Search Public Records
Please enter first name
Please enter last name
Please choose a state
Please enter a valid phone number
Please enter a house number
Please enter a street name
Please enter a city
Please choose a state

Montana Public Records

The state of Montana has public records laws similar to those in other states and provides residents and non-residents with access to government records.

Public records are any information a government agency keeps that is related to that agency's business. This includes birth and death certificates, property, court, and tax records.

Whether it is in electronic or physical form, any person can request access to public records from a Montana government agency.

How to Find Montana Public Records

A public records request can be made in person, by mail, or online. The process for requesting records may vary depending on the agency, but generally, you will need to submit a written request that includes:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The specific records you are requesting
  • The reason you are requesting the records
  • Appropriate fees (if any)

While there is no specified time frame for how long an agency has to respond to a public records request, they are generally required to provide the records as soon as possible.

Are Montana Public Records Available Online?

Some Montana public records are available online through the state’s official website, while others can be accessed through third-party websites.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services partnered with VitalChek, a third-party vendor, to provide electronic copies of birth and death certificates. These records' costs vary, so check with the agency or vendor before requesting.

A Correctional Offender Network Search tool by the Montana Department of Corrections provides basic information about incarcerated offenders on probation or parole. This service is free of charge.

What Records are Available in Montana?

Montana public records laws provide residents with access to various government records. Some of the most commonly requested records include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Marriage licenses
  • Divorce records
  • Property records
  • Court records
  • Criminal history records
  • Driving records

What Records are Non-Public in Montana?

The Montana Public Records Act states that some records are publicly available and exempt from disclosure. These non-public records include:

  • Personnel records
  • Medical records
  • Criminal investigation records
  • Library circulation records
  • Student educational records
  • Burial site locations
  • The Montana Historical Society's collections
  • Trade secrets
  • Social Security Numbers

Montana also has laws that protect the privacy of victims of crimes, so their information is not typically accessible to the public. To learn more about what records are exempt from disclosure in Montana, you can check it here.

Types of Public Records Available in Montana

The state of Montana provides residents with access to various public records. Some of the most commonly requested documents include:

Montana Public Criminal Records

The Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is in charge of keeping criminal records for the state. These records are available to the public, but some restrictions exist on who can access them.

There are two types of criminal records search in Montana:

  • Name-based: You can use CHOPRS – Criminal History Online Public Record Search to conduct an online search using the offender’s complete name and date of birth. Individuals can also send their requests for a name-based search through the mail by including the offender's complete name, birth date, and social security number, as well as the requester’s full name and contact information.
  • Fingerprint-based: You can submit your request for a fingerprint-based search through the mail by including a completed applicant fingerprint card, the requirements, and the associated fees. Individuals can also schedule an appointment to take their fingerprints at The Montana Department of Justice – Criminal Records and Identification Services Section in Helena, Montana.

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Montana :

Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office2323 2nd Ave N, Billings, MT
Missoula County Sheriff's Office200 W Broadway St, Missoula, MT
Flathead County Sheriff's Office920 S Main St STE 100, Kalispell, MT
Gallatin County Sheriff's Office615 S 16th Ave #220, Bozeman, MT
Cascade County Sheriff's Office3800 Ulm North Frontage Rd, Great Falls, MT
Ravalli County Sheriff's Office205 Bedford St # G, Hamilton, MT
Lake County Sheriff's Office106 4th Ave E, Polson, MT
Lincoln County Sheriff's Office512 California Avenue, Libby, MT
Hill County Sheriff's Office1450 2nd St W, Havre, MT
Park County Sheriff's Office414 E Callender St #2, Livingston, MT

Arrest Records and Warrants

Arrest records are considered public records in Montana and are available to anyone who requests them. To obtain a copy of an arrest record, you can contact the law enforcement agency that made the arrest or the court where the case was tried.

These can also be seen on CHOPRS, or you can do a background check with the Montana Department of Justice.

You can contact the sheriff’s office in the county where the warrant was issued for arrest warrants—some cities, such as Great Falls and Helena, list warrants on their websites.

Inmate and Jail Records

As mentioned earlier, the Montana Department of Corrections provides an offender search tool on its website that allows the public to search for incarcerated offenders on probation or parole.

You can search for inmates by their DOC ID or name, and the results will include their:

  • Name
  • Mugshot
  • Current status
  • Gender
  • Physical characteristics
  • Aliases
  • Scars, marks, or tattoos
  • Legal record

Jails and Prisons in Montana :

Montana Women's Prison (MWP)701 South 27th Street, Billings, MT
Yellowstone County Detention Facility3165 King Avenue East, Billings, MT
Missoula County MT Detention Facility2340 Mullan Road, Missoula, MT
Flathead County Detention Center920 South Main Street, Kalispell, MT
Gallatin County MT Detention Center605 South 16th Ave., Bozeman, MT
Cascade County Regional Detention Center3800 Ulm North Frontage Road, Great Falls, MT
Great Falls Youth Transition Center4212 3rd Avenue South, Great Falls, MT
Ravalli County Adult Detention Center205 Bedford Street, Suite I, Hamilton, MT
Ravalli County Juvenile Detention Center205 Bedford Street, Hamilton, MT
Lake County MT Jail & Sheriff106 4th Avenue East, Polson, MT

Montana Background Checks

Montana follows federal and state laws when it comes to conducting background checks. These laws are in place to protect the rights of both employers and employees during the hiring process.

Employers in Montana can request a criminal history check, but they must have the applicant’s written consent first. Employers are also prohibited from inquiring about arrests that did not lead to a conviction unless the position involves law enforcement or working with children.

Under Mont. Code Ann. § 39-2-301, employers are prohibited from charging applicants for the cost of a background check.

To do a background check, CHOPRS or a fingerprint-based search through the Montana Department of Justice – Criminal Records and Identification Services Section can generate results that include an individual’s:

  • Criminal history
  • Arrest records
  • Outstanding warrants
  • Mugshots
  • Parole and probation history
  • Sex offender status

How to find Sex Offenders in Montana

The Montana Department of Justice maintains a public sex offender registry that includes information on all registered sex offenders in the state. This registry is available to the public and can be searched by name, city, or county.

It is updated regularly, and individuals can sign up to receive email alerts when an offender moves into their neighborhood.

Montana Public Vital Records

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is the state agency responsible for maintaining and issuing vital records such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees.

These records are available to the public, but some restrictions may apply. For example, only immediate family members can request a copy of a birth certificate, and death certificates are only available to those with a personal or property interest in the decedent.

There are two ways to obtain vital records from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. You can visit VitalChek and use a credit or debit card to pay the required fees for online orders.

You can also order by mail by sending a completed application, a copy of your ID, and the required fees to:

Office of Vital Records

Department of Public Health and Human Services

111 N Sanders Rm 6

PO BOX 4210

Helena MT 59604

Montana Court Records

While Montana does not have a statewide court case management system, some government agencies, such as the Montana Supreme Court, have an online Public View Docket Search Tool that allows you to search for active or closed cases. You can search by case number, case party, or case attorney.

You can search court records in person at the county courthouse where the case was tried. You can also request copies of court records by mail, fax, or email if applicable. To find courts in your area, visit the Court Locator of the Montana Court System website.

State Court System in Montana

There are three levels of courts in Montana:

  • Supreme Court
  • State District Courts
  • Courts of Limited Jurisdiction

These courts handle different cases, and each has its own rules and procedures.

The Montana Supreme Court is the state’s highest court, and it hears appeals from lower courts and cases involving the interpretation of state law. The other two levels of courts are the state district courts and the courts of limited jurisdiction.

State district courts are general trial courts that handle most criminal and civil cases in Montana. Meanwhile, courts of limited jurisdiction include justice courts, city courts, and municipal courts. These courts have more limited powers and handle less severe criminal cases, traffic offenses, small claims, and other civil matters.

Courts in Montana :

Yellowstone County District Court217 N 27Th St, Billings, MT
Billings Municipal Court220 N. 27Th St., Billings, MT
Missoula County District Court220 W. Broadway St., Missoula, MT
Missoula Municipal Court435 Ryman St, Missoula, MT
Flathead County District Court920 S. South Main Suite 310, Kalispell, MT
Bozeman Municipal Court121 N Rouse Ave, Bozeman, MT
Gallatin County District Court615 S 16Th Ave Room 302, Bozeman, MT
Cascade County District Court415 2Nd Ave. N., Great Falls, MT
Ravalli County District Court205 Bedford St, Hamilton, MT
Lake County District Court106 4Th Ave E, Polson, MT

Driving Records

The Motor Vehicle Division under the Department of Justice is responsible for issuing and maintaining driving records in Montana.

You can request a copy of your driving record, which will show information such as your:

  • Driver’s license status
  • Traffic violations
  • Accidents
  • Points on your license

You can order online through the Driver History Records Service to get a copy of your driving record. You need a credit card to pay the $7.87 fee for each record requested. Results will be available as soon as you finish the order.

You can also order by mail or in person. To do so, you need to fill out the Driving Record Request Form and submit it to:

Driver History Records Bureau

P O Box 201430

Helena MT 59620-1430

A fee of $4.12 must be paid for each record requested.

Civil Driving Infractions

As in most states in the US, there are two types of traffic offenses in Montana: civil infractions and criminal violations.

Civil infractions are typically minor offenses such as speeding and non-moving violations. These offenses usually result in a fine, and they will not appear on your criminal record.

On the other hand, criminal offenses are more serious traffic crimes such as DUI, hit and run, and reckless driving. These offenses can result in jail time, a suspended license, and a criminal record.

If you want to contest a traffic ticket, you must appear in court on the date specified on your citation. If you fail to do so, you will be found guilty automatically and have to pay the fine.

Montana License Plate Lookup

There is no central database for license plate information in Montana. You can request a license plate lookup from the Motor Vehicle Division and see if they can provide you with the necessary information.

You can also contact the county treasurer’s office in the county where the vehicle is registered. Each county has different procedures, but generally, you will need to fill out a form and pay a fee.

Third-party agencies such as InfoTracer also offer license plate lookup services. These agencies collect public records from various sources and make them available to the general public.

Montana Property and Asset Records Online

The Montana Department of Revenue is responsible for maintaining property records in the state.

Generally, property records include information such as:

  • The owner of the property
  • The property’s address
  • The property’s value
  • The property’s tax assessment
  • Liens and mortgages on the property

You can access Montana property records online through the  Montana Department of Revenue Property Record Card, where you can search for property records by address, owner’s name, or county.

Alternatively, you can visit the local county assessor’s office to request property records in person or by mail.

Unclaimed properties in Montana can also be accessed here. The Department of Revenue also maintains unclaimed property records in the state.

These are typically assets such as:

  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Insurance policy proceeds
  • Wages
  • Safe deposit box contents
  • Utility deposits
  • Cash

Important Government Agencies in Montana

The following agencies can be used to access public records in Rhode Island:

  1. Secretary of State
  2. State Governor
  3. Montana Department of Revenue
  4. Department of Justice
  5. Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation
  6. Department of Public Health and Human Services
  7. Montana Public Health & Safety Division
  8. Montana Highway Patrol
  9. Montana Judicial Branch
  10. Montana Department of Corrections

Counties in Montana

Other Records in Montana