In Maine arrest records, their collection, storage and dissemination, is the responsibility of the State Bureau of Identification which works within the Department of Public Safety. The Crime History Records Information (CHRI) database maintained by the agency is the central repository of all criminal cases and charges that have been filed in the state. As such, all law enforcement and criminal justice agencies contribute towards the information in this database.
The agency allows warrant searches to be conducted for criminal as well as non criminal purposes and accepts requests for record expungements backed by court orders. While law enforcement agencies have 24/7 access to the CHRI repository, commercial organizations and civilians who are interested in accessing information on arrest warrants from ME will have to follow a prescribed procedure to avail arrest records. Also, there is a restriction placed on the type of information that is offered for non criminal justice reasons.
So, what is the difference between criminal justice and non criminal justice warrant searches?
Inquiries into the issue of active warrants, arrest records and other crime history data launched by the sheriffs' departments, courts, correctional authorities, the FBI, the DEA or any other law enforcement or judicial agency would be considered a criminal justice warrant search. On the other hand, if a state department initiates a search for arrest records for the purpose of licensing, this would be considered a non criminal justice investigation even though it is being conducted by a government entity.
Of course, any inquiry requests that come from private organizations and civilian applicants will also be considered of a non criminal justice nature. Hence, the information offered in response to these searches will be limited at best, as opposed to the complete CHRI that is given to criminal justice establishments. Furthermore, the latter do not have to get in touch with the SBI as they are in the network of agencies that can directly link up to the CHRI database.
What information can be expected in response to an arrest records check?
Complete crime history information will list all criminal charges filed in the name of the accused, including cases which have yet to be disposed by the judiciary. The report typically offered to criminal justice agencies will have details such as arrest records, the issue of active warrants, their execution, the existence of outstanding warrants in the name of the subject, correctional data including that which pertains to the granting of clemency and release on parole or probation, as well as juvenile justice information.
In contrast, the crime history details offered to civilians and corporate applicants will only include details on cases that have ended in a conviction unless the arrest records are over a year old and no prosecution initiatives or action are pending in the matter. It is also possible to find information on juvenile adjudication in non criminal justice data.
How can you initiate a warrant search in ME?
The Maine State Bureau of Identification is currently accepting requests for both name based and fingerprint based warrant searches. For the former, you will need the name and the date of birth of the subject while for the latter, a ten print fingerprint cards set will have to be submitted by the subject himself. It is also possible to launch the name based inquires online at informe.org/PCR/.
This service is available to both out of state and in state applicants and it is charged at $31. If you are part of an organization that frequently needs to access arrest records, you could establish a membership with the InforMe facility after which you will be charged $21 per inquiry.
You can also send the request for criminal history to the agency by mail at State Bureau of Identification, State House Station #42, Augusta, ME 04333-0042. A notarized copy of the crime background report which is typically needed for international immigration and adoption can also be requested. This will be charged higher at $41.