Most of us have gotten a speeding ticket before. A garden-variety speeding ticket is a civil traffic violation. When you want to contest a civil speeding ticket, you return the ticket with the box checked indicating you wish to have a hearing. When the hearing is held, you can attempt to negotiate an agreement to make the speeding ticket go away. If you lose, the worst thing that can happen is that you have to pay a fine. You would only encounter something more severe if another speeding ticket would result in too many demerit points and a license suspension, or you have so many speeding tickets that you would become designated as a Habitual Offender. However, these would be the extremely rare cases.
While most of us are familiar with your average speeding ticket, fewer have encountered a speeding ticket that can result in a criminal conviction. That is what Criminal Speeding in Maine is. When facing a charge of Criminal Speeding, it is important to think of it as something far more serious than “just a speeding ticket.” In contrast to demerit points on your driving record, criminal convictions on your permanent record can have a potentially negative impact on your life over the long term.
If you or someone you know is facing charges of Criminal Speeding in Maine, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Nielsen will take the time to answer your questions and put your mind at ease.
If you are accused of criminal speeding in Maine, here are a few things you should know:
- What is criminal speeding in Maine?
- What are the fines and penalties of a criminal speeding violation
- What if I was also accused of an OUI and criminal speeding in Maine?
- What happens to the cost of my car insurance?
- Why is a public defender not the right choice?
- How can a criminal defense attorney help fight criminal speeding in Maine charges?
What is Criminal Speeding in Maine?
In practical terms, Criminal Speeding in Maine occurs when you drive 30 miles or over above the posted speed limit. For example, with a posted speed limit of 65 mph, Criminal Speeding in Maine would be 95 mph or over. A criminal complaint alleging Criminal Speeding in Maine from the District Attorney must “specify the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have operated a motor vehicle.” Usually the police measure your speed using radar. As with all crimes in Maine, the burden of proof is on the state to prove the charge of Criminal Speeding in Maine.
The Maine Statute, 29-A M.R.S.A. §2074 (1-A)(3), provides guidance for Criminal Speeding in Maine. In order to be convicted of criminal speeding, the state needs to prove:
- What is the Maximum Speed in the Area?
- How you exceeded the maximum speed by at least 30 miles an hour or more.
- That in fact, you were operating the motor vehicle
Let’s take a hard look at the each of the details.
How is the Maximum Speed Proven?
In most cases, the Maximum Speed is identified by the speeding limit sign. The Maine Statute, Title 29-A §2074, regulates the Rates of Speed. If there was an issue with the signage, it is the responsibility of your lawyer to point out the problem.
How is the vehicle’s speed proven with a criminal speeding in Maine charge?
Under the law, the prosecution has the burden of proof to show how fast you were driving. The Maine Statute, Title 29-A §2075, gives guidance on how to prove speed measurement in criminal speeding in Maine. Measurement can be taken from one of three techniques:
- Radar: A radar speed gun is basically a Doppler radar unit which is either hand-held or vehicle mounted. It measures the speed by identifying a change in the frequency of the returned radar signal cause by each successive radar wave hitting the vehicle. Basically it uses some funky science calculating the Doppler Effect.
- An electronic device which measures speed by lasers or radiomicrowaves: Most common is the modern LIDAR speed gun which uses pulsed light. This device allows police to measure the speed of a single vehicle within traffic.
- A device which measures how far was traveled in what length of time compared to the average time to travel that specific distance. Commonly this technique is either pacing or aircraft speed detection. With aircraft speed detection, your speed is calculate by how quickly you traveled between two highway markings.
In Maine, these three techniques are considered sufficient evidence to prove the crime, so the rebuttal is placed upon your criminal speeding defense lawyer.
You were operating the motor vehicle
For a criminal speeding in Maine Charge, the state needs to identify you were the individual driving the vehicle.
The Fines and Penalties of Criminal Speeding in Maine
Criminal Speeding in Maine is a Class E misdemeanor,. A Criminal Speeding in Maine conviction carries a maximum penalty including up to $1,000.00 in fines and/or up to six (6) months (180 days) jail time. Some may consider it shocking that there could be jail time associated with speeding! But if the accused was clocked at speeding over 100 miles per hour on radar, then some District Court Judges require jail time as a part of the penalty.
If you are convicted of Criminal speeding (or if you plead nolo to criminal speeding), there are some downstream consequences.
- Maine Driver’s License Suspension: The Secretary of the State will notify the Bureau of Motor Vehicles of the conviction. This triggers at least a 30 day administrative license suspension.
- Habitual Offender Status: a conviction for Criminal Speeding is one of the convictions that would be counted towards a potential Habitual Offender status. A person becomes a Habitual Offender after three (3) serious motor vehicle-related convictions within a five (5) year period. When a person becomes a Habitual Offender, their driving privileges are revoked.
Criminal Speeding and OUI
Let’s say when you were arrested for criminal speeding in Maine, you were also accused of a Maine OUI. One of those is additional jail time for first Maine OUI Offenders. If this is your first Maine OUI, normally there is no jail time. However, if you were going over the speed limit by at least 30 miles per hour, you will face a minimum of 48 hours of incarceration.
Criminal speeding and Car Insurance
Having a clean driving record is a money saver. Having a driving record that has some citations can mean hundreds of extra dollars out of your pocket for the next several years. A single criminal speeding conviction can boost your insurance premiums from 15 percent to as much as 22 percent, according to an analysis of over 490,000 policy quotes conducted by Insurance.com. As criminal speeding is assessed by the auto insurance industry once you are convicted you will need to budget for some added car insurance expenses. An attorney can help you fight the charges to avoid conviction of this offense.
Why is a public defender not the right choice?
You may have been offered a public defender to represent you with your charges of criminal speeding in Maine if the State is requesting a jail sentence. This service may be offered at no expense to you. The question is should you choose them or should you invest in a criminal speeding defense attorney?
With public defenders, they have a significant case load which is difficult to balance. Given the overloading volume of work, what happens when anyone is overloaded with work can occur. The question you need to ask yourself is given the risk to your freedom, livelihood and future. Is the money you save today worth the risk?
At the Nielsen Group, not only does Attorney Nielsen know the law. He will know the ins and outs of your case. Attorney Nielsen will be your aggressive advocate in negotiating with the district attorney and defending you 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 a Criminal Defense Lawyer can Help Fight Criminal Speeding in Maine Charges
Because Criminal Speeding in Maine is a criminal charge, you will need a Maine criminal defense lawyer to help you keep the criminal charge from going on your record. Some areas of attack your lawyer should pursue in your defense include:
Was an accurate measurement of speed taken?
Criminal Speeding in Maine often boils down to radar evidence or a clocked rate of speed from an aircraft. What speed was clocked on the radar? In most Criminal Speeding cases I have represented, the officer has already obtained a speed measurement on radar before pulling over the accused. Generally, radar evidence is considered reliable and can help the State make its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is no radar measurement, then usually the speed measurement is derived from clocking the rate of speed from an aircraft. If the radar was not functioning properly or if the clocked rate of speed was calculated incorrectly, then the most significant element of a Criminal Speeding charge in Maine would be missing. With essential evidence lacking, the State might not be able to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
Did you make any admissions regarding how fast you were going?
After being pulled over, the officer might ask you how fast you thought you were going. This is not a fact-finding question, but a question designed to get you to admit to how fast you were going. Needless to say, but this is not the time to try to “talk” your way out of a speeding ticket, because you are not dealing with a civil ticket but a criminal charge. In Criminal Speeding, admitting to how fast you were going would be the same as a criminal confession.
Will the criminal defense attorney advocate aggressively for a better resolution than just “pleading guilty”?
Because a Criminal Speeding charge is a low-level misdemeanor, you might be tempted to treat it like a civil speeding ticket and just “plead guilty and pay the fine.” Because of the criminal consequences, your criminal defense lawyer should advocate aggressively for a better outcome. Often, Criminal Speeding charges in Maine are resolved involving the following variables:
- Defensive Driving Course. In plea agreements for Criminal Speeding, the State can require that the defendant complete a defensive driving course as a part of an overall plea bargain. The purpose of the defensive driving course is intended to help the defendant appreciate the risks associated with speeding along with other forms of reckless or careless driving.
- Community Service. Community Service is volunteering for a nonprofit organization for a number of hours required by the State, and is usually associated with a plea arrangement. By performing community service, doing something good for the community, the accused can make up for the offense. In Maine, the defendant gets to choose at which nonprofit organization to perform their community service requirement.
Court procedure for Criminal Speeding in Maine
Unified Criminal Docket Court Procedure
If your Criminal Speeding case is scheduled for a first court date in Portland or Bangor, your court procedure would be that of the Unified Criminal Docket. Your first court date would be an Arraignment, where the charges are outlined and you answer Not Guilty to the charge. After Arraignment, the next court date at the Unified Criminal Docket is the Dispositional Conference. At Dispositional Conference, the State’s lawyer and the criminal defense lawyer have a chance to negotiate a possible resolution without going to a Trial. In my experience, most Criminal Speeding cases in Maine are resolved at the Dispositional Conference. If no resolution is reached, then the case would progress to a trial.
A trial is what most people think of as their “day in court.” It is a rare occasion if a criminal speeding case reaches this stage. This is because of the fact that radar is considered to be reliable evidence, and if the State has radar evidence showing that the defendant was speeding 30 miles over the posted speed limit, then the State has met its burden. When the State has a strong case, it is generally not recommended for the defendant to pursue a trial. In criminal speeding cases, the best outcomes arise from the Dispositional Hearing and would not arise out of a trial.
District Court Procedure
Because Criminal Speeding is a misdemeanor criminal charge, the case would start out at the Maine District Court. The first court date at the District Court is an Arraignment, which is usually provided on the criminal Summons or your bail bond. At Arraignment, the details of the charge are read to you and you have the opportunity to answer to the charge in the form of Not Guilty. If you have already hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent you, then you would not have to attend Arraignment in person.
At the District Court, your next court date is a Bench Trial, which is a trial held in front of a Judge. Before the Bench Trial, the lawyers have an opportunity to meet to discuss a possible agreement to resolve the case without going to trial. Usually, in Criminal Speeding cases, the State can reach an agreement when the defendant would stay out of trouble and meet a few requirements in exchange for a civil speeding ticket instead of the criminal speeding charge. If no agreement is reached, then the Bench Trial would move forward, and the Judge would determine whether or not you are guilty or not guilty.
Contact a Maine Criminal Defense Attorney
In situations like these, your ability to drive is at risk. It is important that you take swift action 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 Criminal Speed 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 speeding 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. Whether this is a single offense or combined with a first Maine OUI Offense, 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.
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