Records are sealed
In the state of Maine instead of expunging records, records are sealed instead. Since the public will not have access to these records, those who have sealed records will not be implicated when applying for employment, licensing, and other instances that require background information. When a record is sealed it does not completely disappear. In the case of juvenile records, they are also sealed instead of expunged in Maine. This means that they cannot be accessed by the public but can still be accessed by public law enforcement.
It is important to know that even if a record has been sealed or expunged it can still be used as a prior offense in court if a future offense is to be tried.
Maine Sealing Eligibility
Maine sets the eligibility for record sealing under three sections. The first group that is eligible for record sealing are juvenile offenders where at least three years have passed since they were released from the circumstances of the juvenile crime. The second group is those that have not been convicted of juvenile crime since the date of their disposition and have not been convicted of committing a crime. The third and final group is those who have no current adjudicatory proceedings marked as juvenile crimes or any other crimes.
If all the necessary requirements for sealing are in order, the court can grant the petition. The court can also deny the petition if the general public's interest towards the information is greater than the interest of the individual according to Maine Law 3308. This means that if granting the records sealing is not in the favor of the court, the request will be denied.
Because Maine rarely grants expungement, pardons and executive clemency are usually the other options for record clearing. After a pardon has been granted, the recorded is deemed to be a non-conviction and can only be accessed under certain circumstances. Expungement for normal misdemeanors is possible through a pardon from the Maine Pardon Board. This is the same for normal felonies. Driving under the influence offenses usually cannot be pardoned or expunged under Maine law.
Maine laws for pardons lie throughout Section 611 and Section 622 in Title 16 of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated and laws for executive clemency lie under Section 11 in Article V's first portion in the Maine Constitution. Information on obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation or executive clemency can be obtained through Maine's Secretary of State.
When a sealing is to occur, all records pertaining to the juvenile crime and all the information surrounding the crime may be sealed. This also includes any prior juvenile records and their information. See also:
Maine Felony External link (opens in new window)
Maine Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
Maine Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)