Maine Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Maine Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you, a family member or friend is under instigation for or charged with a criminal offense,  it is imperative to  search for an experienced, well-trained defense attorney to assist in obtaining the best possible resolution of the matter. In Portland, Maine, that lawyer is Richard S. Berne. His 42 years of hands on experience and his track record in criminal defense cases, white-collar criminal defense cases,  make him the best choice in the Maine, Massachusetts, and New York regions.

Defining Criminal Defense

Federal criminal cases differ greatly from state criminal prosecutions. Federal crimes are prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office in each district of a state. Maine, for example, has US Attorney’s Offices in Bangor, and Portland where its federal district courts are also located. Trying a federal case requires specialized knowledge of federal criminal statutes and criminal procedure. The Law Office of Richard S. Berne is particularly qualified to handle federal criminal matters as a result of Mr. Berne’s experience as an Assistant United States Attorney in New York City and San Francisco early in his career.  Additionally, he has handled countless cases in state courts in New York, Massachusetts and Maine over the past several years.

Maine Federal Crimes Attorney

Violations of US federal laws are investigated by federal law enforcement agents and prosecuted by US Attorneys in federal courts overseen by federal judges.  Criminal conduct which may be charged under federal law includes:

  • Assassination
  • Airplane Hijacking
  • The killing of a federal officer
  • Bank robbery
  • Child exploitation
  • Domestic terrorism
  • Exportation of drugs
  • Extortion
  • Embezzlement
  • Importation of drugs
  • Money laundering
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Perjury
  • Sexual assault
  • Treason
  • Violence at international airports
  • Wire fraud, and more

Maine State Crimes Attorney

In Maine, the following crimes may be prosecuted under state law:

  • MaineCare fraud
  • Abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of patients
  • Homicide
  • Domestic abuse homicide
  • Computer crimes
  • Internet exploitation of children
  • Welfare fraud
  • Environmental violations
  • Crimes against the elderly
  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Larceny, and more

Criminal Forfeiture Actions

As part of a criminal prosecution, the government may seize and seek to forfeit a defendant’s personal property which is alleged to be either an instrumentality or the fruits of a crime.  For example, it may try to forfeit a vehicle that has allegedly be used to transport illegal drugs or money claimed to be drug proceeds. The government may in certain cases file a forfeiture action without charging the owner of the property with a crime.  The Law Office of Richard S. Berne has substantial experience in forfeiture matters and in many cases has obtained the return of some or all of the property sought to be forfeited.

Operating Under the Influence

Under Maine law, an individual is guilty of Operating Under the Influence (OUI) if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol  level of .08 percent or more.  In most cases, the Maine Bureau of Motor vehicles will seek suspension of the driver’s license separate and apart from the criminal case.  Thus  it is possible that an individual’s license will be suspended before the resolution of any criminal charge.

Motor vehicle operators under 21 years of age who are found to have any level of alcohol in their system may lose their license for one year. If the driver refuses an alcohol level test, the license suspension may be for 18 months. If there is a passenger under 21 in the vehicle at the time of the incident, the suspension may be extended for an additional 180 days. Under-age drivers with a BAC of .08 percent or more may also be prosecuted  for OUI.


We have obtained excellent results for clients in numerous federal and state prosecutions.  For example, we represented two individuals charged with serious federal crimes in connection with a widespread federal investigation of illegal fishing for elvers (baby eels) without required licenses.  The elvers were sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in Japan where they are considered a delicacy.  Our  clients received probation and fines while many other defendants who were not represented by our firm were sentenced to incarceration.

Two other clients, who were charged in two different prosecutions for trafficking heroin and crack cocaine, were sentenced to terms of probation while the other three individuals were sentenced to terms imprisonment.

Two clients under investigation for serious federal white-collar crimes avoided prosecution altogether. We also achieved a deferred prosecution agreement and dismissal of all charges in a recent state investigation of a client for theft of computer information.

Law Office of Richard S. Berne – Portland, Maine Criminal Defense Lawyer

Richard Berne’s Portland, Maine law firm believes that engaging in clear communication with clients is one of the most crucial aspects of representing clients in criminal cases.  We take whatever time is necessary to fully understand the details of our clients’ problems as well as the particular personal circumstances that may have contributed to their potential charges.  We also explain fully the procedures entailed in both criminal investigations and potential prosecutions which may result.  Finally we ensure that our clients understand the options available to resolve a case whether by negotiation or by trial.

Call us today to set up your free consultation. If you are arrested or charged with a crime, let our firm get to work on your case as soon as possible.  Providing the best defense possible is our goal.