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 Arrest Records

Montana Arrest Records are official documents that contain details regarding people suspected of engaging in illegal activity in the state. Even though these records are commonly utilized with a criminal record, an arrest record does not necessarily indicate that the individual committed a crime.

Arrest records in Montana contain information essential for law enforcement agencies, legal professionals, employers, and the general public. Such documents typically include the full name, date of birth, gender, race, and physical description of the arrested individual. 

Additionally, they encompass the date and location of the arrest, the specific charges filed, case numbers, mugshots, fingerprints, and other relevant details regarding the incident. In some instances, the records may also include information on the individual's previous convictions, outstanding warrants, and subsequent court proceedings.

The Montana Public Records Act, a crucial legislation enacted to safeguard transparency, mandates the availability of such records to citizens.

This law, which promotes government accountability and the public's right to information, ensures that arrest records are not concealed or shrouded in secrecy. Instead, it empowers individuals to access these records, enabling them to make informed decisions, assess potential risks, and contribute to the overall safety of their communities.

However, while arrest records regarding felonies and misdemeanors are generally available to the public, Montana's privacy laws impose some restrictions. Certain documents, such as those deferred or dismissed, are not accessible for public viewing.

What Laws Govern Arrests in Montana?

In Montana, the laws that regulate the arrest process can be found in Chapter 6 of Title 46, known as the Criminal Procedure in the Montana Code Annotated (MCA). These laws provide guidelines for law enforcement officers when making arrests in the state and emphasize protecting individual rights.

In Montana, this statute establishes the requirement of probable cause for a lawful arrest to assure that individuals are not subject to arbitrary detentions or unjustified infringements on their freedom. Additionally, it safeguards the rights of the accused and prevents unwarranted harassment, preserving the principles of fairness and due process.

According to this law, a peace officer in Montana with a valid arrest warrant can detain a person. They can also arrest someone without a warrant if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person has engaged in criminal activity, witnessed the person committing a crime, or had credible evidence of their involvement.

Additionally, in Montana, any private individual can apprehend someone if they witness the individual committing a crime or have reasonable evidence that the person has engaged in criminal behavior. This person has the right to use necessary force to restrain the suspect until law enforcement arrives.

What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Montana?

In Montana, peace officers can legally arrest an individual if they have a warrant or witness an offense. After capturing a suspect, they generally put handcuffs on them and take them to jail for processing.

The arrest booking process in Montana follows a similar method to that of other states. When the police take someone into custody, they go through a series of steps to be officially booked into the system. These steps generally include the following:

Identification and Documentation

Upon arrest in Montana, the first step in the booking process is the identification and documentation of the individual.

In this step, law enforcement officers gather relevant personal information, such as the person's name, address, date of birth, and other identifying details. They also record any aliases or alternate names used by the arrestee.

Mugshots and Fingerprinting

After identifying the arrested individual, Montana follows the standard practice of capturing mugshots and fingerprints during the booking process.

These records are essential for future identification, establishing a permanent visual and physical reference for the arrested individual. Mugshots typically capture frontal and profile photographs, while fingerprinting uses ink or digital scanning.

Inventory of Personal Belongings

During the booking process, the personal belongings of the arrestee are collected and inventoried. It includes the removal of any personal items, such as jewelry, wallets, or electronic devices, which are securely stored and returned upon release or as per established protocols.

Criminal History and Warrants Check

After collecting personal belongings, law enforcement officers conduct a comprehensive criminal history and warrant check during the booking process. It involves querying state and federal databases to determine any outstanding warrants, past criminal records, or previous arrests associated with the booked individual.

Health Screening

Law enforcement officers will also conduct a health screening during the booking process to ensure the arrestee's well-being and fellow inmates' safety. This step involves essential medical evaluations to identify any immediate health concerns or the need for medical attention. If required, appropriate medical care is provided.

Placement in Detention Facility

After booking, law enforcement officers will transfer the arrested individual to a designated detention facility.

In Montana, the placement of arrested individuals may vary depending on the nature of their offense, available capacity in different facilities, and the court's or relevant authorities' decision.

What Are Montana Mugshot Records?

Mugshot Records, part of Montana Arrest Records, are official photographs taken at the time of an individual's arrest. These records capture the frontal and profile views of the person's face, allowing for easy identification and record-keeping. 

Alongside the photographs, additional details such as the person's full name, date of arrest, charges filed, and booking number are typically included in these records.

In Montana, these records play an important role in visually documenting a person's involvement in the criminal justice system and are available to the public. But their release is often limited for safety purposes.

To search for mugshot records in Montana, individuals can use the Offender Search tool provided by the Montana Department of Corrections (MDOC). There are two ways to search for someone in this database: by their full name or their identification number.

In this database, all search parameters are optional, so individuals only need to provide the information they know. Additionally, searches are limited to a maximum of 100 results. The database allows users to narrow their search if a search yields more.

After an individual enters the required information, the database displays a list of search results, typically including the offender's name, date of birth, and status. By clicking on the offender's name, individuals can access detailed information about the offender, including their mugshots.

Another option to obtain mugshot records in Montana is to visit the inmate roster on the websites of local Sheriff's Offices. Most county Sheriff's Offices maintain records of arrests within their jurisdiction, including associated mugshots.

For example, Cascade County provides an Inmate Roster on its website, which offers arrest information and mugshots of individuals in the county. However, one must exercise caution and ensure the credibility and accuracy of the information found in this database, as it may contain outdated or incomplete records.

How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Montana?

In Montana, the duration for which an arrest record remains on file can have significant implications for an individual's personal and professional life. Thus, individuals who have encountered the criminal justice system must know the longevity of their Montana Arrest Records.

Unlike other jurisdictions, Montana's laws do not specify a typical time frame for storing arrest records. Therefore, these records stay on file indefinitely unless expunged.

In certain situations, individuals in Montana may be able to request the expungement of their arrest records. However, not all offenses are eligible for expungement, and the specific requirements and procedures can vary based on the seriousness of the crime and other factors.

How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Montana

Like any other state, Montana allows the expungement of an arrest record. This legal process will enable individuals to clear their criminal history, giving them a fresh start and the opportunity to rebuild their lives. However, this state only has limited offenses eligible for this process.

In Montana, an arrest record resulting in a conviction of a felony or a sex offense will not be eligible for expungement unless the court dismisses the charges. However, if an individual's arrest record led to a misdemeanor but completed their sentence, they can file for expungement under the Montana Misdemeanor Expungement Clarification Act.

Enacted under Title 46-18-1102 of MCA, this act outlines the specific provisions and procedures for expunging certain misdemeanor offenses from an individual's record. This law is essential in promoting rehabilitation and reintegration for those who have made mistakes but have shown personal growth and positive change.

In addition to the expungement procedure, this act establishes specific eligibility criteria for individuals seeking this legal process. While the details may vary, typical requirements include sentence completion, a waiting period, and the absence of subsequent criminal convictions.

Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that under this law, individuals can only petition to expunge misdemeanors on their records at once. There are also circumstances in which the court may reject a request for expungement in this state.

Nevertheless, once arrest records are expunged, all government offices in Montana must delete these data from their database except for fingerprints.

Expungement Process in Montana

Eligible individuals may request expungement for their misdemeanor offenses on their Montana Arrest Records by following the procedure below:

  • Submit a formal request to the District Court seeking an order to expunge the eligible misdemeanor records.
  • Inform the prosecutor's office about the filing through legal representation, and the prosecution office will notify any crime victims involved.
  • If the District Court grants the expungement order, the individual must visit a law enforcement office where their fingerprints will be taken and recorded on a fingerprint card.
  • Visit the website of the Montana Department of Justice (MDOJ) to access the expungement form required for the process.
  • Send the completed expungement form, court decision, and fingerprints to the Criminal Records and Identification Services Section (CRISS). They will review the information and, if accurate, remove the relevant records from their Computerized Criminal History (CCH) Records.
  • Individuals must wait for approximately 30 working days to allow for the processing of the expungement request.

By following these steps, eligible individuals in Montana can pursue the expungement of their arrest records with misdemeanor convictions, allowing them to move forward with a clean slate and new opportunities.

How To Search Montana Arrest Records 

In Montana, law enforcement agencies usually keep arrest records. Therefore, interested individuals must first contact either the police department that made the arrest or the local Sheriff's Office to obtain these records.

The process for obtaining these records may vary per county. In this state, some Sheriff's Offices allow interested individuals to view the documents on their website.

For instance, Yellowstone County has a Detention Center Search Page on its website where people can search for offenders detained in that county by their first or last name. This database also allows individuals to view the entire list of offenders arrested in the area. Another example is Cascade County's Inmate Roster, which offers arrest information for offenders in that region.

Apart from the online search system these counties provide, other methods are available to obtain arrest records in Montana. These alternative methods may be helpful when online access is unavailable, or individuals prefer different channels for acquiring this information.

The first alternative is to visit the appropriate county Sheriff's Office to request arrest records. This method involves submitting a formal request or filling out specific forms provided by the respective authorities.

Another option is to send a request through mail. This method involves writing a formal letter to the relevant law enforcement agency, clearly stating the details of the requested arrest records.

One must include relevant information such as the individual's full name, date of birth, and any other identifying details that can assist in locating the desired records. Additionally, if applicable, enclosing any required fees or supporting documents is necessary to ensure smooth and accurate processing of the request.

If a court hearing occurs after the arrest, interested individuals may contact the court and request these documents. But there might be a small fee for reproduction when making this request.


Counties in Montana

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