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Maine Warrant Search

Maine warrants are a written confirmation of authorization by a judge allowing law enforcement agencies to make an arrest. A competent officer carries out the warrant and guarantees their protection from damage when executing the order. Maine’s judicial officers provide the warrant to the sheriff’s office or local police department for implementation. Though, the court can order arrests without police assistance, especially when it involves a no-show in court or contempt. Maine state warrants also identify the crime for which the detainment is being made and can even limit the manner the arrest is made. 


A warrant can claim that a suspect should only be detained between 6 am and 6 pm or that they are armed, so extreme caution can be used. Other warrants can also specify the bail that the offender has to post to regain their freedom after being arrested. Should the arrest be from a failure to appear in court, it will most likely specify that said person cannot be released pending their court date. 


Aside from the arrest details, Maine warrants include the full names of the individual and their physical description. That is, height, weight, eye color, and distinguishing marks or tattoos. Per the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a warrant is for search and seizure. It also has to describe where to be searched or the individual that should be apprehended. 


There are two types of warrants: bench and active; bench warrants are issued by the magistrate when a person fails to appear for a summoning. An active warrant is given when law enforcement agencies provide a reason to believe that an individual has committed or may commit a crime. 


According to the Freedom of Access Act, warrants are considered public domain in Maine. That being said, some active warrants which concern an ongoing criminal investigation might not be available to all interested parties due to the risks associated with compromising public safety. According to Chapter 99, Title 15 of an active warrant, all officers, regardless of the linked sheriff’s department, are responsible for serving a warrant. 


It is also considered that using reasonable force during the implementation of a warrant is necessary should the offender resist any attempts of the officer taking them into custody. Execution of an active warrant then is the biggest priority for all police departments and sheriff’s offices. As a bigger augmentation of the powers of an arrest warrant, the orders may have been made without time restrictions. That means implementing the order does not have a time statute of limitations, and the offender is being searched for indefinitely. 


How Long Does a Warrant Stay Active in Maine?


The execution of a warrant and its validity is dependent on the nature of the charge in Maine. There are some differences but felony charges do not necessarily expire. In the case where an individual has avoided being arrested after being involved in a felony, the chances are that even after decades, the warrant will still be active. Though, regarding misdemeanors, the warrant can be treated differently. 


That is following an expiration of 180 days to one year from the date that it was issued. It can also be re-issued by the state courts according to Title 16 and Section 648; a justice of the peace can issue a search warrant for the location of information of a device as pursuant to the section for a period. Though in this case, the warrant is valid for up to two weeks following the issuance. That being said, the judge may also issue an extension of the search warrant on finding probable cause if it is required to achieve the goal of the stated authorization. 


Maine describes the time that the state courts have to prosecute and issue a warrant for a crime as the statute of limitations. The prosecution must then file the criminal complaint and return an indictment. It’s dependent on the nature of the crime, as the law sets a deadline for the prosecution. For Class A offenses, there is no deadline for filing criminal charges. 


That is murder, assault with a weapon, or sexual abuse where the victim was under 16. The prosecution has no deadline for filing a warrant against these offenders, regardless of the years since the criminal activity. Class B felonies like Arson, trafficking of scheduled drugs, or burglary have a statute of limitations. The courts have to issue charges and file a warrant within six years following the crime. One exception, in this case, is for sexual contact crimes. The offender can be charged following a period of eight years following the offense that was committed. 


Class D and E crimes or misdemeanors are the lowest training offenses and would have the lowest statutes of limitations. That is, Operating under the influence, Domestic violence, assault, and theft. The charges must be issued no later than three years after committing the crime. Should the state want to bring charges outside the time frame, there will be a prohibition due to the statute of limitations. There are exceptions to the rule. In some cases, where the time on the statute of limitations pauses, it can extend the deadline. 


The first instance is when a person is no longer a state resident and is not locatable at the time. There may be a cap of five years, though, with this particular exception. That allows the state to locate the offender for that period before the statute of limitation expires. Though, if the courts can show that the person was out of Maine for half of the period, they may still charge one with the crime. 


Another scenario is when one already has a pending criminal charge in court. It might seem confusing, considering one is already charged with another crime. For example, an individual is charged with theft a year after being accused of committing the crime. The case stays in court for another year before Maine dismisses the case before a trial because of a lack of evidence. After another five years, the state may charge the offender because a witness has come forward concerning the crime. 


In this case, seven years have passed since the person allegedly committed the crime. Considering, the individual was in court for one year before Maine dismissed the case, the timer to file charges stopped for a year. It means that the prosecution would have met the deadline of three years. That is, the new charge would be considered filed five years following the act. 

What Are the Most Common Warrants in Maine?

There needs to be more clarity concerning the different warrant types, as perceptions may overlap. Though, each is unique and serves a unique purpose per the Maine constitution 


Search Warrants 

The courts enact the following probable cause of involvement in a crime or assist an ongoing criminal investigation. A search of a vehicle or home by Maine law enforcement agents is deemed unconstitutional unless there is voluntary consent. The searches can be done for different reasons, such as seizing contraband connected to crimes or evidence. It is also for the protection of other law enforcement agents or during emergencies where the safety of the individual is compromised. 


According to the Maine constitution, citizens are protected from searches without a warrant. Even in cases where the vehicle has been impounded, the rules would still apply. It is only in extreme circumstances that the vehicle exception applies. The exception permits members of law enforcement to search cars in transit without warrants if there is probable cause to believe there is evidence of criminal activity. Government agents and law enforcement also have to obtain a warrant before searching or attaining cell phone information. 


Bench Warrants

Bench warrants are issued by an authorized judicial officer who then directs law enforcement toward detaining individuals. This type of warrant is often issued after one fails to appear in court following a summon or after committing a probation violation. Once the person is brought to court, the judge must either release the offender with a warning or place them in custody. Offenders subject to a bench warrant may attend the hearing to plead their case. They have the right to be represented by a defense lawyer in these cases. 


When a bench warrant is recalled from the issuing court, they have to maintain a record. It also has to be removed from the warrant docket management system, and the Maine State Police wanted database. When a bench warrant is executed, the enforcement agency has to make an electronic return of service immediately on verification the served person is the subject.  

Arrest warrant 

A judge may issue an arrest warrant when there is clear probable cause that a suspect was involved in criminal activities. According to Maine State law, the judge issues arrest warrants according to the evidence presented by a peace officer or the district attorney. That is also following a grand jury indictment. Once an officer of the law gets an arrest warrant, they are required to implement it and make the arrest of the individual. 


If the law enforcement officer objects to the order and willingly fails to execute the warrant, they would be prosecuted for contempt of court. If the person already has an outstanding warrant for their arrest, it is possible to get legal assistance so they can take steps to prevent the offender from remaining within police custody. The attorney would help them to get out on bail or their recognizance. 


Alias Warrant 

This warrant is issued when no plea has been entered on a case by an offender, or they have not appeared in court following a summoning. It may include the initial appearance of a citation. An alias warrant may also be implemented on citizens following being delinquent on tax returns. The officer implementing the alias warrant against the delinquent tax collector can arrest them and proceed as on execution of debt. The tax collector would still have the same privileges and rights as a debtor arrested or committed on execution, favoring a creditor.


One typical example is an affidavit warrant. That is a warrant issued as a response to a sworn charging instrument or affidavit. The warrant should be based according to probable cause that a person did commit a crime.


How to Perform Warrant Search in Maine

Warrant searches allow requestors to have details concerning outstanding mandates within Maine. Public and private employers can also use it to garner information on whether a prospective employee has a criminal record within Maine. It is also a useful tool for law enforcement officers as they can use it to perform arrests during traffic stops if they find that the person has outstanding warrants. If such a person is physically present in front of the officer and the arrest warrant pops up, they are within their rights to immediately detain the individual. 


The best way to perform a warrant search in Maine is by checking with the courts. Maine warrant searches are specific to the counties where they were initiated. That means interested parties may source them from the counties they were ordered via the county court or the district clerk’s office.

Interested parties can also check the relevant information by visiting the sheriff’s website. These sites are also unique according to the county, though the Maine Sheriff’s Association has a directory with sites with contact information for all of the offices in the state. Record seekers also have to check on the status of the warrant as per the specific county. Similarly, it is possible to get a warrant status by contacting the attorney therein. They are relevant sources and can confirm if there is a warrant against the person. The legal representatives also come in handy when resolving a warrant for offenders. It is also possible to do a check on specific individuals via the Maine Background Check Center. That is an online platform that the Department of Health and Human Services maintains.

Counties in Maine