Early Action To Project Your Rights
OUI Alcohol/Drugs Defense Win
Chris Leddy recently won a motor vehicle hearing for a client charged with an ‘OUI Alcohol/ Drugs.’ The client avoided having an OUI offense on their record, a significant victory. These hearings are not often won by the defense, and many drivers do not even challenge the motor vehicle suspension. Chris routinely asks for a hearing for every one of his OUI clients to preserve the opportunity to challenge the State. Early action is vital to protecting your rights. The following analysis shows why contacting Chris early on can make all the difference in keeping your license.
The typical notice sent to a driver charged with an ‘OUI Alcohol/ Drugs’ looks like this:
The issues at the hearing are whether, by a preponderance of the evidence:
1. There was probable cause to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a specific category of drug, a combination of specific categories of drugs or a combination of alcohol and one or more specific categories of drugs;
2. You operated a motor vehicle with a confirmed positive blood or urine test for a drug or its metabolite; and
3. You operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of the confirmed drug.
As you can see from the notice, the State is using a “shotgun” approach to the proof required to suspend someone charged this way. They only have to show a category of drug, a combination of categories, or a combination of alcohol and categories of a drug. The reports will contain terminology like: CNS depressants, opiates, amphetamines, and carboxy-THC. Most likely these will be discovered by testing a sample of your urine. The trouble is, urinalysis only tells you that the body has processed that substance or something like it, it says NOTHING about when or how much it processed. The State does not have to prove with great specificity what it is you ingested or what is working to impair you, in fact it can simply prove a “category” of drug was in your system at some point. Not exactly sharpshooting here, but they don’t have to be precise to take away your license!
Any or all of these grounds can be proven by a PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE. That is far lower than the standard of proof in a criminal case: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. While the standard of proof is far lower, the consequences to you as a driver are the same, you cannot legally drive. How many people can afford not to drive?
The State always has to show that a driver is “under the influence” of a category of drug, alcohol, or a combination of both to suspend you. The fact is, only alcohol has proven levels of impairment that correlate to tests that they can readily provide as proof. The legal limit is .08 BAC in Maine, and most people will exhibit some form of impairment at that level. Some BAC results are so high that challenging impairment is not a good idea, but you need to be represented by someone who understands the process, the mechanisms, and the pitfalls. Part of the reason we were successful with the client in this example was that Chris was more familiar with the testing guidelines than both of the officers who investigated our client. These opportunities may not occur often, but you need counsel who can exploit the weaknesses in the proof when possible.
With the new marijuana laws coming into effect, it will be more and more important to make the State prove impairment by reliable and objective means. Urinalysis, mentioned above, can only reveal metabolites of substances. The simple fact that someone tests positive for the metabolite of a specific drug category has absolutely NO correlation to impairment. A metabolite is what’s left after your body processes a substance and those metabolites can linger for days or weeks, long after the drug had any effect on you, and even further from when it may have impaired you. An experienced attorney can expose weaknesses in the collection and analysis of evidence from the police officer. Please call Chris at 207-767-4824 or contact us through our secure portal to discuss your case and learn more about the importance of obtaining legal counsel early on.
HINDSIGHT IS 20/20
NOTHING IS AS EXPENSIVE AS REGRET
We have all heard these quotes before but how do they connect to Family Law? It’s simple really; neither of them does you any good because they refer to lessons learned AFTER the fact.
Family dynamics are fluid and complex in the best of times, when you look at them in the context of a divorce or parental rights matter they become frightening. Nobody is at his or her best when in the midst of emotional, financial, and logistic upheaval. A great deal of stress and instability can be avoided, but that requires a clear head. An attorney who can logically sort through the problems you are facing, prioritize them and focus your efforts on the truly critical issues can make a painful process manageable.
The right Attorney can make sure you never apply these quotes to your own experience. At our firm Family Law is not about “winning” it is about seeking a compassionate and logical compromise that allows a family to efficiently move on to “real life”. We encourage you to call and speak with us, get a feel for how we approach our client’s cases and see if we are a good fit for you. Let our experience guide you to a just and efficient result. We all have situations where the two quotes above apply, but we can make sure they don’t have any connection to your Family Law litigation.
2/28/15 – Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice was the GenGold featured business at Norway Savings Bank Waterman Drive Branch for February 2015. A few pictures from the display are below:
One of many reasons to have the right attorney!!
If you own property near a lake or pond in Maine, odds are good
that you or a neighbor has an easement. So common and yet so misunderstood, easements can be one of the most frequent sources
of real estate disputes.
Strictly speaking, an easement is a right to do something on someone else’s property. An easement does not confer ownership rights; rather it grants the ability to perform some act on the property. While often called “rights of way,” easements are not restricted to crossing over the property of another. It could be the right to seasonally farm or mine, it could be a shared driveway; it could grant the right to pass and repass over the land of the grantor to access a lot, a beach, or a shared dock.
While many easements can be located by researching the title to your property, many others cannot. There are multiple kinds of easements recognized by Maine law and most do not have to be recorded at the registry of deeds. Easements by agreement, easements by estoppel, prescriptive easements, and easements by implication are all created by conduct and by the history of the use of the land. These are likely to be unknown to a new purchaser, but are no less binding than an easement recorded in the registry of deeds. Likewise, longtime residents can find themselves embroiled in a dispute with new owners when the easements rights, never reduced to writing, are ignored or contested.
This is Maine: When the easement was created, everyone knew what the agreement was and exactly where the right of way was located. Over time, the specifics of that original agreement become lost. Even when reduced to writing, it is not at all uncommon to find that the language in the deeds is vague and unclear to modern readers. While all the original grantors knew where the “path to the beach” was when they first set pen to paper, the land has changed. Perhaps it has been developed; the right of way no longer hugs a rock wall at the
edge of a pasture; it cuts through the middle of a hoped-for housing development.
And what of the person who owns the land over which the easement crosses? What can he do with his property? Can he build on his property? Maintain a fence? Can he park on it? When trying to make use of his own property, is he restricted in what he can do? The answer will depend on the specific facts creating the easement rights. Like much of the law, the correct answer may defy “common sense.”
We can help. I’m a Windham native. At Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A., we have been helping property owners negotiate the tricky waters of easements for more than a quarter of a century. We have resolved easement
and property disputes throughout Southern and Coastal Maine. We are also the legal agent for hundreds of Maine companies. If you, your clients, family, friends, or neighbors need a problem solved, please call us.
~ John Turcotte, Attorney at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A.