Background Checks in Montana

Table of Contents

What is a background check?

A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history. 

Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.

For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.  

How do I run a criminal background check 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.  

What can I do if my Montana criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?

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. 

How do I search for Montana court records online?

The Montana Supreme Court has two online search tools for court documents available to the general public:

To access court documents from other courts in Montana, the best option is to contact the Clerk of Court in the county where the case originated and make a request. 

Click here to use the Montana Judicial Branch Court Locator to find the contact information of the court you wish to contact. 

Where can I find Montana driving records online? 

Montana driving records are available to be purchased online through the Montana Motor Vehicle Division Driver History Records Service

  • In order to order a driving record, visit the page and select “Sign in as Public User”. 
  • The fee for one driving record is $7.37 which can be paid using a credit or debit card. 
  • A working printer is a must since you will have a limited time to print the driving record once the transaction is completed. 

How do I obtain Montana vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?

Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request. 

Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check. 

The Montana Dept of Public Health and Human Services Office of Vital Records enlists the services of the third-party vendor Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories. 

Available vital records include: 

  • birth certificates
  • death certificates

Click here to place an order with Vital Chek

For more information, contact the Montana Dept of Public Health and Human Services Office of Vital Records at 406-444-2685 or [email protected]

How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Montana?

Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in Montana are required by law to register as sex offenders. Additionally, offenders in the registry are required to notify law enforcement as soon as possible in the case of a physical address change or email address change, or they will be labeled “non-compliant”.

The Montana Department of Justice makes the Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry available online to the general public in the interest of public safety. Users may search by name, city, area, or email address/internet name. However, certain low-risk offenders may not be viewable in the online database.

Click here to perform a search of the Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry. It’s important to stay informed about potential threats in your neighborhood in order to take the necessary precautions. 

How do I perform a credit history background check in Montana?

Performing a credit check in Montana follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:

In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureaus, you must provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date of birth 
  • Social security number