FAQs: Top FAQs Clients Ask Criminal Attorneys

If you are charged with a crime in Maine, you likely have a list of questions about the charges against you, the rights you have, the penalties and fines you face, and the defense options you have. At the Law Office of Richard Berne, we understand how overwhelming and stressful this can be, regardless of the severity of the charges you face.

It is critically important to understand all the issues in your case and the essential information you need to properly defend yourself against a criminal charge. Set fort below are Some of the most important answers.

Do I Need A Criminal Attorney?

This is usually one of the first questions that clients ask. There are three main reasons why you will need a criminal attorney, and they are:

  • You have been arrested;
  • You have been to court and have been charged with a crime; or
  • You are under investigation for a crime

Typically, the sooner you retain a criminal attorney to help with your case or investigation, the better the potential results will be. It is a critical mistake to wait to find out what will happen.

What Can I Expect From A Criminal Attorney?

When you meet with a criminal attorney, you should expect to be fully informed about the charges lodged against you. You should also expect the criminal attorney to interview you regarding your personal background and the facts and circumstances related to your case. Finally he or she should advise you of your possible defenses. While no attorney can predict the ultimate outcome, an experienced attorney will ensure that you understand each and every step of  the process you will face. Finally your attorney should be available to answer your questions regardless of how simple or complicated they may be.

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested?

If you are arrested and or charged with a crime in Maine, it is important that you do not resist arrest. You may give the arresting officer your name and any other identifying information, and you may ask for an attorney. However, you should refrain from answering questions about the case until you have consulted with an attorney regardless of a law enforcement officer’s efforts to persuade you otherwise. You may later agree to an interview accompanied by your lawyer if he or she advises you to do so.  It is unlawful for a law enforcement officer to question you once you have asked for an attorney.


Can My Case Be Dismissed If The Officer Did Not Read Me My Rights?

If an officer fails to advise you of your rights subsequent to your arrest or while you are in custody, it could have an impact on your case. These rights, commonly know as “Miranda rights,” include your right to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney. If your rights were not properly read or explained to you, a judge may rule that anything you revealed after you were taken into custody cannot be used as evidence in court.

However, you are only entitled to be read your Miranda rights if you are have been arrested or are otherwise in the custody of law enforcement officers. Whether you are in custody is a complicated issue so the best practice is to refuse to answer questions until you have consulted an attorney.

Can I Go To Jail For A Misdemeanor?

The short answer is Yes. If you are charged with a misdemeanor you can spend up to a year in jail. How much time you may spend in jail will depend on several factors including Whether you have a criminal record and the seriousness of charges you face. There are additional serious consequences of a misdemeanor conviction including having to divulge it on any application you complete in the future.

Do I Have To Pay Restitution For Damaging Property?

Generally speaking, a court will order restitution for any loss a victim of a crime suffers as of the criminal conduct. However, if there is a dispute about the amount, a defendant may request a hearing to determine the actual loss or other damages. During this hearing, the prosecution will have the burden of proving the amount of restitutions it seeks.


The Law Office of Richard S Berne is committed to providing the people of Maine with the most effective defense possible regardless of the type of  charge against him or her. We understand that facing a criminal charge is a potential life changing event and thus we promise to make our best effort to protect our clients’ rights, their livelihoods and their futures.

If you or a loved one have the misfortune of facing criminal charges or are under investigation for alleged criminal conduct please  contact our office today.