How Do I... ?
I owe a fine, can I pay this through the District Attorney's Office?
  • The District Attorney's Office only collects payments for discovery fees, Deferred Dispositions conditions of supervision fees and/or of victims compensation fees, and restitution payments.  Fines are collected by the Court.  Navigate to Court Locations for more information.  
  • If you do not know what type of fee you owe, you should contact the court clerk and verify what your obligations are so that you can promptly meet them. Court Contact Information.
When is my court date?
The Court is the official keeper of record for the court scheduling.  If you are a defendant with a pending criminal case, navigate to Court Locations for more information.
How do I continue my court case?
Case continuance requests are filed with the court clerk.  The involvement of the District Attorney''s Office is limited to our position on our motion, whether we agree, disagree or have no position to the motion.   Contact the Court.
How do I hire an Attorney?
It is important to remember that the District Attorney’s Office cannot give legal advice to individuals charged with a crime. Even though it is not required, it is important for individuals accused of a crime to obtain independent legal advice regarding the charge and for a person to know their rights. The DA’s Office will work with defendant who represent themselves regarding pleading the case or going to trial, but we cannot tell someone what to do or advise one way or the other. Cumberland County has many hard working and capable defense attorneys who can be court appointed (if the Court finds a person to be indigent) and is privately retained. Below is a list of resources for individuals looking for an attorneys:
Who can I talk to about my case?
When you call the main number for the District Attorney's Office at 207-871-8384, your call will be screened by a receptionist to determine the correct staff person to assist you. Please provide enough detail in order that you may be directed to the proper division and the specific staff person who handles your type of question.  If you are represented by an attorney, a prosecutor is ethically barred from speaking to you and you must remember that you have a right to remain silent.  You must understand that if you say something about your case or the charges to a prosecutor it can be used against you.
Why can't the District Attorney's Office give me legal advice?

The District Attorney represents the state, and everyone assigned to the District Attorney's Staff is in the prosecutorial role. The Assistant District Attorneys and staff personnel can discuss the process of how your case will be prosecuted through the court system, but they may not provide specific advice regarding how you should proceed.

If you are representing yourself in a civil or criminal matter, the ADA may discuss the facts of the case with you, but you need to remember that his or her role is adversarial to your interests.  They can, however, give you an idea of the sentence recommendation, which they plan to request in the event you are found guilty.

If, however, you have retained legal counsel, either at your own expense or a court-appointed attorney, all communications must go through your attorney.  This practice is required to protect your constitutional right to counsel and from self-incrimination.

What are arraignments?

The arraignment is your first opportunity to present your plea to a judge. You may plead "guilty" or "not guilty."

If you plead guilty, the judge will ask you some questions to be sure that you understand that you are giving up some of your constitutional rights. If the judge accepts your guilty plea, he or she will ask the Assistant District Attorney if there are any aggravating circumstances of the case, and will ask for the state's recommendation for a sentence.  The judge will then impose a sentence.

It is very important that you understand your rights at arraignment. The State of Maine has an established a "Lawyer for the Day" program in Portland, which ensures that a private defense attorney is available on your arraignment date to discuss your case with you and provide you with free legal counsel during the arraignment sessions.

You must remember that this lawyer does NOT become your attorney through the remainder of your case, unless you make arrangements to retain him or her as counsel. He or she is in court for arraignments to ensure that all defendants may receive sufficient legal advice regarding their plea on that day.

Why can't I talk with an Assistant District Attorney about my case before arraignment?
At the arraignment, the Judge will explain your rights to you, and it is important to hear these rights before making any statements to an Assistant District Attorney. You will have an opportunity to talk to an Assistant District Attorney at your arraignment after you have heard your rights.
Why can't I have the police report before being arraigned?

Police reports are considered investigatory material and as such are not public information prior to arraignment. In a case involving misdemeanor charges, the District Attorney’s office is required to supply copies of all discoverable material within 10 days of arraignment.

On felony charges, discovery is provided at arraignment.

Do you have a public defender's office?

The State of Maine operates a system of court-appointed attorneys rather than a public defender's office of the sort used by other states.

You must have a certain financial circumstances that allows the Court to deem you "indigent" to qualify for a court-appointed attorney. The charge(s) against you must have the potential of including a fine in excess of $500 or include some time in jail.

I was just charged with an OUI (Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs) charge. What will happen to me?
This is a tough question to answer, because so many different factors come in to play. There are certain statutory minimums, such as the amount of fine and/or jail time.

If found guilty of the offense, the punishment will vary depending on whether or not you have any prior OUI offenses for which you have been found guilty.

Also, if you refused to take an intoxilyzer or other type of test to determine the level of impairment, the refusal will undoubtedly negatively affect your sentence.

The District Attorney's office typically recommends punishment on a graduated scale. The higher the blood alcohol level, the more severe the sentence.
How do I get bail conditions changed?

In the vast majority of circumstances, it is up to the defendant to file a Motion to Amend Bail in court to have the bail amount or conditions changed.  You must file a Motion to Amend Bail in whichever court has your case either the District Court or Superior Court.  The court may direct you to the District Attorney's Office to get our position on the motion before they allow you to file it.

A hearing date will be set no sooner than 7 days of the date the motion was filed. Notification will be sent to the District Attorney’s office and the District Attorney or an Assistant District Attorney must be present at the Bail Hearing.

Why can't I get information on a case with my son or daughter (over 18) /wife / husband / boyfriend / girlfriend?

The right to privacy does not allow representatives of the District Attorney's Office to discuss your case with family and/or friends.

Once a case has been resolved, the results of that case become a matter of public record.  Until that point; however, the details remain with those directly involved in the prosecution of the case.

Do I have to show up in court because I got a subpoena?
Yes.  A subpoena is not an invitation to the court.  In fact it is an order to be in Court, and if one does not abide by a subpoena, the Court could issue a warrant for that person's arrest.  Though that is a tactic very rarely used, it is possible and therefore a person needs to be aware if he or she receives a subpoena
How can I drop charges?

In the vast majority of cases, only the prosecution can drop charges (just like only the prosecutors can bring criminal charges).  Victims cannot simply "drop the charges."  It's the same reason that if a person wants to "press charges," it is not up to them.  The prosecutors are the only entity who brings charges and dismisses charges. 

That said, if you are the complaining party, we want to receive input and your feelings about how you want us to proceed through this process because your input could be valuable to the final outcome of the case.

How do I contact District Court or Superior Court?
View contact information for the courts on the following page: 

Court Locations & Contact Information