Crimes against the person are any offenses that involve some harm or injury to another person. These offenses range from the most serious of offenses—murder—through assault and threatening or reckless conduct. Although these crimes generally involve inflicting physical harm, some don’t require violence, actual physical harm, or even physical contact. The harm may be entirely verbal in nature or the charge may be simply creating the risk of harm. With stiff penalties if convicted, it’s imperative to contact an attorney experienced in this type of defense.
Murder has three definitions:
- Intentionally causing the death of another
- Causing death of another through a depraved indifference to human life
- Intentionally or knowingly causing another to commit suicide
Murder carries a minimum sentence of 25 years, and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Maine does not have parole, nor does it have the death penalty.
If a person is involved in the commission of another felony (murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, gross sexual assault) or escaping from committing another felony, and either the person or someone else involved causes the death of another, the person could be guilty of felony murder. That means that if, for example, two friends rob a gas station and one of the friends accidentally shoots the clerk, both could be charged with felony murder.
Felony murder is a Class A felony carrying up to a 30-year sentence.
Manslaughter is a “lesser included” offense of murder. This means that rather than acting with the intent necessary for murder, if a person causes the death of another either through reckless or criminally negligent behavior, or while under the influence of extreme anger or fear resulting from reasonable provocation, the person could be charged with manslaughter.
In either case, manslaughter is a Class A felony.
Aiding or soliciting suicide
It is a Class D offense to help someone to commit suicide, or to solicit someone to commit suicide.
Assault is the intentional, knowing, or reckless causing of bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another person. Offensive physical contact means contact which “a reasonable person would find to be offensive.” Assault is typically a Class D misdemeanor. However, it becomes an “aggravated assault,” which is a felony, in some circumstances, such as when the victim is under the age of 6, or when the assault causes serious bodily injury, is committed using a dangerous weapon, or is committed with extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Aggravated assault is further elevated to if the person intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury with the use of a dangerous weapon, causes serious bodily injury through extreme indifference to human life, or “with terroristic intent” causes serious bodily injury.
Elevated aggravated assault is a Class A felony. Finally, where the victim of the assault is pregnant, the person knows of the pregnancy, and the assault causes the termination of the pregnancy, the person could be charged with a Class A felony.
A person can be charged with criminal threatening if the person intentionally or knowingly places another in fear of imminent bodily injury. Where the person threatens another person with a threat of violence of danger to human life, and the natural and probable consequence of the threat is to cause a reasonable fear of violence, the person can be charged with terrorizing.
Both offenses are Class D misdemeanors. Terrorizing can be aggravated to a Class C felony where the threat causes the evacuation of a building, or the occupants of the building, to move to a secure area.
Stalking involves the intentional or knowing conduct directed at a person which would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious inconvenience or emotional distress; to fear bodily injury to themselves or a close relation; death or the death of a close relation; damage or destruction to or tampering of property; or injury to or the death of an animal owned by the person.
Stalking is a Class D misdemeanor offense, except where the person has two or more prior convictions, in which case it is a Class C felony.
A person is guilty of reckless conduct if they consciously disregard a risk of causing serious bodily injury to another person.
Reckless Conduct is a Class D misdemeanor.
(17-A M.R.S.A. §207-A (Domestic violence assault), 17-A M.R.S.A. §209-A (Domestic violence criminal threatening), 17-A M.R.S.A. §210-B (Domestic violence terrorizing), 17-A M.R.S.A. §210-C (Domestic violence stalking), 17-A §211-A (domestic violence reckless conduct))
Assault, Criminal Threatening, Terrorizing, and Stalking all have “domestic” equivalents, meaning that the victim is a “household member”, which could include a former sexual partner even if the defendant and victim do not live together.
Conviction of a “domestic” offense can carry additional collateral consequences, including a federal prohibition on the possession of firearms.
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