Each state has a central repository that collects and maintains criminal history information, releases that information to the criminal justice community, and cooperates with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In Maine, the repository is run by the State Bureau of Identification, which is a bureau of the Maine State Police.
SBI not only serves law enforcement agencies, courts, and prison systems in Maine, but is also a vital resource for lawyers, licensing agencies, employers, and the general public. On this site, you will find some useful information about SBI's programs, as well as links to helpful services offered by the Bureau.
In an effort to reduce crime in Maine, enabling legislation was passed in 1937 to create the State Bureau of Identification to collect, file, preserve and distribute criminal records.
As the central repository for Criminal History Record Information (CHRI), SBI collects and links fingerprint-supported arrest information from law enforcement agencies, incarceration information from prison systems, and final disposition information from the courts to make a complete record of an individual through the justice process.
The Bureau manages the state's component of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). SBI also administers and maintains the Sex Offender Registry (SOR) for the State of Maine. Crime statistics and trends are recorded and analysed by SBI's Records Management Section (RMS) and used to improve how crime is dealt with in Maine. It is also the responsibility of SBI to submit this information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to complete the national criminal history database and sex offender registry.
The State of Maine's criminal history record information repository is one of the central functions of SBI. You can search for an individual's information by name and birth date through this section.
SBI maintains the state's central repository of CHRI. The primary purpose of the repository is to collect, file, and preserve CHRI based on arrests reported to SBI by law enforcement. The repository is also vital in providing CHRI to both criminal justice and public entities.
An individual's criminal history record is available to the criminal justice community and general public 24 hours a day. However, there are restrictions on how that information may be released. There is an online public Criminal History Record search. This only releases information about crimes an individual has been convicted of as an adult and felonies he or she was adjudicated of as a juvenile. This service costs $31, payable by credit card(on line) and by check or money order via US Mail.If a notarized background check is desired (such as for visas or international adoptions) then the charge will be $41. Criminal Justice agencies can access an individual's complete CHR through their own system.
Individuals are allowed to challenge incomplete or inaccurate Criminal History Record Information through SBI.
Maine organizations that require frequent criminal history checks for new employees or licensees may subscribe to InforME for a discount on requesting criminal records.
Criminal Record Challenge Process
The State of Maine allows an individual to review and challenge the information found in his or her criminal record. He or she may contact SBI in person, over the phone, or by mail to request that an incorrect or incomplete record be changed or corrected. The request should be clear about the particular record involved, the nature of the desired correction, and the justification for it.
After someone has challenged their criminal record, SBI will research the record to determine if the information is accurate and complete. If SBI concludes that the record contains inaccurate or incomplete information, immediate action will be taken to correct the record. SBI will notify the challenger, and any entity who requested their record within the last year, of the findings and any corrections made to the record.
If an individual is not satisfied with the results of their initial challenge, they can request the SBI Director to evaluate. If this does not satisfy the challenger, they can appeal to the Superior Court.
Maine does not expunge (erase) criminal records, so criminal records never get "wiped clean" by a pardon. Instead, information concerning the pardoned conviction is considered non-conviction data and is not available for public inquiries. Information related to a conditional pardon (or commutation of sentence) may still be disseminated for public inquiries. The forms to file a Petition for Executive Clemency and a detailed explanation of the process are available here (PDF).
Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)
The State of Maine is part of a program to administer and maintain a fingerprint-based database of criminal history information on a national basis.
SBI manages Maine's fingerprint-based criminal history record database. AFIS contributes to the effectiveness of law enforcement, the employment of individuals for sensitive occupations, and the licensing process for certain privileges. Fingerprint cards are entered into the database and checked to see if the individual has an existing record. New arrestee fingerprint information is sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be added to their database.
SBI is the agency responsible for maintaining the SOR for the State of Maine. The SOR houses the list of individuals required by law to register as either a 10-year or a lifetime registrant. The public can freely search for registered sex offenders online.
As soon as an individual convicted of a sex offense requiring registration is registered, electronic notices can be sent to all the appropriate agencies where an individual lives, works, or goes to school. All additions, changes, and closings made in the SOR are downloaded nightly to the public web site. This ensures that new registrations will show, expired registrations will be removed, and address changes will be displayed in a timely manner.
In 2006, Maine joined the National Sex Offender Public Registry as a participant. The public can make regional, individual state, or nationwide searches for individuals. If a Maine name is returned in the results, the link then takes the requester to the State of Maine's Sex Offender web site.
Records Management Section (RMS)
RMS collects and interprets crime statistics and presents the information to the State of Maine. It is responsible for explaining and maintaining the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) standards throughout the state of Maine in a nationwide and international effort to promote criminal justice information sharing.
RMS oversees the receiving, logging, storage, and microfilming of all investigative and/or incident reports made by the Maine State Police, both Field Troops and Criminal Divisions. RMS also heads the State of Maine's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Unit. The Unit's website is called Crime in Maine.
UCR is a cooperative effort of over 16,000 city, county, and state law enforcement agencies with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide reliable criminal statistics statewide, regionally, and nationally. In Maine, there is a 100% cooperation rate in reporting crime information to RMS. The UCR Unit in RMS uses the information it gathers from the Maine State Police, county sheriff's departments, and all communities with an organized law enforcement department to:
- Inform the governor, legislature, other governmental agencies/officials, and the public of the nature, magnitude, and trends of the crime problem in Maine.
- Provide law enforcement administrators with criminal statistics they can use to make decisions on how to best focus their efforts.
- Provide data and statistics to measure the workload and effectiveness of Maine's Criminal Justice System.
- Provide data and statistics for research to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and performance of criminal justice agencies.
- Provide data and statistics to measure the effects of prevention and deterrence programs.
- Provide data to assist in the assessment of social and other causes of crime for the development of theories of criminal behavior.