I defend people facing criminal charges in many Maine courts including the Androscoggin County Criminal Courts. Androscoggin county still maintains a division between district and superior courts. There are only two criminal courts in the County and I handle cases in both of them:
Androscoggin County Process for Misdemeanor Charges
People charged with misdemeanor crimes will be summonsed for an arraignment date. That’s where a person is informed of the charges and asked to plead guilty or not guilty. The arraignment will normally be in the Lewiston district court, misdemeanor arraignments are not usually held in the Auburn Superior Court. Every defendant who pleads not guilty to a misdemeanor in Lewiston District Court is scheduled for a “Bench Trial.” That is a date for trial in front of a District Court Judge. Every criminal defendant has the right to a jury trial and to get one for a misdemeanor, you must a file a jury trial request (sometimes called JTR) with the clerk of the district court within 21 days of arraignment. That request will transfer the case for further proceedings in the Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn. The case will be scheduled for a conference, for motion hearing if needed, and then for jury selection and trial after that. Failure to file the jury trial request within 21 days amounts to a waiver of your jury trial right.
Androscoggin County Process for Felony Charges
People charged with felonies are also scheduled for initial appearance but all court dates will be in the Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn. Felonies must be presented to a “grand jury” before the charges can proceed and that takes time. People are often not indicted at the time of the initial appearance and so they are not called on to enter a plea on that date. At initial appearance, the judge will tell them what the preliminary charges are and will consider whether bail should be set or modified. The case is then scheduled for a status conference date. Usually the indictment is returned by that date, the arraignment in held and a not guilty plea can be entered. There is then a period of time, normally 21 days, to review the discovery materials and file any motions. The motions will be scheduled for hearing if needed and the case will then have a docket call which is another conference date where the parties can negotiate. If the case does not resolve by agreement, it will be set for jury selection and trial after that. Felony trials in are automatically heard by a jury unless the defendant waives that right and chooses to have a judge hear the case.
How can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
If you are facing misdemeanor charges, your lawyer can enter a not guilty plea for you and avoid your need to attend the arraignment. In fact, your attorney may be able to attend other court dates on your behalf and you might never need to go to court. For felony charges, a lawyer can simplify and streamline the arraignment process. In either case, your attorney can help you understand the process, negotiate with the prosecution, and plan a defense strategy.
For information on a specific case type, please use the menus at the top of the page. Every case is unique and you might not find the information you are looking for on this site or any other. Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss the details. Those conversations are confidential and there is never a fee for initial consultation.
I also handle cases in other locations including York County and Cumberland County criminal courts and occasionally I will take cases in other courts. I also defend Federal crimes charged in the Maine District Court in Portland.