Top Five Conditions You Might Get on Your Bail in Maine

The most basic condition, of course, and the reason for which bail is issued in the first place, and upon which bail is conditioned, is the defendant’s presence and attendance during the course of his court hearings. Should the defendant not appear during his trial, then this basic condition of bail is broken, and the court can issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. Many times, there are two warrants issued – one for the original charge upon which the defendant is facing criminal charges in the first place, and a second warrant of arrest for violating the conditions of his release and jumping out on his bail.

It sometimes happens, however, that the bail commissioner or the judge who grants bail also gives additional conditions to which the defendant is expected to adhere to. These are by no means exclusive, and given only as general definitions of what might possibly be attached as conditions to a bail order. In case there is any conflict, the actual terms of one’s bail should always prevail.

  • To inform the court of any change of contact information


As a basic tenet, a defendant who is out on bail is expected to remain within the court’s jurisdiction, which means that in no instance can he or she leave the state. If he or she should change address, however, or change telephone numbers and other contact information, then the defendant is expected to inform the court immediately. The expectation is that the defendant will not make himself difficult to reach.

  • No use of alcohol or drugs

The bail commissioner or the judge might stipulate that you should not use alcohol or drugs while you are out on bail. This is often the case if the original charges involved your use of these substances, thus precipitating the alleged crime in the first place. This is also to be expected as a condition to one’s bail if one has had a history of excessive alcohol consumption or drug abuse.


  • No possession of alcohol or drugs

Laws on drugs are prohibitive enough of these illegal substances that possession alone is punishable by law. This is to prevent any possible use of either alcohol or drugs or both, and to prevent other forms of criminal conduct such as selling illicit substances. A person with a history in these kinds of transactions can reasonably expect to find such a condition attached to his bail order.

  • No possession of weapons

The accused in a criminal case is prohibited from possessing weapons, such as guns and knives. If the condition of the bail order sets this prohibition out in general terms and without exceptions, this means that the defendant also cannot possess even any licensed firearms he may have previously owned. It is recommended that you not only avoid having such weapons on your person, but also to remove them from your home or residence.

  • No contact

If the criminal charges against a defendant include a victim of the crime, then if the defendant is out on bail, he or she is restricted or prohibited from contacting or otherwise interacting with the victim. This is not only intended to promote public safety, but also to safeguard the judicial process by not having complainants being contacted with, harassed, or threatened in relation to the criminal case.


The Importance of Bail in Maine

The operation of bail bondsmen is not allowed within the state of Maine, but the right to bail is still a constitutionally recognized right of the defendant. The particulars of the laws of bail in Maine are located in Title 15, Chapter 105-A, or the Maine Bail Code.

Even though bail bondsmen or private bail bonds agents are prohibited within the state, the state government in Maine still recognizes how crucial the ability to make bail is for defendants involved in criminal proceedings. In many ways, the defendant’s capacity to adhere to the conditions and stipulations of his bail can determine, to a large extent, the eventual outcome of his case.

The following are recognized reasons why bail is considered important in Maine:

  • The defendant can better prepare for his trial

A defendant who is stuck in jail will simply not be able to prepare as much as he or she could for his upcoming trial. Aside from going through the stress and possible trauma of being in jail, the defendant lacks any form of social support from his family and friends, which can place severe strain upon his judgment and his capacity to mentally and physically prepare for the rigors and stress of his trial. Whenever possible, courts do prefer granting temporary release on bail to a defendant in order to give him a better chance of preparing his defense.

  • The defendant can meet more often, and in conditions of privacy, with his counsel

Similarly, as the defendant cannot have the moral support of family and friends while in prison, neither can he expect the same kind of planning and preparation with his counsel if all their meetings take place within the confines of jail. And because the stress of being confined can impact his judgment and decision-making capacity, even lawyers need to deal carefully with their clients while they are in prison. Ideas or strategies, witnesses, the defendant’s recollection of the alleged crime, all can be done in cooperation with their lawyer, and without the restriction of having access to his lawyer only through phone calls, or when the defendant’s lawyer visits him.


  • You are giving a very real demonstration to the court that you are able to follow court-imposed conditions and restrictions

Sometimes bail is imposed with certain restrictions or conditions, for instance, that you are supposed to attend training or classes designed to help deal with personal difficulties that may have led to the alleged crime, for instance, sobriety groups, anger management classes, etc. If you respond favorably to these conditions, and also appear religiously during your scheduled court hearings, then the courts can be expected to be more sympathetic to your side, and even when found guilty, might also be more lenient in terms of sentencing.


  • Your behavior during your temporary release on bail will also be considered by the court during your trial

Sometimes bail can be denied if, based on the bail commissioner’s or the judge’s discretion, they consider the defendant to be a danger to the public or the community. Of course, a person released on bail is expected not to break any law, and should they exhibit exemplary behavior after being released from jail, courts are more likely to look favorably upon the defendant’s continued freedom in the community.


Important Things to Know about Bail Laws in Maine

Under the bail laws of the state of Maine, every defendant is automatically entitled to bail except when charged with specific offenses, including:

  • Felony assault.
  • Felony sexual assault charge.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Criminal restraint involving a child under the age of eight.
  • Domestic felony charges and any case involving a violation of protection from abuse order.

When any of these charges are brought, a bail hearing is held to determine whether or not the defendant is entitled to bail.

In all other instances, bail can be set as early as upon arrest by a bail commissioner. This takes place in the jail, during the charging stage, and long before the defendant is even brought to court. Otherwise, bail may be set by a judge once charges are filed against the defendant, or if the defendant is charged with more serious felonies. At any time, however, the defendant can request a review of the bail and bail conditions. In any case, a defendant cannot be held for more than 48 hours before an initial hearing is held. This 48-hour window, however, excludes weekends and holidays.


Once the amount and the conditions of bail are set, the defendant is expected to comply, otherwise he or she will remain in jail until the court trial is finished.

There are at least five ways by which a defendant granted bail may secure his release:

  1. Release upon personal recognizance, wherein a defendant simply promises in writing to appear in court for all upcoming proceedings, and not to commit any illegal activities in the meantime.
  2. A cash bond, which entails the defendant paying the full amount of bail. If the defendant is present for the rest of his court dates, this money will eventually be returned to him, less any court fees or charges, and regardless of whether he is acquitted or found guilty.
  3. A defendant can also be released on an unsecured bond, which is like a cross between personal recognizance and cash bond. Basically, a bail amount is set but is not required to be paid. The defendant is released on a promise to show up for his court hearings, and if he does not, then he is liable for the full amount of his bail. Bail bonds agencies offer bail bonding services for those who are in jail and want to get out.
  4. The defendant can also post a surety bond, where instead of cash, the defendant puts up property as security for the amount of his bail. This is most often done when the amount of the bond is high and is conditioned upon approval by a judge after a showing that the property posted as surety is located within the state, and that the value is at least equal to the amount of the bail.
  5. A supervision contract, while not common practice elsewhere, is commonly done in Maine. Maine Pretrial Services regularly checks on the defendant and requires him or her to adhere to the stipulations of the supervision contract, which may require the payment of a fine and the performance of community service.

In any of these cases above, should the defendant fail to appear in court, the surety or bond, when appropriate, will be forfeited on behalf of the court, and a warrant of arrest issued for the defendant, both for the original charge and for a separate felony charge of failure to appear.


Being a Bail Bondsman in Maine – a Look at the Past

Being the northernmost state in New England, and because of the unique characteristics of its geography, terrain and ties to the fishing industry, the state of Maine and its residents have a unique character. So, while Maine features some very beautiful, though admittedly rugged countryside and sea coast, Maine also has had the lowest rate of violent crime per 100,000 people. And while some of the lowest numbers in terms of incarceration and police presence are also consistently found in Maine, bail bonds agencies did exist in the state, and they conducted a reasonable business. However, this was only true until 2012, when the state of Maine began to prohibit private bail bond operations.

The following is a brief historical reference on how any person became a bail bondsman in Maine before this prohibition took effect.


The State required bail bondsmen to be duly licensed, and to adhere to some of the legal requirements set by local regulations. These requirements include basic personal requirements such as age, residence, education, and suitable background attesting to the lack of a record and sufficient financial capacity. Thus:

  • Must be over the age of 18
  • At least a high school graduate
  • Of good moral character
  • A citizen or resident alien of the United States
  • No convictions for felony or domestic violence
  • No record of reckless driving or the failure to pay child support
  • No dishonorable discharge from the military

Gaining a degree in appropriate courses that enable one to be familiar with the court and police procedures are also recommended, but not necessarily required. Actually, a kind of apprenticeship is also recommended, where one can work and gain necessary knowledge and experience in an established bail bonds industry before setting up their own agency. Again, this is not precisely a requirement, however, and can only be said to be strongly recommended.

Before actually working as a bail bondsman, you are required to fill up and submit an application with the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The average rate of salary or income that one can get as a bail bondsman in Maine varies greatly depending on where you hold your offices, in which region you operate and offer your services, and of course, the state of the criminal system. It’s probably pretty obvious that you can expect a comparatively lower return to their business when compared to the kind of practice that bail bondsmen have in other states.  This typically happens when you are working offering bail bonds to criminal defendants in a state that has consistently had the lowest numbers of incarcerations and the lowest violent crime rate.

But of course, if you are a resident of Maine and have a natural interest in the bail bonds industry, then this is a natural avenue to explore.

And last but not the least, in order to practice a profession as a bail bondsman in Maine, you are required to hold a contract surety bond license, which is not very different from the kind of license required by most states of private investigators, to guarantee that you will be operating and conducting your business within the ambit of the law. These types of bonds are designed to protect the public from fraudulent practices and to ensure a defendant’s compliance with local rules and regulations.


How is Bail Set in Maine? Amount, Conditions and Stipulations


Bail for a detained defendant in Maine can be set by two personalities: the Bail Commissioner, or the Judge. In either case, bail cannot be allowed if the defendant is charged with certain offences, including felony assault, felony sexual assault, violating a protection from abuse order, kidnapping, criminal restraint involving a child under eight years of age, and most domestic violence felonies.

The great thing about bail laws in Maine is that effort has been made to be more responsive to the needs of the community. In 2012, private bail bond companies or agencies were prohibited from operating in the state. And because of cases of domestic violence which resulted in homicide, most felony cases involving domestic violence are now considered non-bailable. These include stalking, threatening, terrorizing, and reckless conduct. While not all domestic violence crimes are non-bailable, even misdemeanors like assault will still get increased scrutiny by the Bail Commissioner and the judge. In any case, it has been provided that no bail will be granted to a domestic violence case unless sufficient inquiry has been made into the history of the abuser, any existing protection orders of bail and probation conditions, the name and contact information of the victim, and the severity of the alleged offense. All of these measures were undertaken to safeguard the lives of domestic abuse victims, in response to incidences of domestic violence cases which resulted in homicide.

domestic abuse

The Bail Commissioner has discretion regarding the amount of bail to be set. In any case, if the defendant cannot make his bail, or is not granted bail by the Bail Commissioner, he is entitled to appear before a judge within 48 hours from incarceration, not taking into consideration holidays and weekends. This is provided for in the Maine Rules of Criminal Procedure.

The defendant’s first appearance before the judge is usually at his bail hearing, during which time his counsel can argue either that bail be granted, or that the amount of bail be reduced. Conversely, prosecutors may ask that bail be denied, or should bail be granted, that it come with certain conditions or stipulations. The judge makes his determination based on the arguments of both sides, regardless of what the bail commissioner may have provided for in terms of the defendant’s bail. Sometimes, the prosecutor and the defense counsel can meet beforehand to agree on a bail amount and any possible terms. This is certainly allowed, and might even prevent the judge from setting bail that is excessive or at an amount that not even the prosecution would recommend. In any case, the judge is also expected to inquire into the background facts before setting the bail amount. This inquiry can include the defendant’s history, and whether or not he has had any record for any criminal charges in the past.

If you don’t violate the conditions of your bail, then the amount you have put up for bail will be returned to you at the completion of the hearing. Remember, however, that the amount given back to you will include deductions for any court fees or charges, which will be automatically taken out from your cash bond.