Maine Court Records
What are Maine Juvenile Court Records?
In Maine State, the Juvenile Court has jurisdiction over most cases that concerns individuals under the age of eighteen. Juvenile court records in Maine contain the information on the juvenile that is prepared during case proceedings. A minor appears in court if they engage in violations of specific state laws that will be classified as crimes if they were above eighteen years of age. However, the juvenile does not have jurisdiction over some offenses done by minors. Such offenses include some motor vehicle, fishing, or hunting violations, including driving or fishing without an appropriate license, speeding, and some other illegal acts that involve the use of a vehicle. The Unified Criminal Courts have jurisdiction over these kinds of violations.
Within the state, the court where the juvenile case hearing occurred also manages the court records prepared during the proceedings. Generally, the clerk of the court stands as the custodian of juvenile records. Only authorized individuals can request them for inspection or copying.
What Information is Contained in a Maine Juvenile Record?
Generally, juvenile records in Maine are restricted from public view and only subject to disclosure if the requestor of such records is eligible under Section 3308 of the Maine Juvenile Code. However, the court can disclose some information generated from juvenile case hearings that were open to the public.
Information contained in a Maine juvenile record includes details concerning the subject of the records and the matters that brought them into the juvenile system. Information on such records includes:
- The petitions filed against a juvenile
- Law enforcement reports
- Reports of evaluations conducted on minors
- Order of adjudication
- Any court-issued order
What Cases are Heard by Maine Juvenile Courts?
Cases heard by juvenile courts in Maine are on matters that involve minor youth. Juvenile cases include:
Delinquency cases: This kind of case involves minors that violate state laws or a city ordinance that will be considered as criminal offenses if they were adults. Usually, an agency or a parent files a petition against such minors. The law enforcement agency may also arrest offenders and notify the juvenile division in the Department of Corrections. A Juvenile Community Corrections Officer (JCCO) conducts a preliminary investigation to ascertain the facts of an allegation against a minor and also decides the next step towards resolving the issue. The JCCO can recommend that no further steps should ensue if there is no concrete proof.
The JJCO can also resolve juvenile delinquency through informal adjustment. The informal adjustment process offers a non-judicial method of disposition. The JJCO and the minor may reach an agreement on punishment or some tasks that they will carry out to avoid the matter going to court. Such tasks could include doing public service, participating in therapeutic or counseling programs, or compensating victims. Juveniles do not have to agree to informal adjustment as it is voluntary.
A juvenile case may also go to court under the recommendation of the JJCO. The juveniles or their attorney can make a deal with the state prosecutor to get a deferred disposition for an agreed period. Upon an adjudicated hearing, disposition options include parole/probation, commitment to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services or similar institutions, compensation of victims, or confinement to a juvenile detention center.
Bind-over proceedings: Bind-over proceedings occur when a minor commits serious offenses such as murder or is classified as a Class A, Class B, or Class C crime. Such proceedings hold to decide if the Juvenile Court jurisdiction be waived for the minor to be charged in an adult court. Typically, the court considers factors like the severity of the offense, the offense history of the juvenile, public safety, and alternative means to resolve the case.
Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Maine?
Under Section 3308 of the Maine Juvenile Code, disclosure of juvenile records to the general public is not allowed as they are confidential information. However, interested members of the public can inspect some information generated from public juvenile court hearings on murder cases, Class A, Class B, and Class C violations committed by the minor. Persons who are eligible to inspect confidential juvenile records include:
- The victim if the juvenile offense
- The parents or legal guardians of the victim
- The juvenile
- The legal counsel of the juvenile
- The parents/legal custodians of the juvenile
- The prosecutor of an agency that handles a juvenile case
- The Department of Health and Human Services
- Persons with a court order
How to Find Juvenile Records in Maine
Querying parties can find juvenile records in Maine at the courthouse where the case hearing occurred. Only eligible persons have access to juvenile records. For juvenile cases that are public, querying parties can request the order of adjudication, petitions, the records of the proceedings. Interested individuals can visit the clerk’s office or send a written request via mail to get the desired information. To get records, requestors can complete the Records Search form and mail it to the address:
Judicial Branch Service Center
P.O Box 266
Lewiston, ME 04243
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Can You Lookup Maine Juvenile Records Online?
Yes, non-confidential Maine juvenile records are available on online sites that provide access to them. If a juvenile was charged as an adult, the records of their case are available on the online public Criminal History Record search tool. The State Bureau of Identification (SBI) maintains the criminal history search tool. Users of the search tool can search by the juvenile’s full name or date of birth. Charges apply depending on the subscription package.
Do Maine Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?
Maine juvenile records are only available on background checks if they are non-confidential information. However, juvenile records sealed by the court become inaccessible to the general public. Hence, such sealed records are not available on background checks conducted. However, sealing information does not completely erase them as eligible parties including the criminal justice agencies, the offender, and their parents/guardians have access to them.
Interested persons can file a motion to seal juvenile records if it has been three years or more since the completion of the disposition order and the juvenile has no further adult convictions. Under Section 3308, the court grants such motions if the defendant meets the requirements and it does not undermine the public’s right to information.
How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Maine?
In Maine, juvenile records may exist permanently but inaccessible to the public if they are confidential information. Sealed juvenile records are also only accessible to a few eligible parties. The custodians of records cannot disclose them to unauthorized persons. Unlike the expungement process, records still exist if they are sealed. However, the Maine state laws make no provisions for the expungement of information.