Maine government agencies keep official records available to interested persons per the Maine Freedom of Access Act (FOAA). As a resident, you can request to see and make copies of publicly available records so far as you know the state or local custodian. You will also need to know how to submit a request to that custodian. Many public records are available for free. However, some agencies require you to pay a search or service fee to cover the administrative efforts to retrieve and copy the record of interest.
Maine Criminal Records
Generally, any person arrested or tried for a crime in Maine will have a criminal history. You can get these records from the State Bureau of Identification. There are three ways to go about this. The fastest way is to make an online public Criminal History Record search. You have access to information about the person’s adult and juvenile crimes. The search service costs $31.00, which is payable by credit card.
Another way to get a person’s criminal records is to prepare a written record request containing the person’s full name and date of birth. You can also provide additional information to help the Bureau find the record on the specific person of interest. Attach a check or money order to the request and enclose it in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Mail the request to:
State Bureau of Investigation
State House Station #42
Augusta, ME 04333-0042
Phone: (207) 624-7240
Email: [email protected]
However, rather than send a snail mail, consider sending an email with the necessary information and your credit card details. The Bureau will process your request and send the report within two (hours). Getting criminal records by snail mail generally takes about two (2) weeks if your application is complete and correct.
Maine Court Records
The judiciary comprises courts of records that conduct trials for criminal and civil cases in Maine. Case documents of these trials are available to interested persons at the Clerk’s office where the trial happened. Alternatively, you can access electronic court records from the Odyssey portal. Generally, court documents are available at any time, even if the case is still open. But you would need to know the litigants’ names or the case number.
Another way to get Maine court records is to send a mail request to the Judicial Branch Service Center. You will need to complete this record request form and attach a check or money order for associated fees. Enclose the attachments in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail your requests to:
The Judicial Branch Service Center
PO Box 266
Lewiston, ME 04243
Generally, court records cost $2.00 for the first page and $1.00 for each additional page. Also, there is a $20.00 research fee per name. The typical processing time is five (5) business days, but this may be lengthier if you are looking for court records for several different people.
Maine Inmate Records
The Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) maintains inmate records on offenders who serve time in county jails and state prisons. The Department maintains an online database containing the information of offenders and probationers. For starters, you will need to know the name and gender of the offender of interest. Because several prisoners may bear the same name, it helps if you know their approximate date of birth, physical descriptions, and incarceration facility. Providing these will help you narrow the search result. Best of all, provide their MDOC unique number if known.
A search will return the inmate’s personal information, physical description, and recent photograph. You will also have access to the inmate’s charges and parole eligibility. If the information from the online database does not answer your questions, mail the Department of Corrections for the record that contains the information you seek.
This method involves preparing a written request containing the inmate’s full name, MDOC number, date of birth. You must also describe the specific information you seek or the document that contains the information. Enclose your request in a self-addressed stamped envelope and send your request to the facility of incarceration or the Department’s central office located at:
Maine Department of Corrections
25 Tyson Drive 3rd Floor,
State House Station 111
Augusta, Maine 04333-0111
Phone: (207) 287-2711
Fax: (207) 287-4370
Maine Vital Records
Vital records are documents containing information on life events that happen within the jurisdiction of Maine. These include all births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services issues certified copies of these vital records to eligible persons. Generally, these include the persons named on the record, their immediate family members, and legal representatives. These individuals must provide documentation to prove their identity. The process of obtaining a vital record involves:
- Download and complete the form for the vital record of interest
- Prepare and attach payment for the certified copy of the vital record
- Attach a copy of your government-issued photo ID
- Enclose your request in a self-addressed stamped envelope
Mail the record to:
11 State House Station, 220 Capitol Street
Augusta, ME 04333-0011
Maine Bankruptcy Records
Maine bankruptcy records are available at the Clerk’s office in the US District Bankruptcy Court located in Portland and Bangor. Interested persons can find the courthouse where the debtor filed the petition and submit a request at the Clerk’s office. Alternatively, they may get Maine bankruptcy records online. Either way, access to bankruptcy case documents costs $0.10 per page.
Public Records From The Secretary of State
The Maine Secretary of State records corporate filings and Uniform Commercial Code filings through the Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions. You may also find public records of historical importance at the Maine State Archives. Another division of the Secretary’s office is the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This agency maintains driving records in Maine.
You can get publicly available records from other government agencies in Maine. There is no uniform style for getting a public record because each agency has its processing protocol. However, you will have noticed that you will need to know the description of the record of interest and pay for your copy where necessary.
Finding public records in Maine is worth it, as public records are the only veritable source of information in Maine. However, public availability is not always guaranteed. For instance, if state laws or the judiciary decide that disclosing the information in a public record will cause unnecessary intrusion of privacy or threaten state security, that information will not be available to you. Still, you can submit a petition to access confidential records if you have substantial reasons that outweigh the reason for sealing.