As a federal drug trafficking defense attorney, I see the damage caused by harsh drug sentencing guidelines. Reductions in those guidelines have been approved and are set to take effect this fall. In Maine, federal courts are already using the reduced drug distribution guidelines. But will these reduced federal drug sentences be applied retroactively? The U.S. Sentencing Commission held a hearing Tuesday, June 10, 2014 to consider that very issue. At the hearing, the U.S. Department of Justice came out in support of some limited retroactivity.
Maine criminal law classifies offenses into class A, B and C felonies and class D and E misdemeanors. The maximum sentence is determined by the class of crime. Our state has relatively few mandatory minimum penalties and there are no rigid sentencing guidelines to dictate the range of sentences. Judges in Maine have a lot of discretion to set the appropriate sentence and that means it’s possible to get a good sentence even if there are no good defenses. This article will discuss the sentencing system in general. Articles on specific crimes are linked throughout and those cover sentencing issues particular to that crime.
Probation is not generally available for Class D or E misdemeanor charges in Maine. However, the statute does allow probation for a limited number of misdemeanor crimes. The following is a list of of those crimes with links to the relevant statutes. For more information about Criminal Sentencing in Maine, click the link. [Read more…]