Portland, Maine Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with assault, it helps to understand which of several potential charges you may be facing. In Maine there are different classifications of assault based on the alleged conduct, the seriousness of the injuries and the characteristics of the alleged victim.
What are the classifications of Assault in Maine?
As noted above, there are a number of different classes of assault in Maine.
In Maine Criminal Code section 17-A §207, a basic assault charge is defined as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caus[ing] bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another person.” This charge is a Class D misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail.
If you have a prior assault conviction, a subsequent charge may be increased to a Class C Felony Assault, pursuant to section 17-A §1252 (4-A).
Class B Felony Aggravated Assault. According to Maine Criminal Code section 17-A §208, an assault may be charged as a Class B felony if any of the following factors exist:
- Bodily injury caused by use of a dangerous weapon;
- Causing bodily injury to another individual “that creates a substantial risk of death or extended convalescence necessary for recovery of physical health” or “serious, permanent disfigurement or loss or substantial impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ”; or
- Causing bodily injury to another “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.” Circumstances such the number, location and nature of the injuries, the manner by which they are inflicted or the use of strangulation are factors that may result in this charge.
Maine Criminal Code 17-A §208-B, defines the Class A Felony Assault charge, known as Elevated Aggravated Assault. The critical element of this charge is causing serious bodily injury which occurs as the result of the following:
- The use of a dangerous weapons;
- Engaging in conduct that manifests an indifferent to the value of human life;
- Acting with terroristic intent as defined in Maine Criminal Code 17-A §2(25).
What are the consequences of assault?
If you are convicted of a basic misdemeanor assault, you may be sentenced to up to three hundred and sixty-four days in jail, a fine of at least three hundred dollars, and/or probation for up to a year.
If you are convicted of a Class C Felony assault, up to you may be sentenced up to five years in jail. If your sentence exceeds nine months, it must be served in a state prison. The sentence may also include a fine between three hundred and five thousand dollars and/or a term of probation of up to two years
A conviction for a Class B felony assault may result in a sentence of up to ten years in jail, a fine as high as twenty thousand dollars and probation.
If convicted of a Class A Felony Assault, you may be sentenced to up to thirty years in jail, a fine of up to fifty thousand dollars and/or a term of probation.
What are common defenses to assault charges?
Your lawyer will be able to talk to you about some possible defenses that you might want to consider for your trial.
It can be hard to prove assault. The prosecutor must prove each and every element of these charges beyond a reasonable doubt including that you intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly injured another person. Thus if you accidently or simply negligently injured someone an assault charge would not be
Self-defense is another common defense. There are times when causing bodily harm is justified. Were you defending yourself or your family? Was your home being threatened? However, the amount of force that you use in defending yourself or others must be relatively similar to the force you are defending against. For example, in fending off an attacker without a weapon by discharging a firearm may be considered excessive for
Entrapment and duress are other common defenses to assault charges.
Assault charges are serious with serious consequences. Thus it is important to engage experienced lawyer such as Richard S. Berne to represent you should you face such allegations. We are committed to providing the most effective defense strategies to obtain the best outcome, whether by negotiation or trial. If you are in legal trouble, please do not hesitate to contact us.