Maine Public Records
Table of Contents
Maine Public Records
The most northern state on America’s east coast, Maine is located in the New England region and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Canada to the north. Known for its rocky coastline and forested interior, the state is only the 41st most populous in the U.S., with 1.3 million residents. Maine has a public records law that keep its government records open for inspection.
Maine Public Records Laws
Maine’s public records law is referred to as the “Freedom of Access Act” and was passed in 1959. Found in 1 M.R.S.A. § 408 – 521 of its state Code, the law allows “every person” to access public records, and they do not have to indicate why they are requesting them or their intended use. However, if records being requested are exempt, stating a reason (such as research-oriented) could grant greater access to records.
The Act states that more weight is given to what the records cover rather than who produced them when it comes to whether they are open to the public or not. Regardless, any record received or produced in connection with public business is considered to be open, and this includes the executive and legislative branches. The courts are not included, however, as they have their own disclosure rules. Other exemptions include:
- Medical records
- Juvenile records
- Personal information
- Security-related records
- Records mandated sealed by statute
Records from many public agencies can be searched and viewed through the state’s online DataShare website.
Maine Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in Maine are administered by the Maine State Police, State Bureau of Identification. Their system, called InforME, produces criminal records reports for Maine only and doesn’t include any other states. Either a name-based or a fingerprint-based check can be ordered, and a name-based report can be requested by anyone, with or without a consent. Reports returned list both adult and juvenile criminal histories, although it is highly cautioned that name-based reports can be inaccurate due to cases of mistaken identity.
Maine Jail and Inmate Records
To find out information on inmates, Maine correctional facilities, or services for victims and their families, visit the Maine Department of Corrections. The state has its own page where you can search for inmate records to determine such information as the facility that the offender is housed in, case disposition, and anticipated release date. To do a search, it is helpful to know as much information as possible about the inmate such as their MDOC Number, First Name, Last Name, Age, Weight, Height, Eye Color, Hair Color, and Race. The more information that you can put into the system, the narrower will be your search.
Maine Court Records
Any information about Maine’s judicial system can be found through its administrator of the courts website. The only Maine court records that you can search online are opinions and orders from the state Supreme Court. In order to search records of any other cases, including District and Superior courts, you will need to fill out the Request for Records Search form.
Maine Vital Records
Vital records in the state of Maine are kept by the Division of Public Health Systems and records date back to 1892. Records for birth, death, marriage and divorce can be obtained from this office in several ways:
- Walk-in request to the Office of Vital Records at 220 Capitol Street, Augusta, Maine
- Written request through the mail with payment by check or money order.
- Request through a third-party company that the state has partnered with for online requests, VitalCheck, where you can place your order and pay online.
Both certified and non-certified copies of any of these certificates can be ordered from the state of Maine. Only the person named on the certificate, immediate family members, legal representatives, or registered genealogists can order these items.