Arrest Warrant Guide

Maine Arrest Warrants

Maine arrest warrants are treated differently than search warrants or bench warrants. According to state and federal law arrest warrants can only be issued by a legal magistrate, or judge. Such warrants are only issued when the district attorney or a law enforcement officer presents plausible evidence that an individual committed a crime.

In contrast a search warrant is also issued through a judge, though an individual is not named. Instead of an individual a specific residence and item or commodity is named. Search warrants expire after a specific amount of time, whereas an arrest warrant does not expire. Warrants of arrest can be issued for a range of crimes and can include murder, domestic violence, robbery, identity theft, assault, and acts of violence. Arrest warrants also span all fifty states, so an individual with an arrest warrant issued in California can be arrested in Maine.

Bench Warrant
Bench warrants are a special type of arrest warrant. Like ordinary arrest warrants, bench warrants are issued through a magistrate but only under specific circumstances. When an individual on bail does not appear at his or her appointed court date, the presiding magistrate can issued a warrant of arrest.

Ordinary arrest warrants require law enforcement officers to bring the individual into custody at the sheriff's or police department; however in most cases individuals taken into custody for bench warrants will be directly taken to the court. Additional charges can be sentenced, especially if an individual has jumped his or her bail.

Maine has a specific statute for how arrest warrants are to be managed. Chapter ninety-nine of the fifteenth title in the second part states that the district attorney is to assign a minimum of one law enforcement agency to maintain the files. These files normally include copies of the warrants themselves. The designated law enforcement agency is also responsible for retaining the copies as well as administration and maintenance thereof. If the surrounding district attorneys cannot conclude to which law enforcement agency a warrant copy shall be held, the Attorney General will make the assignment instead.

Outside of retaining arrest warrants, it is the supreme responsibility of the law enforcement agencies to fulfill the arrest warrants. In doing so it is also their obligation to uphold the judicial system and to execute their responsibilities in a legal manner. Some arrest warrants are higher in priority than others. These can include specified lists, such as "the Ten Most Wanted" list. Sheriff's departments and police departments are held responsible for fulfilling any outstanding warrants.

Searching Warrants
Because it is possible to have a warrant of arrest without knowledge, the state of Maine has created Internet websites specifically for the purpose of searching for warrants. Other states also have search engines and databases for arrest warrants. Many sites offer free services, while others charge a fee.

Licensed criminal defense attorneys have the privilege of searching court files for warrants of arrest. Such personal searches can amount to large fees. If a warrant surfaces it is advisable to surrender to the police. Charges can sometimes be lessened for surrender.