About once a week our Criminal team fields a call from someone who was arrested and wants us to “get the case dismissed” because no one “read (them) me my rights.” Just like criminal cases are not investigated, tried, and decided in one hour like on T.V.; you do not always need to have your “rights” read to you. In fact, the vast majority of police contact does not require an officer to read you any warnings at all. If the police arrest you AND THEN ask questions about a crime you are suspected of, only then do they need to “Mirandize” you. It is perfectly normal to be arrested and never hear anything about your rights.
The “rights” we are talking about refer to your “Miranda Rights.” Miranda v. Arizona from 1966 discusses your right to NOT incriminate yourself in any criminal proceeding. The right to be free from self-incrimination is bestowed upon all of us via the 5th Amendment. If you have ever seen any crime drama, you may know the warning by heart:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
If you refer to my last Criminal blog post, you will know the answer to that last question is NO.
It is extremely rare for a criminal defendant to help themselves by talking to authorities without consulting an attorney. You may, in fact, be innocent, but you are already a suspect, and there is nothing you can say at that point to make them remove the handcuffs. Therefore, say nothing, and ask to speak with an attorney before answering any substantive questions.
Law enforcement might try a variety of tactics to get you to talk (i.e. “You must be guilty if you are not talking”, “If you tell me, I can help you”, etc.) You DO have to answer basic questions of who you are, age, address, etc, but if you are at all in doubt about the situation, say nothing beyond that. Be respectful but protect yourself until you can enlist the help of an attorney. The truth may “set you free”, and a good attorney can make sure your facts get to the right people. Call our experienced Criminal Law team today.
The Constitution of the United States contains something that is referred to as “The Supremacy Clause”. This clause was put in the Constitution to clear up any ambiguity or conflicts that could arise when laws of the State differed from the laws of the Federal Government. In short, any activity that involves marijuana currently is in violation of Federal Law, so why have states, including Maine, continued to publish new rules or to allow new businesses to emerge?
The short answer is opportunity. There are many theories as to why marijuana was made illegal; my personal favorite being that the founding fathers all grew tobacco and didn’t want the competition. With the passing of the Farm Bill and new proposed banking initiatives working their way through the House and Senate, it is logical to see a path to legality. While not official, the Federal Government has been content to leave local marijuana businesses alone if they comply with all local laws (and pay Federal taxes!).
The new draft rules lay out what businesses need to be doing to prepare for application day. While the rules still need to be submitted for comment and approved by the legislator, the time to begin working on your business plan is now.
Compliance is going to control the industry. Given the anticipated demand for licenses, one slip by you or a business partner could find you sitting on the sidelines. Does your ownership group have the right makeup? Are there any “disqualifying drug offenses”? Are all your officers “Residents” as defined by the rules?
There are many issues to consider when starting a marijuana business. If you, or someone you know, want to learn more about the process, please reach out to Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice and set up an appointment with Michael Vaillancourt, or Jake Bowie.
With the new recreational marijuana laws comes new business opportunity. Like any regulated business, entrepreneurs will face many regulatory hurdles. These issues include criminal background checks, licensing, police oversight, advertising and much more. Here, at Ainsworth, Thelin and Raftice, we can help with all aspects of business formation, compliance, and analysis of the laws, but that is just step one.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of iconic brands? Coke, Amazon and Microsoft are all examples of companies that have built a successful brand. There is a short window of opportunity to get out ahead of the pack in Maine. So, while our office can help with all the legal logistics, including regulatory compliance, we will not create a logo, develop operating procedures or help run QuickBooks.
While I can tell entrepreneurs that they cannot use “people, animals or fruits” (not a joke) on their labels, my graphic design skills leave something to be desired. This is where Nucleus-One comes in.
I was fortunate to be able to meet with the owner of Nucleus-One, Jacques Santucci, and Nucleus-One’s Director, Connor Yost. Nucleus-One has assisted to launch marijuana businesses all over the United States. They help with strategy, branding, accounting and much more. Getting into the marijuana field is a capital-intensive endeavor, and this requires that you make your brand standout. Whether you wish to open a retail store, grow and distribute, or are still unsure which direction to go, Nucleus-One can provide your business the direction it needs.
Many Mainer’s are already speaking with lawyers to set up companies and to position themselves for application day. Not as many, however, are focusing on issues that will become important factors for future success.
Most people stopped by a police officer are convinced they HAVE to answer every question put to them. In addition, most of us want to cooperate with Law Enforcement personnel, and we should. Some may even believe that if we are cooperative, they will “give us a break”. Simply put, it does not work that way in an OUI context.
Our men and women in blue do our communities a great service, but they also have a job to do. Some of the tools they use to keep us safe can be confusing, this is not an accident!
In the initial moments of a stop one of the first questions you may be asked is, “On a scale of 1-10, how impaired would you say you are”. DO NOT ANSWER THAT QUESTION!!!
Here’s why: Many people think about a scale of 1-10 and they think the lower the number, the better. In the context of an OUI this is only half true. Police officers know that, in Maine, before a case goes to a jury, the judge will give them a set of instructions as to the law, evidence, and procedure.
A common jury instruction given in OUI cases in Maine says in part: “State law does not prohibit drinking and driving; the question is whether someone was under the influence. A person is under the influence if that person’s senses- their physical or mental faculties-are impaired, however slightly, or to any extent by the alcohol that person had to drink. The State does not need to prove that the person was falling down drunk, the State need only prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person’s physical or mental faculties were impaired however slightly or to any extent by the alcohol that person had to drink.”
Can you now see why ANY answer other than 0 –(ZERO) can be interpreted as an admission that what you drank (or smoked, or injected) has affected you, even a little bit? You may think you did well by saying “3”, when in fact you have literally admitted you are impaired just a bit. Guess what, that is all it takes! The ONLY safe answer here is 0.
We are clearly NOT advocating for people to lie to Law Enforcement, we just want people to know that they have a right to avoid self-incriminating statements. The question seems innocent enough, and it even lets you choose a number! Just remember this question is used daily by prosecutors to point out that the defendant themselves felt impaired, even to a slight degree.
First, DO NOT drive drunk, second, know your rights at all times. The Criminal Defense Team at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice can help you minimize the damage a criminal charge can have on your future, call us today.
Post-divorce dynamic’s are extremely emotional. The threat of “I’m taking you back to Court” often has the same effect as a lit match does on gasoline. Sometimes that is exactly the result someone is looking for. The trouble is, that tone is something that Court’s in Maine are getting very tired of.
Our Family Law team fields daily calls from people who want to return to Court with some “new” information that will surely make the judge side with them. We consistently hear comments like, “My husband is an alcoholic” or “my wife is mentally abusive”. Maybe the claims are true, maybe they are exaggerated, but constantly running to court for modifications can get expensive.
The key phrase in Family Law modification is “substantial change in circumstances“. That may sound simple enough, but it is not. Your former partner may have a conviction for Operating Under the Influence and that means they are unfit and unsafe for your children, right? Well, if the conviction did not involve a child in the vehicle, or serious jail time that made the parent unavailable for an extended period, what is the true impact on the child’s well-being? Many normally responsible people make mistakes, and an anecdotal event does not always translate into parental unfitness.
To establish whether there has been a change in circumstances “substantial” enough to warrant a modification of the existing order, the Court will examine how the stated behavior effects the child or children. The legal standard is “the best interest of the child”. Our Family Law team, headed by John Turcotte and myself, has the experience to know when a “problem” warrants judicial intervention and when other less incendiary options will suffice. At Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice we are always prepared for Court battles, but, more importantly, we know when they are necessary.