District Attorney

Stephanie Anderson

Stephanie Anderson, District Attorney

District Attorney’s Office
142 Federal Street
Portland, ME 04101
(f) 207-775-3561
Hours: Monday through Friday



Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a topic to see the information.

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.


Why can't the District Attorney's Office give me legal advice?

The District Attorney represents "the State," and everyone assigned to the DA staff must maintain this prosecutorial role. The Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) 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, and may be able to give you an idea of the sentence which they plan to request in the event you are found guilty. However, if you have retained civilian counsel, either at your own expense or a court-appointed attorney, all communications must go through your retained attorney. This practice is required to protect your constitutional right to counsel.


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. He will then impose a sentence. It is very important that you understand your rights at arraignment. The District Attorney has 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. 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 ADA about my case before arraignment?

There are two reasons for this. First, after a case is reviewed by an ADA, it is returned to the police department and is not received back by the DA's Office until the arraignment. Second, 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 ADA. You will have an opportunity to talk to an ADA 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 pubic information prior to arraignment. In a case involving misdemeanor charges the DA’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. To qualify for a court-appointed attorney, you must have a certain income, essentially you must be indigent. 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 DA'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?

You must file a Motion to Amend Bail in whichever court has your case either the District or Superior Court. A hearing date will be set no sooner than seven days of the date the motion was filed. Notification will be sent to the DA’s office and the DA or an ADA must be present at the Bail Hearing.


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

Your right to privacy does not allow representatives of the DA'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, which is why you may sometimes see the results of traffic and district court summarized in the newspaper. But until that point, 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. The subpoena is a court order. Occasionally witnesses and/or victims fail to honor their subpoenas, and unfortunately this may jeopardize the State's case against the defendant. There is a mechanism for the court to issue an arrest warrant for a subpoenaed witness who has failed to show for court, but this "hammer" is rarely used.


How can I drop charges?

YOU can't. Once an individual has been charged by the State, only an ADA or a judge may dismiss the charge. If you were the original complaining party, especially if you were THE key witness in a case, the ADA may choose to no longer pursue the case if your refusal to testify significantly weakens the likelihood that the State can prove its case. So while "you" can't "drop the charges," you certainly might play a key role in the case.


How do I contact District or Superior Court?

The Courts are operated by the State which explains why they are not listed under the County phone listing. The contact information for District and Superior Courts in Cumberland County are as follows:

Portland District Court
205 Newbury Street
PO Box 287
Civil: 822-4200
Criminal: 822-4204  

West Bath District Court
147 New Meadows Road
West Bath, ME 04530
Criminal: 442-0200

Bridgton District Court
3 Chase Street
Bridgton, ME 04009
Criminal: 647-3535 

Cumberland County Superior Court
PO Box 287
Portland, ME 04112-0412
Civil:  822-4105
Criminal: 822-4112

Violations Bureau
85 Park Street, P.O. Box 480
Lewiston, ME 04243-0480

PayTixx: Toll Free 1-866-PAY-TIXX (729-8499)
Violations Bureau Telephone: (207) 783-5422
Fax: (207) 783-5465 TTY: (207) 783-5435
Traffic Court/Moving Violations Website

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