What are arrest records?
In Maine, the State Bureau of Investigation, which is a division of the State Police, handles the assimilation, storage and disclosure of crime history information. The primary function of the CHRI repository (Crime History Records and Information) maintained by the SBI is to preserve information on all criminal occurrences, processes and cases that were heard in the state of Maine.
This information is gathered from all the law enforcement and justice agencies in the state. Furthermore, the CHRI is also used to perform the vital function of disseminating crime history data among the various factions of the justice community as well as the public. Criminal information is made available to police officers 24 hours a day which helps in the speedy execution of arrest warrants and in apprehending criminals who are on the run from the law.
The Automated Fingerprint Identification System of the SBI
Towards the goal of providing positive criminal identification, the SBI also maintains a separate database of fingerprints which is used in conjunction with CHRI. The Automated Fingerprint Identification System is used to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement inquiries and for helping in license issues and offering employment in sensitive sectors.
Fingerprints are sent to the SBI after an accused is booked. If the arrestee does not have a previous criminal record, this information is also relayed to the FBI, so that the prints can be included in the central crime history repository.
What constitutes arrest records in Maine?
Title 16 of the Maine Revised Statutes, Chapter 7 offers the definition of criminal history information as applicable in the state. The law describes, criminal records as information collected from a criminal justice agency or at the direction or behest of such an entity or information held in the custody of a department responsible for imparting criminal justice in some sense.
The details pertain to any identifiable individual who is accused of a criminal transgression or to a juvenile who is being tried as an adult in accordance with the laws of the state. The involvement of this person in the criminal justice system may be as an accused or a convict. In keeping with this definition, arrest records from Maine typically include details on:
- The filing of formal criminal charges, such as complaints, indictments and information
- The issue of court orders in the matter like active warrants, summons, bench warrants, etc
- Arrest records including details on arrests made without warrants
- Dispositions stemming from these charges
- Sentencing including post plea or adjudication sentences
- Information on commitment into the correctional system
- Execution and completion of sentences or any probationary alternatives
- Release or discharge from involuntary commitment
- Petitions for commutations, reprieves, and warrants of pardon
- Appeals made at pretrial and post trial stages
Information on civil proceedings, matters initiated against traffic and civil violations and juvenile criminal cases will not be included in Maine arrest records. Furthermore, investigative reports or any intelligence related data will also not be made a part of the crime history summary.
What are arrest warrants?
The Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Chapter 100 is enacted for the establishment of a unified warrants repository and as such it offers a brief explanation of the different types of detention directives brought to use in the state. Detention orders that are issued in criminal matters, ranging from felonies to misdemeanors, will only be issued upon the establishment of probable cause by the sitting judge of a tribunal authorized to handle criminal matters.
Known as affidavit warrants, these detention orders come into being only after a sworn charging instrument is filed by the police or any other law enforcement agency with a tribunal requesting the judiciary to release the order. However, there are also a multitude of other detention orders that are suitable for various criminal processes.
The umbrella term of bench warrants is used to indicate these. Essentially bench warrants are orders released by a judicial officer that direct a law enforcement agent to detain an individual but their issue does not always involve the police. The different orders in this category include:
- A contempt warrant: As its name suggests, a contempt warrant is dealt out when a contemnor fails to abide by the court order or fails to appear at a contempt hearing
- An FTP warrant: This refers to a failure to pay warrant which is issued against nonpayment of fines
- An FTA warrant: The failure to attend warrant is used against "no shows" in court
- A juvenile warrant: This order is brought to use against juvenile defendants
- A probation violation warrant: A warrant that is issued when the terms of probation are violated in some way; these orders are also served by police officers
Information on active warrants from Maine is held in both electronic and paper forms by the issuing authority that is the court of the magistrate, the office of the county clerk and the affiant, usually the office of the sheriff or state prosecution. As discussed earlier, information on all Maine outstanding warrants as well as on those detention directives which are served is sent to the CHRI repository of the SBI.
Typically, the original document will be held by the police but the rest of the agencies will maintain a copy of the order along with the charging instrument that was filed to petition the court for the directive. Active warrants from ME will bear the name of the defendant along with any aliases or a DNA profile if this information is not available. It will also include other identifiable information, details on the charge, indication if the charge pertains to domestic violence, information about the identity and the location of this individual.
How to search for an inmate in the Maine Prison System?
The Maine Department of Corrections holds information on all prisoners and probationers from the state. Anybody who is sentenced to more than nine months in prison will be kept in a state incarceration facility while under trials and those with shorter sentences will serve out their punishment in a county jail. The DOC keeps information on all inmates including those who have been recently released.
There are three ways to launch an inquiry into the arrest records of inmates. Although such an inquiry cannot replace a formal background check, you can find out about the recent infractions in the name of the subject, at least matters in which this person was convicted and sentenced. You will need the full name of the prisoner, possibly a date of birth or the DOC number. Inquiries can be sought online or by writing to the DOC or by visiting them in person. For the last two options, you will also have to furnish information such as a full name and contact details about yourself and the reasons for conducting the search.
To write to the agency, you can use their email address at Webdesk@maine.gov and provide the information mentioned above to initiate the warrant search. To visit the agency, go to Adult Community Corrections, 111 State House Station, Augusta, ME. 04333. For information on juvenile offenders who were bounded over to adult criminal justice facilities, you will have to connect with the Division of Juvenile Services, 111 State House Station, August, ME 04333. Online inquiries can be launched at https://www.maine.gov/online/mdoc/search-and-deposit/index.htm.
Who can search for arrest records and warrants in ME?
In Maine, arrest records are segregated into two categories, public and confidential. Pursuant to Title 1, chapter 13 of the MRSA, public criminal information can be distributed to just about anybody. This data typically includes conviction only details and information on cases that are still in the judicial system. As opposed to this, confidential records which also encompass cases that ended in a dismissal or acquittal and juvenile records where the offender was tried as an underage criminal are also included in a confidential background report.
In keeping with section 705 of the same statute, confidential records whether they are being distributed through an intermediary or directly through a criminal justice agency can only be offered to other criminal justice entities, any person or commercial establishment that is expressly authorized by a state law or the courtor an executive order to access this information, for research and evaluation, to any agency that is offering criminal justice services on a contractual basis and to any person who initiates an inquiry to find out about any summons or arrest warrants issued against a said individual on a specific date
How to Request Records under the Maine Public Records Act?
Maine is not a closed records state; this means that within reason any person can access crime history data, whether it is a private citizen, a non-government and non justice commercial establishments or a state entity. To access this information at the central level, the applicant will need to work with the State Bureau of Identification.
It is possible to request information on Maine outstanding warrants and arrest records through a name based or a fingerprint based inquiry. It is also possible to access juvenile criminal records on express request. However, since warrant searches launched by non-government agencies and applicants who are not connected to a crime justice unit in any sense are slotted as non-justice inquiries, these applicants can only procure conviction related data for adult and juvenile offenders.
All fingerprint inquiries will have to be submitted directly by the subject of the arrest records. It is also possible for people to initiate a crime inquiry in their own name and if any errors are found in the results, the SBI can be contacted for corrections. Maine arrest records and information on active warrants can be accessed online or by writing to the SBI or you could simply drive down to their office.
The inforMe service which is the online warrant search facility offered by the agency can be used with or without a subscription; members will be charged a lower fee of $21 per inquiry as opposed to the $31 that non-subscribers will have to pay. The fee is the same regardless of how the search is initiated.
To connect with the agency online, go to http://www5.informe.org/online/pcr/. The results of the inquiry will be emailed to you within 2 hours of making the request.To approach the agency through mail or in person, go to the State Bureau of Identification, State House Station #42, Augusta, ME 04333-0042.
How Long Does An Arrest Record or Warrant Stay On File In Maine?
Maine arrest records and outstanding warrants are not bound by restrictions of time. This means that just like arrest warrants that do not go out of effect unless the accused is taken into custody, crime history information is maintained through the lifetime of the offender. Unless the court issues an order for the sealing of such records or the subject can prove discrepancies in them, the information will not be changed or deleted from the CHRI.