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What are Maine Traffic Court Records?
Maine Traffic Court Records are the records of court proceedings involving traffic violations or infractions that were committed in the State of Maine. These records contain non-confidential information such as defendants’ names, types of violation, case dockets, and citations/traffic tickets. The Clerk of the Violations Bureau maintains these records.
Which Court in Maine Has Jurisdiction to Hear Traffic Violation Matters?
The Judicial Branch Violations Bureau of the District Court is a non-jury trial court with sole jurisdiction to handle all minor and major traffic violation cases in the State of Maine. Offenses under the Violation Bureau’s authority are not classified as crimes or felonies. Therefore, defendants are not subject to incarceration but fines for traffic violations.
Most Maine traffic violations and infractions do not require defendants to appear in court unless they wish to contest their tickets or fail to pay the fines due. In such cases, the Clerk sets dates for trials in the jurisdiction of the Violations Bureau where the infractions were allegedly committed. If the defendant is found guilty, a judge decides the amount to be paid by the defendant, including all additional fees resulting from the case. Where the defendant does not wish to contest the violation, the court adjudicates and a Clerk of a Violations Bureau division accepts the guilty plea with the full fine for the violation. This can range between $25 to $500 for first offenses, over $200 for second offenses and over $400 for consequent offenses, depending on the severity of the infraction.
How Do I Find Maine Traffic Court Records?
Traffic records are available to the public in the State of Maine and interested individuals, organizations, associations, attorneys may access the records. Maine statute allows the public to inspect the following information:
- The defendant’s first and last name
- The defendant’s year of birth
- The date & location of the infraction
- The name of issuing law enforcement officer
- The nature of the violation
- An index of court proceedings
The interested party may also seek access in person at the record’s location or by sending a mail request to:
Judicial Branch Service Center
PO Box 266
Lewiston, ME 04243
Each mail or in-person request must be accompanied by a completed Request for Records Search form. Enclose a $20 fee per name and per box checked in the court location(s) section of search criteria. If the individual wishes to make copies, the Judicial Branch charges $2 for the first page, $1 for each additional page, and $5 per document for attested copies with the court seal. All fees must be paid in full before the Clerk grants access to these records and provide copies.
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
Can Maine Traffic Records Be Sealed?
Yes, traffic records in Maine can be sealed from public access by federal or state law. Traffic records contain sensitive information that is not available to the public but only to the parties involved, the bureau of motor vehicles, the prosecuting attorney, the defendant’s attorney, and Federal and State criminal justice agencies. These include:
- The defendant’s license number and vehicle registration number
- The address on the vehicle registration
- The vehicle identification number
- The defendant’s day and month of birth
- The defendant’s physical description
- The vehicle description
- The defendant’s contact information and personal details
What to Do When you Get a Traffic Ticket in Maine
A traffic ticket/citation is formally called a Violations and Summons Complaint (VSAC) in the State of Maine. It is issued for a moving violation, such as overspeeding, or a non-moving violation, such as illegal parking.
A Violations and Summons Complaint must include:
- The defendant’s name,
- A short description of the infraction,
- The time/date of the alleged infraction,
- Due date by which the defendant or defendant’s attorney must file an answer to the complaint with the Clerk of the Violations Bureau,
- The ticket law enforcement officer’s original or electronic signature
Under Rule 80F, Maine Civil Court Procedures, a traffic ticket or VSAC may be filled and delivered to a motorist personally by:
- Any law enforcement officer authorized to enforce motor vehicle laws in Maine, as long as they believe that a traffic violation occurred
- A prosecutor to a defendant or the defendant’s attorney if the traffic violation arises from a criminal charge or is related to a second traffic violation case
An individual who receives a traffic ticket may choose one of two options:
- The individual may contest the ticket and go to trial
- The individual may choose not to contest and pay the traffic ticket
Whichever option the defendant chooses, state law requires that the defendant or defendant’s attorney file an answer in writing with the Clerk of the Violations Bureau within 20 days or risk incurring one or more of the following penalties:
- Suspension of permit or license leading to curtailing offender’s right to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Maine
- Suspension of the right to apply for a permit or license in the State of Maine
- Entry of a default judgment by the Clerk or Clerk’s designee of the Violations Bureau when the defendant fails to respond within 35 days after service of the VSAC
The Clerk of the Violations Bureau, who holds the authority to issue suspensions, will notify the defendant by mail or personal service of these outcomes. Permit/license suspension stays in effect until the individual fulfills the demands of the court. These demands may include payment of the fine for the infraction, appearance in court, and payment of additional late fees.
How to Contest a Traffic Ticket in Maine
To contest a ticket in Maine, an individual must file an answer to ‘contest’ within 20 days of receiving the Violations and Summons complaint with the Clerk of Violations Bureau. This is done by following the instructions on the delivered ticket or by using the online service, Maine Guide & File to file the contest electronically. To use the Maine Guide & File, defendants must set up accounts, provide their email addresses, and verify that their traffic tickets are in the system by accessing it using the Odyssey Portal.
A VSAC can bear up to four violations, and defendants may check any or all violations they wish to contest and enclose/pay the corresponding fees.
A defendant may also submit valid proof documents along with the answer to contest if he/she were charged with a failure to produce such documents at the time of the infraction. Otherwise, the defendant may produce their copies at the traffic trial. Proof documents include learner’s permit, vehicle insurance, driver’s license, and vehicle registration. The defendant may send them to the Clerk by mail, or upload scanned pdf copies to Maine Guide & File.
After the defendant completes these processes, he/she will receive a Notice of Trial by mail. This Notice contains the Time, Date and Location of the trial. If the defendant wishes to appeal for postponement of a trial date, he/she can do so by sending a mail at least 7 days before the official trial date or by filing a ‘motion to continue’ form on the Guide & File portal. However, the court holds the authority to approve or reject such appeals.
The Trial Process
A defendant will appear for a non-jury trial, either representing himself/ herself or represented by an attorney, at the specified time, date, and location on the Notice of Trial. After the Clerk calls their case, the presiding judge may ask if the defendant wishes to proceed, change his/her plea to “no contest”, or speak with a state representative about outcomes of plea options.
If the defendant waives these options, the state calls its witness/witnesses, one of whom will be the law enforcement officer who issued the ticket and on whom the burden of proof falls on to verify that the defendant committed the violation. However, for speeding violations, the results of the radar’s measurement of a motor vehicle’s speed is considered as adequate evidence that the defendant is guilty of the violation. The court then allows the defendant or their legal representative to cross-examine the ticketing officer and state witnesses, call their own witnesses or even testify themselves, under oath.
The Post-Trial Process
At the end of the proceedings, the judge makes a ruling. If the defendant is found guilty, he/she is given thirty (30) days to pay the full fine or risk more severe penalties. These include additional points on his/her license and/or suspension of license and permit.
The defendant may also appeal the judge’s decision if the appeal is made within 21 days after trial and the filing fee for the appeal as well as fine for the violation(s) are paid in full. If the defendant wins the appeal, he/she receives the fine money back.
How Do I Look Up My Traffic Ticket in Maine?
Individuals can look up their traffic tickets in Maine by visiting the Odyssey Portal online and entering the name on their traffic tickets. Those looking up their own tickets do not have to pay access fees.
How Do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in Maine?
A ticketed motorist who chooses to pay a traffic ticket in the State of Maine must do so within 30 days after the date of issue by using any of the following methods:
- In person at the Maine State courthouse in the county where the ticket was issued
- By Mail by sending a money order or a check payable to “, State of Maine”
P.O Box 480
Lewiston, ME 04243–04780
- By paying with a credit/debit card over the phone. Mastercard, Visa, and Discovery cards accepted. This method is available 24/7 but attracts an additional convenience fee of 2.89%. Call the Odyssey PhonePay at 1–866–729–8499
- Through the Odyssey Portal using a credit or debit card. Only use this method when paying for all violations charges on a traffic ticket
- If an individual is found guilty at a trial, he/she may pay at the courthouse on the same day.
An individual who defaults and fails to pay his or her full traffic ticket fine within the time/date stated is subject to having their license suspended. The license is reinstated only when a late fee of $50 for each infraction is paid to the Violations Bureau along with the reinstatement fee paid to the Bureau of Motor Services: Driver Licences Services Division. This can be paid by phone or at a Motor services branch office during working hours from Monday to Friday, 08:00 a.m to 04:30 p.m. To confirm that a license has been reinstated, an individual may contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles by calling (207) 624–9000.