Arrest Records in Montana

Table of Contents

Need more information? Check out our guides to Montana background checks and Montana public records.

 

With a population of just over one million, Montana ranks 44th in population and 48th in population density among U.S. states. The state experiences crime on par with the nationwide rate, posting a 3.74 per 1,000 violent crime rate in 2018. Montana’s most dangerous city is Helena, which has a violent crime rate of 6.14 per 1,000. With the 36th-ranked arrests per capita rate, Montana is near the bottom of the pack in that category. 

Montana Arrest and Crime Statistics

  • In 2018, 27,357 arrests were made in Montana, as reported by 97 law enforcement agencies.
  • ‘Other assaults’ was the leading identified cause of arrest in the state, accounting for nearly 4 thousand in 2018.
  • There are around 2,300 registered sex offenders in the state, along with 3,300 actively-tracked violent offenders. 

Sources: FBI: 2018 Crime in the United States, Montana Sex Offender Registry

 

What is a public arrest record?

An arrest record is a report produced by a law enforcement entity after the arrest or apprehension of an individual which contains the details of the incident, the individual’s personal information, and occasionally includes additional information about the individual’s criminal record.

An arrest record is often a key document in a criminal case and may play a significant role in an ensuing trial. The arrest record may remain in the public record for a long time regardless of whether the suspect is ultimately convicted of the crime(s) for which they were initially arrested. This means that it can be accessed by the general public.  

What is included in a public arrest record?

  • Description of the incident: An arrest record will include a chronological account of the alleged crime produced by the arresting officer that may utilize information provided by first-hand witnesses and/or victims of the alleged crime. 
  • Date and location of the arrest
  • Physical description: The height, weight, hair color, sex, and race of the arrested person, along with other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks. 
  • Personal information: The name, age, date of birth, phone number, address, social security number, and other contact information of the arrested individual, as well as any other names the person may go by. 
  • Photographs
  • Fingerprints
  • Criminal charges filed
  • Classification of the crime: Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • Bail
  • Court date
  • Police interrogation details

What are the types of charges that may appear on an arrest record?

Generally, charges are classified into three main categories:

  • Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is typically a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering. 
  • Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, but less severe than a felony, and generally punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
  • Felony – A felony is the most serious type of crime and generally results in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Having a felony on one’s record may result in limitations of employment and the acquisition of specialty licenses. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and arson.  

Who can access arrest records?

As in most other states, arrest records (also known as arrest reports) are public records in Montana and can be accessed by anyone upon request to a law enforcement agency, and may come up during a routine background check. 

Other examples of Montana public records include:

  • vital records such as birth and death certificates
  • marriage licenses
  • mugshots
  • court records
  • voting records
  • property records 

Where are physical copies of arrest records kept in Montana?

Arrest records are typically held by the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest, usually a local police department or county sheriff’s office. They also may be kept in the archive of a state government agency, or circuit court. However, there is no official repository for arrest records. 

Why can’t I access an arrest record in Montana?

There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to access an arrest record. Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to release arrest records and other public records, records that fall under certain exemptions can be withheld from the public.

The FOIA includes nine exemptions that allow agencies to withhold documents, such as arrest records, and not release them to the public. They are:

  1. The information is classified to protect natural security. 
  2. The information focuses on the internal rules and practices of the agency.
  3. Another federal law prohibits the release of the information.
  4. The information includes confidential trade secrets and/or commercial and financial information. 
  5. The information includes privileged, confidential communicative exchanges between two agencies. 
  6. The information could pose a danger to another person’s privacy if released.
  7. The information is reserved for law enforcement purposes in a court case or an investigation or could reveal a confidential source. 
  8. The information includes confidential information about financial institution supervision. 
  9. The information includes geographical information about wells.

Additionally, some state laws limit the availability of arrest records due to the fact that they are perceived as one-sided documents that do not include the arrested person’s account of the incident. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and a criminal record?

Compared to an arrest record, a criminal record is a more thorough document that details an individual’s entire criminal history, including arrest warrants, arrests, third party complaints, convictions, and even dropped cases. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that grants law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual suspected of a crime or to search and seize the individual’s property, whereas an arrest record is a document of an arrest that is only created after an arrest or apprehension has already occurred.  

In order for a judge or magistrate to issue an arrest warrant, they must conclude that there is probable cause for an arrest. Probable cause must be backed by sworn testimony or an affidavit that provides sufficient information supporting the need for an arrest. An arrest warrant must also specify one individual that should be arrested, rather than a group of individuals or a rough description of a suspect. 

How many Americans have been arrested?

While crime has steadily dropped in the United States over the past several decades, arrests have gone up, particularly for younger age groups. Typically, law enforcement makes around 10 million arrests each year. Here are some key statistics on arrests in the United States:

  • In 2018, around 10.3 million arrests were made nationwide.
  • 73% of arrested persons in 2018 were males.
  • The more recent an American was born, the greater the likelihood that the individual has been arrested at least once. The following is the percentage of Americans in various age groups that have been arrested: 
    • 6.4% of Americans  born before 1949
    • 10.7% of Americans born between 1949 and 1958
    • 13.8% of Americans born between 1959 and 1968
    • 18.7% of Americans born between 1969 and 1978
    • 23% of Americans born between 1979-1988

Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, RAND Corporation

How to search online for Arrest Records in Montana

The Montana Department of Justice provides a Criminal History Online Public Record Search that individuals can use to search Montana arrest records, convictions, and other public criminal history information.

The search is fee-based, and each request using the search costs $20, which can be paid with a major credit or debit card. 

Here’s some key information about the search:

  • Individuals can use the search as a Public User or a Registered user. Registration requires an annual fee of $100 and includes access to all Montana eGovernment services and individual passwords for up to ten people in an organization. 
  • Last Name, First Name, and Date of Birth are the three required search fields. Others are optional but may help yield better results. 
  • Once a search is completed, you may view the results for 14 days.
  • The searchable criminal history information database includes arrest records, detentions, sentences, correctional status, and more.
  • Only Montana criminal history information is included in the database and none from other states.  

How can I search for a Montana arrest record on the internet using a background check service?

Since tracking down physical copies of arrest records can prove challenging, searching for them online is a viable option. There is a wealth of online services that allow you to search and access Montana arrest records and other public records via numerous government agency databases in exchange for a fee. 

However, despite the fact that users must pay to obtain an arrest record from an online service, it’s nevertheless a convenient means of getting these documents. The offices of government agencies are often marred by inconsistent service and take a long time to process requests to view documents. 

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a fee to use an online background check service, rather than endure the extended delays typical of government offices.  

What can I do if my arrest record has a mistake?

If your Montana arrest record or criminal history record contains inaccurate or incomplete information, you may submit a challenge to have the information corrected.

Contact Montana Criminal Records at (406) 444-3625 to explain the situation and get instructions on how to proceed. 

Montana Courthouse and Sheriff Information by County

CountyCourthouseAddressPhoneSheriffAddressPhone
Beaverhead CountyBeaverhead County Courthouse2 S Pacific St
Dillon, MT 59725
406-683-3755Beaverhead County Sheriff2 S Pacific St # 13
Dillon, MT 59725
406-683-3700
Big Horn CountyBig Horn County CourthouseOld U.S. 87
Hardin, MT 59034
406-665-9731Big Horn County Sheriff's Office121 3rd St W
Hardin, MT 59034
406-665-9780
Blaine CountyBlaine County Clerk of Court420 Ohio St N
Chinook, MT 59523
406-357-3230Blaine County Sheriff420 Ohio St N
Chinook, MT 59523
406-357-3260
Broadwater CountyBroadwater County Clerk-Court515 Broadway St
Townsend, MT 59644
406-266-9236Broadwater County Sheriff519 Broadway St
Townsend, MT 59644
406-266-3441
Carbon CountyCarbon County District Court102 Broadway Ave N
Red Lodge, MT 59068
406-446-1225Carbon County Sheriff's Office102 Broadway Ave N
Red Lodge, MT 59068
406-446-1234
Carter CountyCarter County Courthouse214 E Park St
Ekalaka, MT 59324
406-775-8749Carter County Sheriff214 E Park St
Ekalaka, MT 59324
406-775-8743
Cascade CountyClerk of District Court415 2nd Ave N # 200A
Great Falls, MT 59401
406-454-6780Cascade County Sheriff's Office3800 Ulm North Frontage Rd
Great Falls, MT 59404
406-454-6820
Chouteau CountyChouteau County Clerk of Court1308 Franklin St
Fort Benton, MT 59442
406-622-5024Chouteau County Sheriff's Office1215 Washington St
Fort Benton, MT 59442
406-622-5451
Custer CountyCuster County Justice Court1010 Main St
Miles City, MT 59301
406-874-3408Custer County Sheriff1010 Main St
Miles City, MT 59301
406-874-3320
Daniels CountyDaniels County Clerk of Court213 Main St #2
Scobey, MT 59263
406-487-2651Daniels County Sheriff106 Railroad Ave
Scobey, MT 59263
406-487-2691
Dawson CountyDawson County Clerk of Court207 W Bell St
Glendive, MT 59330
406-377-3967Dawson County Corrections440 Colorado Blvd
Glendive, MT 59330
406-377-7600
Deer Lodge CountyDeer Lodge County Courthouse800 Main St
Anaconda, MT 59711
406-563-4000Anaconda Deer Lodge County Police Department800 Oak St
Anaconda, MT 59711
406-563-5241
Fallon CountyClerk of District Court10 W Fallon Ave
Baker, MT 59313
406-778-7114Fallon County Coroner10 W Fallon Ave
Baker, MT 59313
406-778-2879
Fergus CountyFergus County Courthouse712 W Main St
Lewistown, MT 59457
406-535-5026Fergus County Sheriff & Jail121 8th Ave S
Lewistown, MT 59457
406-535-3415
Flathead CountyFlathead County Justice Center920 S Main St Suite 100
Kalispell, MT 59901
406-758-5643Flathead County Sheriff's920 S Main St #100
Kalispell, MT 59901
406-758-5585
Gallatin CountyGallatin County Court House311 W Main St
Bozeman, MT 59715
406-582-3031Gallatin County Sheriff's Office615 S 16th Ave #220
Bozeman, MT 59715
406-582-2100
Garfield CountyGarfield County Clerk of Court352 Leavitt Ave
Jordan, MT 59337
406-557-6254Garfield County Sheriff352 Leavitt Ave
Jordan, MT 59337
406-557-2540
Glacier CountyGlacier County Clerk of Court512 E Main St
Cut Bank, MT 59427
406-873-5063Glacier County Sheriff502 E Main St #2
Cut Bank, MT 59427
406-873-2711
Golden Valley CountyGolden Valley County Courthouse107 Kemp Street
Ryegate, MT 59074
406-568-2102Golden Valley County Sheriff107 Kemp
Ryegate, MT 59074
406-568-2321
Granite CountyGranite County Justice Court220 N Sansome St
Philipsburg, MT 59858
406-859-3006Granite County Sheriff115 W Kearney St
Philipsburg, MT 59858
406-859-3251
Hill CountyHill County Courthouse315 4th St
Havre, MT 59501
406-265-5481Hill County Sheriff1450 2nd St W
Havre, MT 59501
406-265-2512
Jefferson CountyJefferson County District Court201 W Centennial Ave
Boulder, MT 59632
406-225-4042Jefferson County Sheriff Office110 S Washington St
Boulder, MT 59632
406-225-4075
Judith Basin CountyJudith Basin County Courthouse91 3rd St N
Stanford, MT 59479
406-566-2277Judith Basin County Sheriff's Office11 3rd St
Stanford, MT 59479
406-566-2212
Lake CountyClerk of Courts Office106 4th Ave E
Polson, MT 59860
406-883-7214Lake County Sheriff's Department106 4th Ave E
Polson, MT 59860
406-883-7301
Lewis and Clark CountyLewis & Clark County Justice Court228 E Broadway St #102
Helena, MT 59601
406-447-8201Lewis & Clark County Sheriff406 Fuller Ave
Helena, MT 59601
406-447-8293
Liberty CountyLiberty County Clerk of Court111 1st St E
Chester, MT 59522
406-759-5615Liberty County Sheriff301 Adams Ave
Chester, MT 59522
406-759-5171
Lincoln CountyLincoln County Justice Court152 MT-37
Eureka, MT 59917
406-297-2622Lincoln County Jail512 California Ave
Libby, MT 59923
406-293-4115
Madison CountyMadison County Clerk of Justice Court100 Wallace St
Virginia City, MT 59755
406-843-4237Madison County Sheriff's Office5 Placer Loop
Virginia City, MT 59755
406-843-5301
McCone CountyMc Cone County Clerk of Court1004 C Ave
Circle, MT 59215
406-485-3410Mc Cone County Sheriff905 B Ave
Circle, MT 59215
406-485-3405
Meagher CountyMeagher County Courthouse15 W Main St
White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645
406-547-3612Meagher County Sheriff's Office101 W. Crawford
White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645
(406)547-3397
Mineral CountyMineral County Clerk of District Court300 River Street
Superior, MT 59872
406-822-3538Mineral County Sheriff Department310 River St
Superior, MT 59872
406-822-3555
Missoula CountyMissoula County Justice Court200 W Broadway St
Missoula, MT 59802
406-258-3470Missoula County Sheriff's Office200 W Broadway St
Missoula, MT 59802
406-258-4810
Musselshell CountyMusselshell County District Ct Clerk506 Main St
Roundup, MT 59072
406-323-1413Musselshell County Sheriff820 Main St
Roundup, MT 59072
406-323-1402
Park CountyPark County District Judge414 E Callender St
Livingston, MT 59047
406-222-4132Park County Sheriff's Office414 E Callender St #2
Livingston, MT 59047
406-222-4172
Petroleum CountyPetroleum County Clerk of District Court302 East Main
Winnett, MT 59087-0226
(406) 429-5105Petroleum County Sheriff201 E Main St
Winnett, MT 59087
406-429-5231
Phillips CountyPhillips County District Judge314 S 2nd Ave W
Malta, MT 59538
406-654-1062Phillips County Sheriff314 S 2nd Ave W
Malta, MT 59538
406-654-2350
Pondera CountyPondera County Justice Court20 4th Ave SW # 311
Conrad, MT 59425
406-271-4030Pondera County Sheriff20 4th Ave SW
Conrad, MT 59425
406-271-4060
Powder River CountyPowder River County Clerk of District CourtCourthouse Square P.O. Box 239
Broadus, MT 59317
406-436-2320Powder River County Sheriff1 Courthouse Square
Broadus, MT 59317
406-436-2333
Powell CountyDistrict Court Judge409 Missouri Ave
Deer Lodge, MT 59722
406-846-9793Powell County Sheriff Office313 4th St
Deer Lodge, MT 59722
406-846-2711
Prairie CountyPrairie County Clerk of Court217 Park St
Terry, MT 59349
406-635-5575Prairie County Sheriff's Office217 W Park St
Terry, MT 59349
406-635-5738
Ravalli CountyRavalli County District Court205 Bedford St
Hamilton, MT 59840
406-375-6710Ravalli County Sheriff205 Bedford St # G
Hamilton, MT 59840
406-375-4060
Richland CountyRichland County Clerk-District Ct300 12th Ave NW #3
Sidney, MT 59270
406-433-1709Richland County Sheriff's Office300 12th Ave NW
Sidney, MT 59270
406-433-2919
Roosevelt CountyRoosevelt County District Judge400 2nd Ave S
Wolf Point, MT 59201
406-653-6264Roosevelt County Sheriff Department415 S 2nd Ave
Wolf Point, MT 59201
406-653-6216
Rosebud CountyRosebud County Clerk of Court1200 Main St
Forsyth, MT 59327
406-346-7322Rosebud County Sheriff180 S 13th Ave
Forsyth, MT 59327
406-346-2715
Sanders CountySanders County Justice Court1111 W Main St
Thompson Falls, MT 59873
406-827-6941Sanders County Sheriff’s Office1115 W Main St
Thompson Falls, MT 59873
406-827-3584
Sheridan CountySheridan Clerk-District Court100 W Laurel Ave
Plentywood, MT 59254
406-765-3404Sheridan County Sheriff100 W Laurel Ave
Plentywood, MT 59254
406-765-1200
Silver Bow CountySilver Bow County District Clerk126 W Granite St
Butte, MT 59701
406-497-6200Silver Bow County Detention Center155 W Quartz St
Butte, MT 59701
(406) 497-1048
Stillwater CountyStillwater County Courthouse400 E 4th Ave N
Columbus, MT 59019
(406) 322-8030Stillwater County Sheriff's Office400 East 3rd Avenue North
Columbus, MT 59019
406-322-5326
Sweet Grass CountySweet Grass County Clerk-Court200 W 1st Ave
Big Timber, MT 59011
406-932-5154Sweet Grass County Sheriff200 W 1st Ave
Big Timber, MT 59011
406-932-5143
Teton CountyTeton County Justice Court1 Main Ave S
Choteau, MT 59422
406-466-5611Teton County Sheriff26 1st St SE
Choteau, MT 59422
406-466-5781
Toole CountyToole County Courthouse226 1st St S
Shelby, MT 59474
406-424-8300Toole County Sheriff235 Deer Lodge Ave
Shelby, MT 59474
406-434-5585
Treasure CountyTreasure County Courthouse200 Spurling St
Hysham, MT 59038
406-342-5547County Sheriff307 Rapelje Ave
Hysham, MT 59038
406-342-5211
Valley CountyValley County Courthouse501 E Court St
Glasgow, MT 59230
406-228-6267Valley County Sheriff501 Court Sq Suite 10
Glasgow, MT 59230
406-228-4333
Wheatland CountyWheatland County Court Clerk201 A Ave NW
Harlowton, MT 59036
406-632-4821Wheatland County Sheriffs Office203 A Ave NW
Harlowton, MT 59036
406-632-5614
Wibaux CountyWibaux County Courthouse203 Wibaux St
Wibaux, MT 59353
406-796-2483Wibaux County Sheriff's Office206 Wibaux St
Wibaux, MT 59353
406-796-2415
Yellowstone CountyYellowstone County Courthouse217 N 27th St
Billings, MT 59101
406-256-2851Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office2323 2nd Ave N
Billings, MT 59101
406-256-2929

 

If you’re worried that someone you know or love has a criminal record and maybe hiding it from you, run a quick background check online with ArrestRecords.com. Thanks to public records laws, almost all Montana arrests, criminal and civil records are available online, as well as comprehensive background checks and secret data. You can even find Montana marriage records, secret divorce records as well as birth and death records.

Violent Crime rate 

Property Crime rate 

Murder Crime rate 

Forcible Rape rate 

Robbery rate 

Assault rate 

Burglary rate 

Theft rate 

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