Maine has billions of public records, and various state agencies or organizations individually maintain each. Finding one document in billions can seem like hunting a rare bird in a dense forest, but you don't have to fret! This article provides quick and efficient ways to lawfully access public records in Maine using the best state resources and tools in one place.
Maine's Public Record Measures and Statutory Exemptions
According to the Maine Freedom of Access Act (MRSA), anyone can request access to Maine's public records. The law eliminates all restrictions that compel various state government levels to hide or deny requests to view records. It also mandates the agencies to respond immediately to inquiries within five business days.
Like most public record laws in other states, MRSA has statutory exemptions which declare some records confidential and inaccessible to some residents. These exemptions include juvenile records, medical records, security guidelines, and sensitive information about government personnel or witnesses.
The law also defines a specific timeline for when certain records may be opened to the public and who can access them without court orders or prior approval.
All You Need to Know to Find All Types of Public Records in Maine
There are various types of public records in Maine. You may find them in person at the record holder's state or local county addresses, online via the government agencies' databases, or through private and third-party websites.
To access most government records officially, prepare to pay specific fees. But be rest assured that the payments are affordable and less than the record's production costs. Third-party sites are equally convenient and free, providing credible data in seconds for free.
The first step to locating public information, whether vital, court, criminal, property ownership, or driving records, about a person, organization, or entity, you must know which government agency serves as the record holder. Here is a brief introduction to the types of public records and their keepers.
Maine Vital Records
Maine's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) creates, updates, and keeps all vital records such as marriage, divorce, birth, and death certificates. It also stores less popular records on fetal death and domestic partnerships.
The primary units at the Health and human services department handling these responsibilities are the Data, Research, and Vital Statistics (DRVS) unit and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MCDC) unit.
Can anyone obtain these records?
Before you visit Maine's DHHS primary or municipal locations, understand that you may have to present a credible identification card to show your direct or legitimate relationship with the owner of the record. If you are not related to the name written on the record, presenting a court order and a genuine reason helps you gain access.
How to contact Maine's DHHS for Vital Records
Address: Department of Health and Human Services,
109 Capitol Street,
11 State House Station,
Augusta, Maine 04333
Email: FOAA requests
Phone number: (207) 287-3707
Online requests: Vitalchek
Maine Bankruptcy Records
Confirm a potential business associate’s financial standing by obtaining their bankruptcy records. You may find this information using the Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (MCVCIS) or the PACER tool. The MCVCIS allows you to obtain cases using a touch-tone device. It provides free information about most bankruptcy cases in Maine.
You can access the MCVCIS service by calling (866) 222-8029. In contrast, the PACER system electronically provides all bankruptcy case records, but you must first register and note it's not free.
Where else can I access bankruptcy records in Maine?
Maine's county courthouses and the National Archives and Records Administration are other credible locations to find bankruptcy records. You can either request the documents through the Federal Resource Center or the county court clerk's office.
Click here to find the location and contact information of the closest county courthouse to you in the district of Maine.
Maine Criminal Records
In Maine, rap sheets, aka criminal records, include sex offenders, warrants and arrests, and inmate records. The state's criminal justice system creates, updates, and maintains this information. The system keeps updating its records on an individual until the court acquits or convicts the accused.
Maine residents' criminal records include the person's full name, age, charges, plea, physical description, body marks, fingerprints, previous arrests, and pending or settled charges. The Maine Bureau of Identification records all police records, while the Sex Offender's Registries (SOR) lists every sex offender within the state.
Best ways to find criminal records online and in person in Maine
Here are the top ways to obtain criminal records in Maine:
Public Records Maine Online
Look up criminal records through the State Bureau of Identification (SBI) request feature using the person's first and last name. You can also use the Information Resource of Maine, InforME, to run criminal background checks on potential employees. Another credible tool is Truepeoplesearch.io, a third-party search engine tool that quickly displays a person's criminal records.
Maine Public Records: In-Person or Via Mail
You can visit the State Bureau of Identification office at 45 Commerce Drive, Suite 1, Augusta, District of Maine, or post a request mail to the office at State House Station #42, Augusta, ME 04333-0042. Include the specified payment and relevant details of the search subject, especially correct name spellings.
Additional Methods for Performing a Maine Public Records Search
In collaboration with the Maine Department of Public Safety, Maine's health department runs an online web system known as the Maine Background Check Center (MBCC). The web system helps you scrutinize a colleague, potential employee or employer, but you must create an account.
You can contact the MBCC via the email address above or use the Quick Background Check tool for more information about a person. This service is not free. It costs $21 for Maine residents subscribed to InforME and $31 for non-residents and non-subscribers.
You can also run through a person's court records to find their background information under the Freedom of Access Act. Visit the administrative office of the State of Maine Judicial Branch at P.O. Box 4820, Portland, ME 04112-0792 to request a person's court records, or call the Criminal History Record Information unit at (207) 624-7240 to get more details.
You can access all public records in Maine for a specified fee, but you don't have to use these paid resources. With truepeoplesearch.io, you can access all records for free. The free search engine provides credible, comprehensive, and updated information about an individual without location restrictions.