Montana Public Records

Montana is the fourth largest U.S. State with slightly more than 1 million residents. The state does make clear provisions for sharing its records with the general public as it considers public records as public property.

The first public records law of Montana was passed in 18951. When the Montana state constitution was rewritten, the public records law was broaden. The current public records law in the state of Montana is now found under Article II, Section 8 and 9. According to the law, “any person”, not considering citizenship, can access public records in Montana. The law doesn’t require the purpose for requesting the records to be disclosed.

Montana Criminal Records

Background checks in the state of Montana are the duty of the Montana Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. The general public may request a background check on any individual through the Montana state’s online web page, which will give Montana convictions for misdemeanors and felonies. Law enforcement agencies may request a complete background check which includes criminal history, arrest records and warrants even in other states.

Getting a fingerprint-based criminal records check or a name-based criminal records check is also possible. You need a person’s name, social security number and date of birth to perform a name-based check. You can request for any of these online, either by mail, or in person. You can request a finger-base check either in person or via email.

Arrest records and jail and inmate records are accessible to the public. If you want to locate an inmate, Victim Programs, or to find any information regarding the correctional facilities, you should go to the official website of the Montana Department of Corrections. The site has a page called search page that allows you to locate an offender by entering either a First and Last Name or a Department of Corrections ID Number. The search will give you the full inmate records, such as offender’s current location, list of his or her convictions, earliest release date, and an image if available.

Montana Court Records

The information regarding courts in Montana and court records is available on the state’s administrator of the courts website. Montana Supreme Court cases are the only cases that you can search online. To obtain other court records, you will have to apply at the appropriate courthouses where the case was heard.

Montana Vital Records

All state-level vital records that have been created, maintained and administered by the state of Montana are maintained by the Office of Vital Statistics. These records include birth, death, divorce and marriage certificates.

  • Birth records: There are some counties in the state of Montana that began keeping birth records before 1895. The clerk of the court in every county keeps these records. The Family History Library keeps some of the early county birth records. Statewide registration in Montana began in 1907 but all counties complied with the requirement by 1920. All birth records are now collected and kept at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. You can order any of these records online through
  • Death records: Death records in the state of Montana are organized into prior-1907 category and 1907-present category. Statewide registration of deaths began in Montana in 1907. Even before then, some Montana counties were already keeping death records before 1895. Yellowstone County is a good example. The county began keeping birth records in 1884. Montana Vital Records Department of Health now collects and keeps all death records.
  • Marriage records: There are marriage records from 1943. You can request for these records through the clerks of the district courts. There are microfilms of most county marriages records at the Family History Library. You can search for the records of early marriages online on the Western States Marriage Index at no cost.
  • Divorce records: You can obtain divorce records in person or by mail only through the appropriate District Court Clerk in the county in which the event took place.

Application for Montana records available for public sharing is a simple, straightforward process. Just follow the right procedure and you will easily obtain any of these records.

Montana State Court System

Understanding how the system of Montana state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

Montana Courts Overview

To make your work easier, start searching for court files and records in Montana by simply going to courts by county.

The trial court system of Montana State consists of Workers’ Compensation Court, Water Court, Municipal Courts, City Courts, Justice Courts, and District Courts.

District Courts

The Montana District Courts have general jurisdiction to handle all criminal and civil cases, but typically handle only those cases that other Montana courts have no jurisdiction to handle.

General criminal cases that are heard by these courts include most misdemeanor criminal cases and felony criminal cases. Civil cases include naturalization cases, probate matters, and general civil claims. These courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain civil claims against the state for money damages.

Justice Courts

The Montana Justice Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases generally heard by these courts include most misdemeanors and felony preliminary proceedings. They share jurisdiction over certain types of misdemeanors with District Courts.

Civil cases typically heard by these courts include most general civil cases involving $7000 or less in dispute, exclusive of interest and costs. They cannot handle certain types of cases such as disputes involving title to real estate.

Justice Courts have Small Claims Court divisions that handle most general civil cases for $3000 or less in dispute, exclusive of costs.

City Courts

The Montana City Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. Typical criminal cases heard by these courts include criminal violations of town or city ordinances. Civil cases include certain cases related to tax collection, violations of municipal ordinances, and certain cases against a town or city.

Municipal Courts

The Montana Municipal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. Typical criminal cases handled by these courts are cases related to violations of town or city ordinances. Civil cases include certain cases against the town or city, certain cases related to tax collection, and civil municipal ordinance violations.

Water Court

The Montana Water Court has limited jurisdiction over cases related to water rights claims. Typical cases heard by this court include claims based on the Indian and Federal water rights, and claims based in the state law. The Water Court hears operates out of one office location but hears cases from the entire state.

Workers’ Compensation Court

The Montana Workers’ Compensation Court has limited jurisdiction over the cases that arise from the Montana Occupational Disease Act and the Montana Workers’ Compensation Act. It has limited jurisdiction over reemployment preferences and certain contractor exemptions. It also imposes civil penalties for the violations of some workers’ compensation law and reviews final decisions of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

Court Notes

Most Montana courts have special “Treatment Court” programs including Mental Health Court, Family Treatment Court, Juvenile Drug Court, Adult Drug Court, and Youth Drug Court. These programs can establish treatment in lieu of custody for some offenders who have mental health or substance abuse problems.

The Official Website of Montana County

Billings City of Billings, MT – Official Website
Missoula Missoula, MT – Official Website
Great Falls City of Great Falls Montana
Bozeman City Of Bozeman
Butte City and County of Butte-Silver Bow, MT | Official Website
Helena City of Helena Queen City of the Rockies
Kalispell Kalispell, MT | Official Website
Havre City of Havre
Anaconda Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, MT | Official Website
Miles City City of Miles City
Belgrade City of Belgrade, Montana
Livingston City of Livingston
Whitefish Whitefish, Montana | Official City Website Welcome to the official website for the City of Whitefish, MT! Our website covers information about city news, upcoming events, and more.
Lewistown City Meetings & Events – City of Lewistown, Montana
Sidney Welcome to the City of Sidney
Petroleum County Petroleum County, Montana
Golden Valley County Golden Valley County, Montana
Prairie County Prairie County Government Prairie County offers rural living at its best: wide open spaces under the “big sky”, plenty of recreational opportunities, and an old-fashioned sense of western hospitality. Prairie County was formed in February of 1915 from part of Custer County, Dawson County and Fallon County. The county seat is located in Terry, the only incorporated town in the county. Other communities are Fallon and Mildred. Prairie County, located in Eastern Montana, along the Yellowstone River is home to scenic badlands and plentiful hunting and fishing opportunities.
Carter County Carter County Montana
Garfield County Garfield County, MT Government Official website for Garfield County government, located in Eastern Montana.
McCone County McCone County
Powder River County Powder River County
Meagher County Meagher County Welcome to Meagher County – official site for your local government. Latest commissioner minutes, area info, access to all county departments and contact information. Commonly requested forms, budget, annual reports, employment application, policy handbook and much more.
Judith Basin County Judith Basin County – Judith Basin County
Liberty County Liberty County | Heart of the Hi-Line
Fallon County Fallon County
Granite County Granite County Montana
Sweet Grass County Sweet Grass County Montana | Sweet Grass County, Montana : Government and Department Information
Sheridan County Sheridan County
Mineral County Mineral County Montana ?
Musselshell County Welcome to Musselshell County Montana – Part of Big Sky Country Enjoy a variety of fun Montana events including the Roundup 4th of July weekend, 4-H Livestock shows, outdoor Hunting & Fishing, Live Music and great food.
Toole County Toole County MT Official Website of Toole County Montana.
Broadwater County Broadwater County
Chouteau County Chouteau County, Montana
Teton County Teton County Montana
Pondera County Pondera County Montana
Blaine County Blaine County, Montana Blaine County, Montana located in the state of Montana. County seat is Chinook. Blaine County, MT named in honor of J. Blaine, former US Secretary of State.
Powell County Departments – Welcome to Powell County, Montana
Valley County Welcome To Valley County, MT
Madison County Madison County, MT | Official Website
Stillwater County Stillwater County |
Rosebud County Rosebud, Montana Rosebud County is in southeastern Montana near the Wyoming border. The town of Rosebud parallels the south shore of the Yellowstone River, ten miles east of Forsyth on Interstate 90 and Rosebud County was formed in 1901 from part of Custer County.
Beaverhead County Beaverhead County
Dawson County Dawson County Montana Home Page Census 2020 is hiring Please click here for detailsSchool Election Results May 7, 2019 This webpage has recently been updated Please note the Agenda and Minutes are now on the blue tab of this page.Schedules meetings are on the green Calendar tab.
Carbon County Carbon County ?
Roosevelt County Welcome to Roosevelt County | Wolf Point, Montana
Sanders County Sanders County ?
Fergus County Fergus County
Jefferson County Jefferson County MT

Montana Inmate Roster and Inmate Search

Department Badge?Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office Big Horn County Inmate Roster
Roster Choose – Broadwater County Sheriff Broadwater County Current Inmates
Sheriff ?? ?Custer County Montana Custer County Jail Inmate Information
Welcome to Dawson County, MT Dawson County Inmate Lookup
Fallon County Sheriff Department Fallon County Detention Facility Inmates
Flathead County Sheriff’s Office – Jail Roster Flathead County Current Inmate List
Lake County, Montana Lake County Sheriff’s Dept Inmate Roster
Public Inmate Roster Lewis and Clark County Jail Roster
Missoula County Inmate Information Portal Missoula County Inmate Information
Adult Detention Center | Ravalli County, MT – Official Website Ravalli County Inmate Roster
Detention Center | City and County of Butte-Silver Bow, MT Silver Bow Inmate List
Stillwater County Sheriff Stillwater County Inmate Finder
Valley County Jail Roster Valley County Jail Inmate Roster
Yellowstone County, Montana Yellowstone County Detention Facility Inmates
Montana Department of Corrections Search for Convicted Felons in Montana.
Background Checks – Montana Department of Justice Montana Department of Justice Background Checks
Criminal History Online Public Record Search – Montana Department of Justice Criminal History Public Records Search
MT Judicial Branch Montana Judicial Branch
Search Conditions – The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website Montana Sex Offender Registry