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Montana Arrest Records Search

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The following is for informational purposes only

How to Look Up Criminal Records in Montana

The state's criminal justice department is the entity in charge of providing criminal records for the general public. They maintain a database of all the files for the state. They allow individuals to set up an account or use the online system as a guest. Either way, they must pay $14.50 per record. The records date back to 1950. What is not included in the records are open warrants or protection orders. They also supply sex offender records in there.

Are Arrest Records Public Records in Montana?

Yes, Montana arrest records and criminal records are publicly available. They keep and maintain a large database of records online where someone can set up an account for ongoing use or just checkout as a guest to do a criminal lookup. Each file costs $14.50. They provide both fingerprint and name-based searches. They recommend fingerprints as they are much more reliable for finding matches. If they can’t find a match while online, they will contact the requestor later with it. Most inquiries are instant.

Victims & Offenders by Gender and Race

Offenders by Gender

Victims by Gender

Offenders by Race

American Indian or Alaska Native18%
Black or African American3%
Native Hawaiian0%
Offenders w/ reported race3,562

Victims by Race

American Indian or Alaska Native14%
Black or African American2%
Native Hawaiian0%
Victims w/ reported race3,765

What Information Does Montana Arrest Record Report Include?

What Information You Can Find in Montana Arrest Report?

A Montana arrest report will provide basic details about the person like name, email, phone, address, gender, race, age, date of birth, fingerprints, height, weight, and other physical descriptors. Typically, it will also contain details about each arrest including Montana mugshots, date of arrest, arresting officer’s name, arresting agency, the location of the arrest, bail or bond posted, pleas, dispositions, jail time and all other details about the charge and conviction. If any vehicles were involved, that information will be in there as well.

Montana Police Reports and Mugshots

Are Montana Police Reports Public Record?

Although police reports are public records in Montana, the state does not make it easy to obtain them. The Montana Highway Patrol does offer crash reports for $2, videos for $25, and photos for $10. You must be named in the crash report to get a copy.

For other records requests, you must email or call 406–444–3780 for more information.

Regardless of the method, you will find the following types of information on a police report:

  • The names and ages of the people involved.
  • The charges filed if any.
  • The location of the event.
  • The date and time of the incident.
  • A detailed description of the incident.
  • Any arrests that took place.
  • Mugshots.
  • The name of the jail they were taken to.
  • The bail or bond amount set.

Many online portals that serve public records to the general public will have copies of police reports and the details.

Montana Mugshots

Photography helped to revolutionize law enforcement through mugshots. They were first used in France by officer Alphonse Bertillon. He devised a system of taking a side shot (profile) and a front shot (full face) and then combining them into one picture called a mugshot (mug being slang for your face). Other countries soon adopted the procedure, and now every law enforcement agency uses them as part of the booking process. They are helpful in getting the word out to the public about a fugitive or for use with witnesses and victims to identify criminals.

It’s pretty easy to find Montana mugshots online. Many of the county lockups show a jail roster listing. When you click on an inmate, you can see all the details of their crime, their name, birth date, and a mugshot. For uniformity, in all Montana mugshots, suspects wear an orange jumpsuit and are photographed against a blue brick wall.

Montana Arrest Booking Process

Montana police and Sheriffs have the legal right to arrest someone based on an arrest warrant or witnessing a crime. They usually handcuff the suspect and take them to jail for processing.

Montana’s procedure for arresting someone and booking them is very much like most other areas. After the police take a person into custody, they book them into the system. This process usually consists of:

  • Mugshots.
  • Fingerprinting.
  • A full body search.
  • Possibly a medical exam.
  • All their personal belongings will be confiscated and inventoried and held for them until release.
  • Possibly a DNA swab.
  • Basic questions asked such as name, address, date of birth, etc. will be recorded into the system.

Law enforcement may do a complete background check on them, checking for warrants and other red flags. They may also charge them with a crime and set bail or bond.

Violent Crime Rates for the last 10 years

The crime rate has increased over the past decade in Montana, going from 1,159 crimes in 2006 to 2,043 by 3% higher than it was back in 2006. The largest percentage of violent crimes falls into the Aggravated Assault category, with Revised Rape being the least popular crime in the state.

Montana Violent Crime Rate Change

Arrest Law

Montana Arrest Laws

Any peace officer in MT can arrest someone with a valid arrest warrant. They can also arrest someone when they witness a crime being committed, have probable cause that someone committed a crime or know of a crime and have evidence that the person committed it.

Who has a Power of Arrest in Montana?

Any peace officer in MT can arrest someone. In the state, a peace officer is “deputy sheriff, undersheriff, police officer, highway patrol officer, fish and game warden, park ranger, campus security officer, or airport police officer.” Any private person can also arrest someone in MT after witnessing him or her committing a crime or with just probable cause of him or her committing a crime. This person can use physical force to detain the individual until they are handed over to the police.

How Long Will an Arrest Report Stay on your Montana State Records?

Arrest records along with felonies and misdemeanors will stay on someone’s criminal record forever if they don’t apply to have them expunged. Misdemeanors used to not to be eligible for removal, but they are now. Offenders must wait five years after completion of their sentence before requesting their records be expunged. They also cannot have any new charges or convictions on their Montana police report. If they harmed someone with their crime, that person would be consulted before the expungement was granted. DUIs also can now be expunged after five years.

Can you Expunge your Records?

Yes. The state recently softened their expungement laws so now things like misdemeanors, arrests, and DUIs can be removed. Offenders do have to wait at least five years after completion of their sentencing to apply for expungement. However, if they comply with the terms and a judge looks favorably at their situation, they have a good chance at getting their records removed.

The Arrest Rate in Montana

Arrest Rate in Montana

For the year 2017, 31,186 arrests were recorded. Of that total, 27,225 were property crimes, and 3,961 were violent crimes. The overall crime rate in MT for 2017 was 29.69 per 1000 residents. Many of the violent crimes (3,012) were for assault. Another 295 were for robbery, 613 for rape and 41 were for murders.

State Offender and Victim Age Group Statistics

Most of the violent crime offenders in Montana were 10-19 and the largest percentage of violent crime victims were 20-29.

Offender Age

Offenders w/ reported age4,464

Victim Age

Victims w/ reported age3,540

Crime Victim Demographics

Residence Home is the place where the majority of crimes in Montana were committed, in most of the crime cases the offender was an acquaintance.

Location Type

Residence Home1,765
Parking Garage/Lot102
Department/Discount Store61
Jail/Prison/Corrections Facility60

Victim’s Relationship to the Offender

Relationship Unknown770
Otherwise Known376
Other Family Member96

Montana Arrest Records by Type of Crime

The popular arrests for 2017 in Montana was for All Other Offenses (except traffic) - 6,968, the same popularity of the arrest type was seen in Alabama, Alaska, and Arizona. The least popularity had Arson arrests - with only 46 crimes a year.

Arrest TypeUnder 18All agesTotal arrests
Violent Crime1131,2621,375
Property Crime8814,9655,846
Aggravated Assault871,1051,192

Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services

Is your State Safer than Montana?

Select your state and find out:

Crime rate - 4,347
The crime rate in the last 5 years - down by 3%

5 Safest Counties in the Area

A list of 5 counties in Montana that have the lowest arrest rate in 2017

Montana Arrest Records Search
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