Montana Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Montana

The state’s name “Montana” originated from the Spanish word “Montaña” which means “mountainous.” It houses seven state forests and 53 state parks. Almost 30% of the state’s acreage consists of public lands.

The State of Montana may be the 4th largest state in the United States but it’s one of the least populated states. The state’s largest industry is agriculture, including farming, ranching, lumber, and mining. Its tourism is also gradually booming. Hence, though not heavily populated, it’s best to also check its neighboring states when running background checks or acquiring public records.

Counties in Montana 

BeaverheadFallonLakePetroleumSheridan
Big HornFergusLewis and ClarkPhillipsSilver Bow
BlaineFlatheadLibertyPonderaStillwater
BroadwaterGallatinLincolnPowder RiverSweet Grass
CarbonGarfieldMadisonPowellTeton
CarterGlacierMcConePrairieToole
CascadeGolden ValleyMeagherRavalliTreasure
ChouteauGraniteMineralRichlandValley
CusterHillMissoulaRooseveltWheatland
DanielsJeffersonMusselshellRosebudWibaux
DawsonJudith BasinParkSandersYellowstone
Deer Lodge

Where To Get Public Records In Montana

Like in most states, Montana does not maintain a central repository of public records. Depending on the nature and type of the record information, it’s collated, maintained, and distributed by different government bodies. 

Vital records, for instance, are managed by the Montana Department of Public Health. These records of lifetime events, including birth, death, marriage, and divorce, are usually requested as a prerequisite requirement for other documents or IDs such as passports and driver’s licenses.

The Montana Department of Justice is responsible for criminal records. A criminal history record lists all available interactions with any criminal court or law enforcement agency. The Department of Corrections, on the other hand, is responsible for inmate records. The information in the Correctional Offender Network Search is acquired from the databases of the DOC and the Board of Pardons and Paroles, as well as the sexual and violent offender registry. 

For court records, though the Montana Judicial Branch keeps these, you might also need to coordinate with the local or district court where the case was filed and heard. Information you could obtain is court transcripts, the testimony of all involved parties, court orders, sentences, and jury decisions.

Property records are also available to the general public. Land and/or grant records can be accessed from the General Land Office Records, a website managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Property tax records and deed records are kept by the Property Assessment Division.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Montana

The State Legislature consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate is responsible for creating and passing laws in the Montana Code Annotated. Other state laws they’ve made are Montana Open Meetings Law and the Montana Public Records Act. These laws govern public record searches in the state.

Anyone, even non-residents, can request Montana public records and can be sent via mail or email, phone, or in-person. Processes, however, may vary per department so ensure you coordinate with the persons in charge first. The agencies are allowed to charge an $8.50 labor fee per hour over the first 30-minute free search time, and a $.10 copying fee per page.

If the processes seem to be too tedious for you, you may always utilize a reliable third-party people search engine.

Montana Background Check Reports

Background checks in Montana are usually requested by employers, charity organizers, license issuers, property lessors, and foster care managers. The Criminal Investigation, a division of the Department of Justice, is responsible for processing standard and criminal background checks, and credit consumer reporting.

While Montana doesn’t implement any ban-the-box law as of this writing, the state strictly adheres to the regulations and limitations set by Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

A Montana public criminal history record could include indictments, arrests, detentions, sentences, and the like. These reports could be acquired through a name-based or fingerprint-based checking. You may also conduct background checks using a trustworthy third-party site.

Montana Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Montana Background Checks

What states follow the 7-year rule background checks?

Montana is one of the states that follow the 7-year rule for background checks. According to this rule, only criminal convictions going back 7-years are viewable when conducting a background check. The other states that follow this rule include California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Washington.

Are police reports public record in Montana?

Montana police reports are not public records. However, the public has the right to request a criminal record check about a specific person or search for information on court cases via https://www.courts.mo.gov/.

How do I find court records in Montana?

To search court records and cases in Montana, visit https://www.courts.mo.gov/

Are marriage records public in Montana?

In Montana, Marriage records are not public record. To learn how to obtain a copy of these records, you must contact the Montana Dept of Public Health and Human Services Office of Vital Records.