The Department of Justice is the government body in charge of Montana background checks. According to the Code Annotated 44-5-301, access is granted to anyone who wants copies. The state makes it easy for the general public, government agencies and employers to search records through their online portal called CHOPRS – Criminal History Online Public Record Search. Each record search costs $20. They offer registered accounts for repeat users and public access for one-time or limited users. They offer two types of reports. One is a name-based search, and the other uses fingerprints. With the name-based search, the requestor must have the person’s name, date of birth and social security number. Name searches will be state events only, and fingerprint reports will include federal records.
Additionally, people can request records through the mail or in person at their office in Helena, MT.
Depending on the type of report, the information contained within it with vary. A typical background report based on a name-search will yield: “identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, complaints, indictments or information filed and any related dispositions, sentences, correctional status, and photographs.” Fingerprint-based reports will include national details of any crimes committed in other states.
Along with the criminal history information the report will include name, date of birth, age, address, height, weight, race, gender, social security number, and other physical descriptors.
Using a background check in Montana can be for many reasons for individuals and companies. The most popular reason is employment to screen applicants. Other reasons are for renting property, licensing, permits, adoption, foster care, insurance, credit and financing and also security clearances.
The public also has access to other background check reports containing a plethora of information gathered from public and private sources including:
Marriages and Divorces
Auto, Vessel, Aircraft Ownership
Current and Past Addresses
Phone and Email Address
Relatives and Associates
Social Media Accounts and More
The purpose of these types of reports is to check out an online date, look into a new business partner or vendor, before letting a new roommate move in or checking out your own online profile.
A Montana criminal background check is available to the public through the Department of Justice. They offer personal details along with a complete criminal history including arrests, convictions (felonies and misdemeanors), court dispositions, serious driving infractions, incarcerations, parole, and probation information. They are available through name or fingerprint-based searches.
The state does not have any laws requiring a state-level background report before purchasing a gun in the state. MT is not a point of contact for licensed gun dealers. Therefore they must follow federal law and contact the FBI and use NICS for a mandated background check before selling any firearms to buyers. Private sales are not regulated, and they do not require background information either. For 2018, The state processed 632,319 total background check in the state. Two hundred seventy-four thousand seven hundred fifty-four of them were for handguns, 202,708 were for long guns, and 90,972 were for permits.
On average 117,607 gun checks annually are being conducted through NICS in California.
MT employers must be careful about asking about arrests, as this could lead to claims of discrimination. However, when using a background check during the hiring process, employers are allowed to ask about any convictions. There are also Montana background check laws pertaining to discrimination with licensing or permits.
Even though Montana does not govern how employers can use background information during the hiring process, they do restrict the use of criminal records for discrimination when licensing or providing permits to applicants. Employers are free to use background checks on how they see fit during the application and interview process. However, all state employers must comply with federal discrimination law: The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when using background checks to determine eligibility when hiring.
According to The Fair Credit Reporting Act, when using sites like InfoTracer to obtain a background check report, the information cannot legally be used to determine credit, employment, tenant screening or any other eligibility requirements for business or professional use.
In 2017, there have been 52 victims of online romance scams in Montana, resulting in $0.2 million adjusted losses associated with these complaints.
|Age Group||Count||Amount Loss|
|20 - 29||77||76,203|
|30 - 39||99||279,310|
|40 - 49||91||1,178,278|
|50 - 59||124||219,267|