Criminal Cases

Criminal cases are brought by the State against persons accused of committing a crime. The State brings the charge because a crime is considered an offense against society. Normally, the local District Attorney's office represents the State and prosecutes the case against a defendant. If the defendant is found guilty, the penalty may be imprisonment, a fine, probation or other supervised release, or a combination of these. If a fine is assessed, it is paid to the State, not to the victim of the crime. In some cases, however, the judge may also order the defendant to make restitution to the victim for any losses caused by the crime. Regardless of whether restitution is or is not ordered, the victim may recover compensation for the losses by bringing a civil action against the offender.

Criminal offenses are divided by the Maine Criminal Code into classes according to the seriousness of the offense and the penalty.

Resources:

  • If you cannot afford an Attorney
  • Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services is an independent commission whose purpose is to provide efficient, high-quality representation to indigent citizens who are entitled to counsel at state expense under the United States Constitution or under the Constitution or statutes of Maine. The Commission uses assigned private attorneys and contract counsel to provide representation to criminal defendants, juvenile defendants, parents in child protective cases, and people facing involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital who are indigent. The Commission does not provide representation to people in other types of cases, such as divorce, eviction, foreclosure or small claims.
  • Bail - Bail is a sum of money or property deposited by a person (or by that person's family or friends) to assure that accused person comes to court as required. It is not a fine, but it will be forfeited if the person does not appear at court. Bail may be set by a Bail Commissioner who may charge a non-refundable fee as part of the bail setting process. The initial setting and collection of bail is done at the jail where a person is being held after arrest. If you have questions about a specific bail situation, you should contact an attorney and/or the jail. The Maine Department of Corrections maintains a list of the county jails at this link http://www.maine.gov/corrections/faq/jails.htm.
  • Maine Pretrial Services
  • Maine Department of Corrections