Maine Public Records
The state of Maine has a detailed public records law that keeps the state’s records open for public inspection. The law makes most of the government records available to the public.
Passed in 1959, the Freedom of Access Act is the public records law of Maine. The law is covered under the state Code Chapter 1 M.R.S.A. § 408 – 521. The law states that “every person” can access public records without having to disclose the reason why they are requesting for the records or what they intend to do with the records. However, stating the purpose for requesting for any exempt records could increase the chances of gaining access to those records.
According to the Act, any record produced or received in relation to public business should be open. This includes the legislative and executive branches. Since the courts have their own rules guiding disclosure, they are not included in the Act. Other exemptions include:
- Personal information
- Medical reports
- Records preserved by statute
- Juvenile records
- Security-related records
You can search and view records from any public body through DtaShare which is a state website.
Maine Criminal Records
The management of background checks in the state of Maine falls under the Maine State Police, State Bureau of Identification. They have a system known as InforME that produces the criminal records reports for the state of Maine only. You can order either a fingerprint-based or a name-based check. Anyone can request a name-based report on anyone without their consent. Fingerprint-based and name-based reports return both juvenile and adult criminal histories.
Arrest records, jail records, and any information on Maine correctional facilities, inmates, or services for victims are available at the Maine Department of Corrections. There is a page provided by the state where you can search for the arrest records and inmate records. You will find information such as the offender’s current location, anticipated release date, and case disposition.
Maine Court Records
Information about the judicial system of Maine is available through the website of the administrator of the courts. Opinions and the orders from the Maine Supreme Court are the only court records you can be able to search online. For records of Superior and District courts cases, you must complete a Request for Records Search form. This is also the only way to search other records of other cases.
Maine Vital Records
Maine Vital Records are under the management of the Division of Public Health Systems. The records are available from 1892. You can obtain records for birth, marriage, divorce and death from the Division of Public Health Systems in by mailing your request with payment by money order or check. You can also request in person by visiting the Office of Vital Records at 220 Capitol Street, Augusta, Maine. Alternatively, you can make your request online through VitalCheck, which is a third-party company. Just pay online and place your order.
- Birth records: Birth records in the state of Maine are managed in the early-1892 category and 1892-present category. All the birth records in the 1892-present category are collected annually from Maine Vital Statistics. All the birth records in the early-1892 category were collected from county records of vital statistics and Maine church records.
- Death records: Death records in the state of Maine are organized into early-1892 category and 1892-present category. Death records in the early-1892 category were all collected from the state’s Family History Library. All the death records in the 1892-present are collected yearly from Maine State Archives and Maine State Register.
- Marriage records: Marriage records in the state of Maine are organized into early-1892 category and 1892-present category. Marriage records from the early-1892 category were all collected from the county clerks offices. Marriage records from most counties are available at Maine State Archives and Maine’s Family History Library.
- Divorce records: Divorce records are also organized in the early-1892 category and 1892-present category. Most divorce records are available kept at Maine State Archives and Maine’s Family History Library.
The state of Maine is known to be open with its records. Accessing vital records, court records, criminal records and any other public records covered under the Freedom of Access Act is fairly a simple process.
Maine State Court System
Understanding how the system of Maine state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.
To make your work easier, start searching for court records in Maine by simply going to courts by county.
The trial court system of Maine State consists of Judicial Brach Violations Bureau, Probate Courts, District Courts, and Superior Courts.
Superior Courts in Maine are considered state courts. They have general jurisdiction to handle all criminal and civil cases, but typically handle only the cases that other Maine courts have no jurisdiction to handle. Jury trials are offered only by these courts.
General cases that Superior Courts hear include majority of felony criminal cases, cases that request equitable relief, and appeals of the decisions made by various administrative agencies.
Maine District Courts are also considered state courts. They have exclusive jurisdiction over some types of criminal and civil cases.
General civil cases that District Courts hear include most mental health commitments, civil ordinance violations, most environmental law cases, most domestic relations cases, most landlord-tenant disputes, enforcement of liens, certain types of cases that request equitable relief, and most civil claims that seek for money damages.
General criminal cases that District Courts hear include most crimes punishable by not more than one year of incarceration and ordinance violations. They also hear guilty pleas as well as non-jury trials for many criminal cases.
District Courts have a number of divisions, including a Small Claims, Juvenile Court, and Traffic Division, Family Division. Family Divisions have general jurisdiction to handle cases involving families with children. General cases that the Family division handles include annulment, divorce, protective custody, emancipation of minors, grandparent visitation, child support, paternity, custody and separation.
Juvenile Court divisions of District Courts have the jurisdiction to handle with juvenile defenders the criminal cases. They share jurisdiction over emancipation cases with District Courts.
Small Claims Court divisions can handle many cases with disputed amount of less than $4500, exclusive of costs and interest. They have exclusive power to grant equitable relief. They may also order a party to refund, reform, repay, rescind or repair. These courts cannot handle cases with issues to do with title to real estate.
Traffic Divisions hear cases related to traffic infractions. District Courts may also have specialized programs for some types of cases, including Mental Health Treatment Court, Juvenile Drug Court, Adult Drug Court, and Family Treatment Drug Court.
These courts have general jurisdiction to handle adoption cases, guardianship proceedings, the administration of estates, probation of wills, name change petitions, and other probate related cases.
Maine Probate Courts share jurisdiction over certain types of cases with Superior Courts involving wills, trusts or estates.
Judicial Branch Violation Bureau
This is a centralized system intended to handle statewide traffic infractions, and it is part of the District Court.
Maine Court Notes
There is the Business and Consumer Court, which is a specialized court division that handles certain types of consumer and business cases in the state of Maine. This division handles some family cases that don’t involve children, as well as cases such as non-jury and jury civil claims. This division doesn’t have the authority to accept any first filing in a case. It hears cases that have been transferred to it from the other courts.
The Official Website of Maine County
Portland Portland, ME | Official Website City Hall of Portland 389 Congress Street,Portland, ME 04101, (207)874-8300. Visit our website where we describe the unique characteristics of living and doing business in Portland, Maine. City government furnishes information about municipal services and letsresidents send e-mail directly to City Council.
Lewiston Lewiston, ME – Official Website
Bangor Welcome to the City of Bangor, Maine
South Portland City of South Portland :: Home
Auburn City of Auburn, Maine | Official Site
Biddeford Biddeford, ME | Official Website
Sanford The City of Sanford, Maine
Saco Welcome to Saco, Maine
Augusta Welcome to Augusta, ME
Westbrook Westbrook ME | Official Website
Brewer The City of Brewer, Maine • Official Website The City of Brewer, Maine offers economic opportunity with its urban location and access to an excellent highway network while maintaining its small town quality of life.
Bath City of Bath Municipal Government Website, Community and Visiting Information
Caribou City of Caribou, Maine
Ellsworth City of Ellsworth – Community of Choice for Business, Leisure and Life Find Ellsworth news, access city services and resources for businesses and residents. Access property tax information, public notices and online services.
Old Town City of Old Town, Maine
Cumberland County Cumberland County, ME – Official Website
York County York County
Penobscot County Penobscot County
Kennebec County Kennebec County, Maine
Androscoggin County Androscoggin County Maine
Aroostook County Aroostook County
Oxford County Oxford, ME
Hancock County Hancock County Official website of Hancock County Maine
Somerset County ME-Somerset County, ME – Official Website
Knox County Knox County
Waldo County County of Waldo – Working For A Better Tomorrow
Sagadahoc County Sagadahoc County
Lincoln County lincolncountymaine
Washington County Washington County
Franklin County Franklin County, Maine
Piscataquis County Piscataquis County Welcome to Piscataquis County, Maine!
Maine Arrests and Inmate Search
Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department | Androscoggin County Jail Androscoggin Count Sheriff’s Department
Confined Inmate List | Cumberland County Sheriff – Official Website List of Inmates currently confined in the Cumberland County Jail
KENNEBEC COUNTY Inmate Search Kennebec County Inmate List
Penobscot County Inmate List Penobscot Sheriff’s Office Current Inmate List
Somerset County, ME Dispatch Logs and Bookings Somerset County, ME Dispatch Logs and Bookings
York County Maine Jail York County Jail
Maine Department of Corrections This is the website for the Maine Department of Corrections
Maine Background Check Center Maine Background Check Center
State of Maine Judicial Branch Records Search Maine Judicial Branch Court Case Records Search
Maine Sex Offender Registry The Sex Offender Registry Web Site is maintained by the Maine State Police, State Bureau of Identification and is intended to provide the public information concerning the location of registered offenders currently within Maine.