assault, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation. I am an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has handled many assault cases, including aggravated assault cases, throughout Maine. I am always happy to meet with you to answer your questions and to put your mind at ease.
As we talk about the details of your case at the free consultation, one of things we will go over is drawing a line in the sand. On our side of the line is your future how you want it to be. On the other side of the line is the State of Maine, with their charges, fines and jail time. Also the repercussions a felony conviction will have on your ability to protect yourself or go hunting, maintain a profession, and ability to support your family.
As your lawyer, we will do everything in our power to stop them from crossing that line and taking your desired future. We will fight for you using all of our passion, conviction and skill.
If you are accused of aggravated assault in Maine, here are a few things you should be aware of:
- How is aggravated assault in Maine proven?
- When does aggravated assault become elevated aggravated assault in Maine?
- What are the fines and penalties if convicted of aggravated assault in Maine?
- Why the public defender is not the right choice?
- How a criminal defense attorney can mount a successful defense to fight aggravated assault in Maine charges?
How is aggravated assault in Maine proved?
Aggravated Assault in Maine has certain facts that must be proven by the prosecution. The Maine Statute, 17-A MRSA §208 gives us guidance on what needs to occur to raise an assault charge to Aggravated Assault in Maine. A charge of Aggravated Assault in Maine can be placed when the attack involves one of the three following aggravating factors:
- Using a dangerous weapon (all firearms as well as other items wielded as weapons)
- The assault results in serious bodily injury
- The character of the attack reveals an “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” such as:
- The number of injuries
- The manner of how the injuries were inflicted
- The use of strangulation
Let’s closely examine what these facts mean
How is use of a dangerous weapon proven?
The state will look to prove if you had a dangerous weapon on your person when the crime was committed. Maine Statute, 17-A §2(9)(A), provides guidance stating “Use of a dangerous weapon” means the use of a firearm or other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which, in the manner it is used or threatened to be used is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury. In reviewing this statute, a couple of take away points need to be considered. First, you did not need to actually use the weapon to cause injury. At some point during the fight you would have had to threaten using the weapon. The weapon also isn’t limited to a firearm. Any object which can be used to produce serious bodily injury – like a knife or a baseball bat – could qualify here.
How is serious bodily injury proven?
The state will examine what happened to the victim and check if the injuries match the guidance from Maine Statute, 17-A §2(23). The statute states “Serious bodily injury” means a bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or loss or substantial impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or extended convalescence necessary for recovery of physical health. In this case, the medical report will be evidence listing what happened to the victim. If the victim was hospitalized, there is a chance bodily injury may be proven at trial.
What makes Extreme Indifference proven?
Here the statute, 17A-§208(C), states “Bodily injury to another under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, the number, location or nature of the injuries, the manner or method inflicted, the observable physical condition of the victim or the use of strangulation. For the purpose of this paragraph, “strangulation” means the intentional impeding of the breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying pressure on the person’s throat or neck.” It is important to note that strangulation is highlighted, so if you placed your hands upon the victim’s throat. The state will use this as evidence to lay an Aggravated Assault in Maine charge.
The elements of an aggravated assault charge include a “state of mind” component, meaning that a person who commits the assault needs to have done so recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally. However, in determining the aggravated nature of the assault, the elements also emphasize how the attack occurred, and the extent of the injuries sustained by the victim.
When does Elevated Aggravated Assault in Maine qualify?
In Maine, there is a class A felony crime called Elevated Aggravated Assault. The Maine Statute, 17-A §208-B, provides us guidance on when a charge of Elevated Aggravated Assault is placed. Elevated Aggravated assault charges will be filed if the Defendant:
- Intentionally or knowingly caused serious bodily injury to another using a dangerous weapon; or
- Engaged in conduct which indicates a depraved indifference to the value of human life and caused serious bodily injury to another by using a dangerous weapon; or
- With terroristic intent caused serious bodily injury to the victim.
There is a subtle distinction between Aggravated Assault and Elevated Aggravated Assault. More or less, Elevated Aggravated Assault combines the factors of Aggravated Assault. So for instance, if a person uses a dangerous weapon and just injures the victim that would be an Aggravated Assault. But, if a person uses a dangerous weapon and causes “serious bodily injury” to the victim that would be Elevated Aggravated Assault.
The fines and penalties of Aggravated Assault in Maine Convictions
A charge of Aggravated Assault in Maine is a Class B felony. In cases of Aggravated Assault in Maine, the maximum penalties for a Class B felony include up to $20,000.00 in fines and up to 10 years jail time.
Why is the public defender not the right choice?
Across the United States, nearly 90 percent of defendants, when faced with a criminal prosecution, remain unrepresented or choose to rely on the services of the public defender’s office to handle their case. There is overwhelming statistical evidence that private attorneys achieve lower incarceration rates, shorter sentences, and greater probabilities that a charge will be dropped or reduced. Often cost is the reason the accused never even consider the possibility of hiring private counsel. The question you should consider is given the risk to your freedom, livelihood, and future. Is the money you save today worth the risk?
I know how to defend clients against Aggravated Assault in Maine charges. I make a point to know the ins and outs of your case. I have built a reputation of aggressively advocating with the district attorney and defending clients in court. If you choose to hire the Nielsen Group, you are more than just another case to us. We put your interests first and in the end, wouldn’t you agree that is more valuable?
How Criminal Defense Lawyer can help fight Aggravated Assault in Maine charges
A charge of aggravated assault in Maine is serious with grave penalties upon conviction. If you are accused of aggravated assault in Maine, you might be very worried about the possible outcomes. What will happen at court? Does the State have enough evidence to prove I am guilty? Will the victim testify against me at trial? What will happen to me if I am convicted? To put your mind at ease, and for an aggressive advocate for your side of the story, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Here are just some of the ways that a criminal defense lawyer would approach your defense:
- Were the requisite “aggravating” factors present in the assault? Within the Maine Statute is that the person who commits an aggravated assault does so in an “aggravated” manner, such as using a weapon, the severity and number of the injuries, or the use of strangulation. If the requisite aggravating factors are not present, then the criminal defense lawyer can challenge whether the assault qualifies as “aggravated.”
- Did the suspect have the correct “state of mind”? Because the elements of the crime include the state of mind of the suspect, if the suspect did not have the required state of mind, this can assist in a defense. At the same time, it is important to recognize that the manner and extent of the actions will be examined to determine whether an aggravating factor exists.
- Did the police investigation violate your constitutional rights? A police investigation into an aggravated assault is usually obtained through witness statements, victim statements, and any physical evidence of injuries sustained by the victim. When the police charge an accused with aggravated assault, it often is because the suspect confessed to committing the attack. Even if the police “get their confession,” they must not step on your constitutional rights in the process. This means being read your Miranda rights before any such confession is made. If the confession was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, then your Assault Defense Attorney can push to have the confession excluded (suppressed) from evidence.
- Did the police miss possible witnesses to their investigation? Sometimes the police do a poor quality investigation. If the police obtain a victim statement alleging the assault, and there are corresponding evidence to support it, sometimes the police do not feel the necessity to interview other possible witnesses in order to make their case to the State’s Attorney for a formal charge. In the defense of the case, I often recommend the services of a private investigator, who can interview any potential witnesses that might have been skipped over in the initial investigation, or to talk to the existing witnesses a second time in order to see if their stories might have changed.
- Does an affirmative defense present itself for your defense? In a criminal case, certain arguments, referred to as “affirmative defenses” can be applied at court to fight the charge directly. In an assault case, an example of an affirmative defense is to argue “self defense” as the reason to explain the assault.
- Is your criminal defense lawyer focused on helping you to avoid felon status? Perhaps the biggest risk when facing a felony charge is the possibility of a felony conviction. If convicted of a felony, you would be designated as a felon. Felons face an uphill road, including employment discrimination due to felon status, as well as other challenges as a result of being a felon. When you have a criminal defense lawyer, your lawyer can fight for a dismissal, an acquittal of Not Guilty, or if circumstances require it, a favorable plea agreement involving a lesser misdemeanor charge in which you would not face life as a felon.
Unified Criminal Docket Procedure Aggravated Assault
Because an Aggravated Assault in Maine is a felony, the first appearance at the Unified Criminal Docket would be an Initial Appearance, at which time bail can be set or modified. Before the defendant can be arraigned, the State must first issue an indictment from a grand jury. After the defendant is indicted, then the defendant can be Arraigned, which is the date when the charge is read to the defendant, and the defendant answers to the charge in the form of Not Guilty.
Depending on when the defendant is Arraigned, their Arraignment can be held at the same time as their Dispositional Conference, which is when the State’s attorney and the criminal defense lawyer discuss the case in order to negotiate a possible resolution outside of a trial. If no acceptable resolution is reached by the end of the Dispositional Conference, then the case would progress to a possible Motion Hearing and Trial.
Based on my review of the State’s evidence, if I feel that any evidence was obtained in violation of my client’s constitutional rights, then I would submit a Motion to Suppress in advance of the pretrial Suppression Hearing. At the Suppression Hearing, the attorneys argue to the Judge, and the Judge makes the final determination whether the evidence can be used at the upcoming trial. The Unified Criminal Docket Trial Exposure would encompass a Jury Selection date as well as a Jury Trial date. At a Jury Trial, the jury determines the ultimate guilt or innocence of the defendant.
Superior Court Procedure Aggravated Assault
As a felony charge, a case for Aggravated Assault in Maine would begin at the County Superior Court. Again, the defendant’s first appearance at court is the Initial Appearance, where a Status Conference date is set. No plea is entered at the initial appearance because the defendant needs to be indicted of the felony charge first by a grand jury. The State has generally six months, or three grand jury cycles, in order to indict a defendant. If the defendant is indicted by the Status Conference date, then the defendant can be Arraigned. If not, then the Status Conference would be a check-in date with the court to make sure that the defendant is meeting all bail requirements.
An Arraignment’s purpose is to have the charges read, and for the defendant to answer Not Guilty. The next important court date is a Docket Call, where the attorneys meet to negotiate a possible resolution to the case without going to a trial. Again, if no resolution is reached that is acceptable to the defendant, then the case would progress to pretrial motions and a trial. A trial is what most people think of when they think about having their “day in court.” Any witness on the Stand at trial is subject to cross-examination by the other side. As a criminal defense attorney, it is my responsibility to cross-examine all of the State’s witnesses for any potential inconsistencies and to bring these inconsistencies to the jury. Ultimately, it is up to the jury whose testimony they find to be most compelling.
Contact a Maine Criminal Defense Attorney
In situations like these, your future and livelihood is at risk. The best next step you can take is to have an advocate counsel you how to navigate the Maine legal system and assure there is minimal impact to your future. There are proven strategies to defending Aggravated Assault in Maine charges. The sooner our legal team becomes involved in the intricate details of case, the more time we will have to do our own fact finding as we help to prepare your defense. Effective action taken by a skilled Maine criminal defense lawyer as soon as the charges are filed by the DA sometimes can result in a lesser charge or in some cases prevent any additional charges from being filed. It is imperative that you contact our firm as quickly as possible after the arrest. It is well worth your time to check out:
If you would like to call us now at (207) 571-8555, we can begin to develop your case strategy.
For More Information
If you liked this article on Aggravated Assault in Maine, you might also find these articles helpful: