Pepper Spray Laws – Maine

Maine just so happens to be a very safe state, and also a very permissive state when it comes to the use, possession and purchase of defensive sprays. Maine allows citizens to purchase and use any kind of defensive spray that they see fit, including OC and tear gas-based varieties. Any size of dispenser is also allowable so long as it is used and possessed for legal purposes.

Pepper spray is widely available in Maine and purchasable over the counter by any person who is allowed by law to have it.

People who are under the age of 18 may possess pepper spray, but those who have felony criminal records or have been convicted of any other crime that would strip their civil right to own weaponry may not possess pepper spray.

We’ll give you the rest of the details below.

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Fast Facts

  • Pretty much all kinds of defensive spray are legal for civilian carry and use in Maine.
  • Proper pepper sprays consisting of OC formulations are allowed as are tear gas-based formulations like CN and CS. Blends of two or more formulations are legal in Maine.
  • People under the age of 18 may possess pepper spray for the purposes of self-defense in Maine, but those who have significant criminal background events may not.
  • Pepper spray may be legally bought over the counter through many merchants in the state or shipped into the state via internet or mail order.

Overview

We are happy to report that Maine is a very permissive state when it comes to defensive sprays, including OC pepper sprays and CN- or CS-based tear gas sprays, as well as any blends or mixtures that an individual should prefer for self-defense.

What is more, there is no prohibition on the size, type or quantity that a particular canister may carry for defensive use.

If you want a pocket-sized sprayer for just in case work or an extra large wide area dispenser for soaking looters and riders in the aftermath of a natural disaster, you will be all set.

It is also worth noting that people under the age of 18 may possess defensive sprays in Maine, though some retailers might choose not to sell to them without explicit permission from their parents or legal guardian.

The only people who are prohibited from possessing and using pepper spray in the state of Maine are those who have a felony criminal record or have committed any other crime that would strip them of their civil rights, particularly the right to possess weapons.

Aside from this, the only way to get in trouble when it comes to pepper spray in the state is by using it in a manner that is inconsistent with its labeling, and commission of a crime or to possess it while committing certain crimes.

It should go without saying that the use of pepper spray is force even if they are most often classified as less than lethal force and you should never spray anyone unless it is in a legitimate case of self-defense. Acting foolishly with your pepper spray could see you charged with a felony or serious misdemeanor.

Conclusion

Maine is an excellent state when it comes to civilian use and possession of pepper spray, with all major variations, formulations and size of dispenser legal over the counter.

Additionally, people under the age of 18 may possess pepper spray or other defensive sprays so long as it is possessed for legal purposes only.

The only people in Maine who may not possess pepper sprays are felons and those who have had their civil rights to own weapons taken away. Maine stands out as one of the very best New England states concerning pepper spray use and ownership.

Relevant State Statutes

17-A §101. General rules for defenses and affirmative defenses; justification

§101. General rules for defenses and affirmative defenses; justification

1. The State is not required to negate any facts expressly designated as a “defense,” or any exception, exclusion or authorization that is set out in the statute defining the crime by proof at trial, unless the existence of the defense, exception, exclusion or authorization is in issue as a result of evidence admitted at the trial that is sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt on the issue, in which case the State must disprove its existence beyond a reasonable doubt. This subsection does not require a trial court to instruct on an issue that has been waived by the defendant. The subject of waiver is addressed by the Maine Rules of Unified Criminal Procedure.

2. Where the statute explicitly designates a matter as an “affirmative defense,” the matter so designated must be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence.

3. Conduct that is justifiable under this chapter constitutes a defense to any crime; except that, if a person is justified in using force against another, but the person recklessly injures or creates a risk of injury to 3rd persons, the justification afforded by this chapter is unavailable in a prosecution for such recklessness. If a defense provided under this chapter is precluded solely because the requirement that the person’s belief be reasonable has not been met, the person may be convicted only of a crime for which recklessness or criminal negligence suffices.

4. The fact that conduct may be justifiable under this chapter does not abolish or impair any remedy for such conduct which is available in any civil action.

5. For purposes of this chapter, use by a law enforcement officer, a corrections officer or a corrections supervisor of the following is use of nondeadly force:

A. Chemical mace or any similar substance composed of a mixture of gas and chemicals that has or is designed to have a disabling effect upon human beings; or

B. A less-than-lethal munition that has or is designed to have a disabling effect upon human beings. For purposes of this paragraph, “less-than-lethal munition” means a low-kinetic energy projectile designed to be discharged from a firearm that is approved by the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.


17-A §103-A. Duress

§103-A. Duress

1. It is a defense that, when a person engages in conduct that would otherwise constitute a crime, the person is compelled to do so by threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to that person or another person or because that person was compelled to do so by force.

2. For purposes of this section, compulsion exists only if the force, threat or circumstances are such as would have prevented a reasonable person in the defendant’s situation from resisting the pressure.

3. The defense set forth in this section is not available:

A. To a person who intentionally or knowingly committed the homicide for which the person is being tried;

B. To a person who recklessly placed that person in a situation in which it was reasonably probable that the person would be subjected to duress; or

C. To a person who with criminal negligence placed that person in a situation in which it was reasonably probable that the person would be subjected to duress, whenever criminal negligence suffices to establish culpability for the offense charged.


17-A §105. Use of force in property offenses

§105. Use of force in property offenses

A person is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what is or reasonably appears to be an unlawful taking of the person’s property, or criminal mischief, or to retake the person’s property immediately following its taking; but the person may use deadly force only under such circumstances as are prescribed in sections 104, 107 and 108.


17-A §207. Assault

§207. Assault

1. A person is guilty of assault if:

A. The person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another person. Violation of this paragraph is a Class D crime; or

B. The person has attained at least 18 years of age and intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person who is less than 6 years of age. Violation of this paragraph is a Class C crime.


17-A §208. Aggravated assault

§208. Aggravated assault

1. A person is guilty of aggravated assault if that person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes:

A. Bodily injury to another that creates a substantial risk of death or extended convalescence necessary for recovery of physical health. Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime;

A-1. Bodily injury to another that causes serious, permanent disfigurement or loss or substantial impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. Violation of this paragraph is a Class A crime;

B. Bodily injury to another with use of a dangerous weapon. Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime; or

C. Bodily injury to another under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, the number, location or nature of the injuries, the manner or method inflicted, the observable physical condition of the victim or the use of strangulation. For the purpose of this paragraph, “strangulation” means impeding the breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly applying pressure on the person’s throat or neck. Violation of this paragraph is a Class B crime.


17-A §209. Criminal threatening

§209. Criminal threatening

1. A person is guilty of criminal threatening if he intentionally or knowingly places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury.

2. Criminal threatening is a Class D crime.


17-A §1002. Criminal use of disabling chemicals

§1002. Criminal use of disabling chemicals

1. A person is guilty of criminal use of disabling chemicals if he intentionally sprays or otherwise uses upon any other person chemical mace or any similar substance composed of a mixture of gas and chemicals which has or is designed to have a disabling effect upon human beings.

2. Criminal use of disabling chemicals is a Class D crime.

3. This section shall not apply to the use of those disabling chemicals when that use is for the purpose of:

A. Defending a person under section 108;

B. Defending premises under section 104; or

C. Retaking property, preventing that taking or preventing criminal mischief under section 105;
as authorized for the use of nondeadly force.

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