The State of Maine takes Domestic Violence crimes seriously. These charges include DV Assault, DV Criminal Threatening, DV Terrorizing, DV Stalking, and DV Reckless Conduct. Domestic violence cases are treated with great concern by each Maine District Attorney’s Office. Domestic Violence Terrorizing is categorized as a domestic violence crime in Maine.
A conviction for Domestic Violence Terrorizing has short-term and long-term consequences.
Short term consequences include:
- potential fines
- jail time
- required batterer’s intervention programs
- being subject to mental health and/or substance abuse evaluation and/or counseling
Long term consequences include:
- a permanent criminal record for domestic violence
- loss of your Second Amendment rights to use or possess firearms
- the social stigma of being considered a domestic batterer
A charge of domestic violence terrorizing is serious. It is not advised to try to handle the case at court without the assistance of a domestic violence defense lawyer. A domestic violence attorney will listen to your concerns, develop a defense strategy and to help put your mind at ease. Contacting the Nielsen Group today is a valuable first step in fighting these serious charges.
Let’s take a moment to review what you can anticipate if you are accused of a domestic violence terrorizing offense and what you can do to help in your defense:
- How does Maine Law define domestic violence terrorizing?
- How can a domestic violence defense lawyer help?
- What are the possible outcomes in a domestic violence terrorizing case?
If there were any questions that we do not answer in this article, please feel free to contact us.
Story About Domestic Terrorizing in Maine
Barry and Darla live in Biddeford. Darla works odd hours at the local hospital as a medical technician. Barry does shift work when he can at a nearby manufacturing business. They had been dating for a few months, and had moved in together recently to save on rent. Barry’s truck did not pass inspection, and so Darla has been driving Barry to and from work. It was a day where Darla had finished her shift and had only an hour or so to get Barry to his shift on time. Since they needed to go buy groceries, Darla wanted to do this before dropping off Barry at work. Barry was against this because this would only make him late for his shift. If he was late for his sift, he would lose his job. Barry was already on edge because his car needed repairs and he did not have time to get it fixed.
In the Hannaford parking lot, Darla noticed that they had left a grocery bag behind. She asked Barry to go back inside the store to get the bag, and Barry became upset. The argument quickly escalated to the point where Darla felt unsafe and began dialing emergency on her phone. Another person in the parking lot overheard Barry yell something to Darla that sounded like “If you call the police now I am going to break your neck!”
Barry did not make his shift that evening. A police car pulled over Darla and Barry as they exited the Hannaford parking lot, and began an investigation for reported Domestic Violence. Barry was charged ultimately for a First Offense Domestic Violence Terrorizing.
Statute for Domestic Violence Terrorizing
Maine Statute 17-A M.R.S.A. Section 210-B defines Domestic Violence Terrorizing as when the victim is a “family or household member” and the person commits the crime of Terrorizing. Terrorizing is when a person “communicates to any person a threat to commit or to cause to be communicated a crime of violence dangerous to human life…” In this case, the crime that Barry threatened that he could commit would be breaking Darla’s neck, which could be charged as Aggravated Assault.
Maine’s definition of a family or household member includes generally a family member or a person whom you have dated or had a sexual relationship with. This includes who you date now and who you dated in the past. Even a casual dating relationship can be characterized as a family or household member under Maine law.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Terrorizing Charge
A first offense for a charge of Domestic Violence Assault is a Class D misdemeanor.
|Fine||Up to $2,000 fine
(plus fees and surcharges)
|Jail Time||Up to 1 year|
|Time Served||Up to 364 days in jail|
Once convicted of your first domestic violence charge, you may never own firearms or ammunition again.
Additional domestic violence charges bring felony penalties. A second domestic violence offense is a Class C felony. The maximum penalties for a Class C felony can include up to $5,000.00 in fines and up to five (5) years jail time.
If convicted of a felony crime, you are designated as a felon.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
The Maine Legislature takes a tough position on domestic violence offenders. The District Attorney’s Office receives federal grants for the prosecution of domestic violence cases. The District Attorney is motivated to prosecute DV crimes and will not negotiate a plea deal with you without a criminal defense lawyer in your corner.
A domestic violence criminal defense attorney can help in many ways, including:
- Addressing Concerns regarding Bail- All domestic violence cases in Maine share similar bail conditions. For example, no contact with the victim in the case. In some cases, bail conditions of no contact prevent you from being able to go home. A criminal defense lawyer can motion the Court to change your bail so that you can go home or at least have some level of contact. If you are being held in jail, your Attorney can help get you released on bail. You can do a lot more to help the outcome of your case if you are not being detained at jail awaiting trial.
- Advise on whether to Hire a Private Investigator- in many domestic violence cases, the only witnesses to the event are the victim and the defendant. Over time, people’s memories of the event can change. A Private Investigator could re-interview the witnesses to check on whether any stories have changed over time. A private investigator can also perform background checks on other individuals involved in the case. The presence of any crimes involving dishonesty would be very important for the defense.
- Negotiate skillfully with the District Attorney’s Office – A significant portion of defending Domestic Violence cases is negotiating a resolution with the District Attorney’s Office. Negotiating at this level involves significant knowledge of the law, as well as knowing the District Attorneys themselves as people and as professionals,
- Advise whether to Pursue a Trial- You always have the right to a trial when facing criminal charges. But, depending on the unique facts of the case, you might want to have your day in your court, or you might not want a jury to hear about your dirty laundry. A criminal defense lawyer can help you find out what is the best course of action for you.
Most importantly, your criminal defense attorney can help you through the Court process. For more information about the court process, please refer to my article about the Maine Unified Criminal Docket.
Possible Outcomes for DV Terrorizing
Because the State of Maine takes domestic violence cases so seriously, it is often unlikely that the District Attorney will agree to dismissing the case out of hand. Here are some possible outcomes for a Domestic Violence Terrorizing Charge in Maine:
- Plea Agreement. In a Plea Agreement, the District Attorney might offer that the Defendant plead guilty to a different charge or offer to plead guilty to a less severe charge. For example, in a Domestic Violence Terrorizing case, the District Attorney could choose to drop the domestic violence language from the Terrorizing charge. Or, the District Attorney could introduce a different charge altogether, such as Disorderly Conduct, which is not a domestic violence related crime.
- Filing Agreement. In a Filing Agreement, the State agrees to set aside a case for a period of time pending the defendant’s good behavior. If the Defendant stays out of criminal trouble, then the State would agree to dismiss the charge with no further court dates.
- Deferred Disposition Agreement. A deferred disposition agreement is when the State accepts a guilty plea, and then determines sentencing at a later date. During a period of good behavior, a defendant is required to meet certain requirements. In domestic violence cases, the requirements can include completion in a Certified Batterer’s Intervention Program (CBIP), or remaining on bail conditions during the deferred disposition period. If successful, then the defendant gets the benefit of the agreement, usually a dismissal or a conviction to a lesser charge. If unsuccessful, then the defendant is convicted of the crime pled guilty to at the outset.
- Jury Verdict. A jury verdict is when the jury decides whether you are guilty or innocent of the charge. A verdict is the outcome of a trial.
For More Information:
The following articles can also be helpful understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Maine: