A criminal charge of Reckless Conduct in Maine is an example of where the name makes the crime sound different than what the statute says. An average person would think of “recklessness” as being careless or thoughtless. But in the legal definition, Reckless Conduct is creating conditions where someone could get seriously hurt. This article is not discussing Domestic Violence Reckless Conduct or Reckless Conduct with a Dangerous Weapon, such as a firearm.
If you or someone you know is facing a criminal charge of Reckless Conduct, don’t wait. Contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. In this article, I will try to answer the following questions:
- What is an example of Reckless Conduct in Maine?
- What is the statute for Reckless Conduct in Maine?
- How can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
- How does the Court Process for Reckless Conduct work?
- What are some possible outcomes for Reckless Conduct in Maine?
What is an example of Reckless Conduct in Maine?
Here is a fictional story to illustrate an example of Reckless Conduct.
At a protest event, Cliff and a group of friends are taken in by the excitement of it all. They feel they are being heard and the sense of unity when a big group voices a common cause. Walking passed an empty police cruiser on the side of the road, Cliff’s friends get the idea that the police don’t need to use this car. Cliff agrees and they all start shaking and swaying the police cruiser. When they really got the cruiser moving, officers descended and they were all arrested for Reckless Conduct.
What is the statute for Reckless Conduct in Maine?
Reckless Conduct is located under Title 19-A M.R.S.A. Section 211. The elements of the crime of a charge of Reckless Conduct is “recklessly creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person.” Referencing our example, shaking the police cruiser to almost tipping over is creating a risk of substantial injury to others. If they actually flip over the car, it might land on fellow protesters. Or it might hurt the police officers. If there had been an officer inside the car, there was also the risk that Cliff and his friends might get run over by the car if the car is put in gear.
If convicted of Reckless Conduct in Maine, it is a Class D misdemeanor. The sentence would include up to $2,000.00 in fines and up to 364 days jail time.
Reckless Conduct can be Aggravated, which can be charged as a serious felony. 17-A M.R.S.A. Section 213. Here the risk of injury is so intense that it strikes immediate fear into someone. If convicted of an Aggravated Reckless Conduct charge, it is a Class B felony. Sentencing on a Class B felony can include up to $20,000.00 in fines and up to ten (10) years jail time. And, a felony conviction means being designated as a felon for the rest of your life. Felons are prohibited permanently from ever owning or possessing firearms. And a felony will follow you around for the rest of your life.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
Regardless if you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge for Reckless Conduct, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. If you go to Court alone, the District Attorney is not going to just dismiss the case. This means that you need a criminal defense attorney to fight the charge and to advocate aggressively for your interests.
Was there the required state of mind for the charge? For the State to gain a conviction on the charge of Reckless Conduct, the person accused had to have the right state of mind at the time of the incident. If the proper state of mind is not present, then the behavior does not raise to the level of a crime.
Were there mitigating factors to the offense? Assuming that the Defendant has no prior criminal history, this fact can be argued that the Reckless Conduct was not the way the Defendant usually acts.
What is the Court Process for Reckless Conduct under Maine Law?
The Court process for Reckless Conduct in Maine is different depending on whether your charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. All criminal counts go through the Unified Criminal Docket.
If the Reckless Conduct charge was a misdemeanor, then the Court process begins with an Arraignment. If you have a criminal defense attorney, then your attorney can take care of Arraignment for you. After being Arraigned, the next Court date is a Dispositional Conference. The purpose of the Dispositional Conference is for the parties to attempt to reach a resolution by agreement. If no agreement is reached at the Dispositional Conference, then the case proceeds to potential Motion Hearings and Jury Selection/ Trial.
If your criminal defense attorney filed any pretrial motions, then the pretrial Motion Hearing would go forward. An example of a pretrial motion is a Suppression Motion. A suppression motion seeks to limit the scope of evidence allowed to be admitted into evidence at any potential trial. If no pretrial motions are filed, then the next Court date after the Dispositional Conference is Jury Selection and Jury Trial.
Let’s explore when the Reckless Conduct charge was Aggravated as a felony, then there are additional Court procedures. If you are facing a felony, then you cannot be Arraigned until you have been Indicted by a grand jury. Your first court date in a felony case is an Initial Appearance. At the initial appearance, any issues pertaining to bail can be discussed, but you cannot enter any pleas. Once you are formally Indicted, then you can be Arraigned, and the Court process moves forward from there.
What are the possible Outcomes for Reckless Conduct under Maine Law?
Here are the possible outcomes for a charge of Reckless Conduct in Maine:
- Dismissal– in a Dismissal, the District Attorney dismisses the criminal charge in its entirety. A dismissal is the best possible outcome in a criminal case.
- Plea Arrangement– in a Plea Arrangement, the Defendant can agree to a lesser charge.
- Jury Verdict– if a case goes all the way through a Jury Trial, then the Jury decides whether or not the defendant is Guilty or Not Guilty. The Jury determination is the final say on guilt or innocence. If convicted, then the Judge will determine the sentence imposed.
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