What Is The Law On Compounding A Felony In Maine And What Are The Punishments For It?
Compounding a felony is a punishable offense in Maine and anyone convicted of it can either have to spend time in jail, pay a fine, or both. In order for a case to be considered as compounding a felony, such a person must have deliberately withheld vital information pertaining to a case involving criminal activity. They must have also accepted some kind of pecuniary benefit in lieu of reporting the information they had. It is this act of enabling and profiting from the crime and criminal-related activities that are punished under compounding a felony.
The reason behind why compounding a felony is a chargeable offense is, it showcases someone who actively ignores their civilian responsibility in favor of profiting from criminal activity. It is the duty of every citizen to report any information they have or crime-related activity to law enforcement. Such collaboration helps to ensure peace can be maintained in the State. Those that enable criminal activity by virtue of financial compensation they obtained from the criminal can be charged with compounding a felony in Maine.
What Constitutes as Compounding a Felony in Maine?
Before a case can be considered and tried as compounding a felony, two facts must be established in the case. The first of these is that the person who withheld information from legal authorities did so deliberately. They must have also had the knowledge that withholding such information could amount to enabling and aiding the criminal. Such behavior must have been inspired by some pecuniary benefit that was exchanged between the person and the criminal.
When these two facts have been established in a case, then such a person can be charged with compounding a felony in Maine.
What happens when a person does not receive any kind of pecuniary benefit from the criminal yet still does not report the crime?
If there is no pecuniary benefit exchanged between the criminal and the person who withheld information, then that situation cannot be considered as compounding a felony.
What this means is that if a person is a victim of a crime, but for whatever reason chooses not to report that crime, then they can not be charged with compounding a felony in that case. Similarly, if someone witnesses a crime but does not engage with the criminal, or obtain a pecuniary benefit from them in any way, then they cannot be charged with compounding a felony even if they do not report that crime. A pecuniary benefit must be involved that was obtained in lieu of providing important information related to a case in order for that case to be considered as compounding a felony.
What are the Punishments for Compounding a Felony in Maine?
Compounding a felony is punishable by either a time served in jail that does not exceed a year, an amount to be paid in fines that do not exceed $500, or both.
In addition to this, even if the perpetrators in the criminal case related to the crime the person enabled have not been tried or convicted, that holds no relation to the compounding the felony charge. Compounding a felony and committing the crime are two separate charges and are tried separately in Court. The proceedings and conviction in one case bear no relation to the proceedings and conviction in another.
Compounding a felony is considered a punishable offense in order to dissuade people from potentially engaging with criminals or profiting from criminal activity. It is in place to promote civilian responsibility and prevent receiving financial compensation in lieu of withholding information.