Some clients have asked me the question (What can a Maine Judge consider when determining pre-conviction bail?). Bail in Maine is intended to accomplish two major goals: assure the defendant attends Court (i.e. the defendant does not skip town), and to not get into any more criminal trouble. While bail can be inconvenient, bail should not be impossible to follow.
If you are on bail in Maine, the following conditions are found on every bail bond and are mandatory:
- Commit no new criminal conduct.
- Attend Court as scheduled on the bail bond form.
- Waiver of extradition from a different state back to Maine for purpose of addressing the criminal charge in a Maine court. This is a fancy way of saying that while on bail, you can be brought back to Maine so that the State can prosecute you.
Maine Statute 15 M.R.S.A. Section 1026 outlines the answer to the question (what can a Maine Judge can consider when determining pre-conviction bail?). These factors include:
- The nature and circumstances of the crime charged. The bail conditions will reflect how serious the crime is. While a low level misdemeanor might have personal recognizance (on your honor) as bail, a serious felony might have a hefty cash component plus conditions.
- The nature of the State’s evidence against you. Can the State prove that you committed the crime as charged beyond a reasonable doubt?
- Your personal history and certain significant character traits, including:
- Your physical and mental condition, such as illnesses, disabilities, etc.
- Your family ties to Maine. This gives you an address where you can live in Maine. You would be required to live at the address listed on your bail bond.
- Your social ties to a Maine community, including how long you have lived there. If you have good community connections, then the State will believe that you are not going to flee.
- Your employment history. If you have a job, then you have a good reason to be out on bail.
- Your financial situation. The State considers what you can pay for bail when calculating pre-conviction bail.
- Your personal habits, including history of drug or alcohol abuse. People with substance abuse issues are often provided with bail conditions forbidding possession or use of alcohol or drugs, along with being subject to random searches and seizures to make sure you are adhering to bail. In some cases, mandatory drug and alcohol counseling is a required for bail.
- Your criminal history (or lack thereof). Someone with less criminal history is likely to get easier bail than someone with more convictions.
- Your history of showing up for court dates. Appearing at Court is a big deal. If you do not show up for Court, not only will the Court issue a bench warrant to arrest you, but you probably will not be offered bail again after being arrested.
- Whether you were on similar bail conditions when you were arrested. This would add a new criminal charge of Violating Condition of Release to your woes.
- You previously violated conditions of bail. Violating conditions also includes violating a civil protection from abuse order.
- Whether you pose a danger to the safety of others, which would be measured by a domestic violence risk assessment test. If the assessment reflects poorly on you, this can impact your bail.
- Whether you attempted to obstruct justice by threatening, injuring, or intimidating a victim, prospective witness, juror, or member of the justice system (officers of the court, including attorneys and judges).
As you can see, there are many factors that can be considered when determining pre-conviction bail, and not all of them are clear-cut. Some of them are subjective and open to the discretion of the Judge making the determination. This is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you so that you can get the bail conditions that will work best for you in your case.
Our committed legal team is ready to take immediate action to seek a positive outcome. If you or someone you know needs advice with pre-conviction bail in Maine, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. We will take the time to answer your questions and to put your mind at ease as we work with you to determine a defense strategy.
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If you would like to call us now at (207) 571-8555, we can begin to develop your case strategy.
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