How to Find Public Police Records in the State of Montana?
The State of Montana identifies criminal records as the legally admissible documented history of all convicted and alleged criminal activities of an individual, as documented by the designated authorities. The State only records and maintains criminal records of offenses within the jurisdiction of various Law Enforcement Agencies of the State. The prescribed format of a criminal record mandates entry of the following information:
- Information about the offender including:
- Registered Legal Name and known aliases of the offender as well as parents.
- A mug-shot that qualifies as a sufficient basis for photo-identification.
- Date and Place of Birth.
- Ethnicity, Race, Gender, and Age.
- Physical descriptors and biometric data of fingerprints.
- Any persistent physical and/or psychological conditions that mandated authorities to execute special protocols or procedures at the time of arrest or incarceration.
- Information about the offense:
- Date, place, and type of Offense.
- Information on Warrants issued, including date, place, type and issuing authority details. Special mention of all outstanding warrants.
- Arrest Records from across all Counties and arrests outside the State that mandate deportation back to the State.
- Information about conviction, probation, parole, incarceration, penalties due upon sentencing.
The authorized custodian of Statewide Criminal Records is the Montana Department of Justice. It is also tasked with:
- Aggregating the aforesaid information from the criminal records of the many law enforcement agencies of local/county and State Governments as well as court records of the Montana Courts of trials and appeals.
- Documents and maintains them in a central database of criminal records.
- The Department allows online and offline applications, wherein the applicant can order criminal records in person or by mail. Access to criminal records also allows for single window access to relevant records from Federal Databases, especially the National Registry of Sex Offenders.
- The Department also provides services for Expungement or removal of criminal records.
- Provides Eligible applicants with:
- Aforesaid criminal records within the jurisdiction of the State.
- Records and alerts of Missing Persons.
- Access to the application process for records from the National Registry of Sex Offenders and relevant records from Federal Database of Crime Records.
The Department prescribes a fee of $20 per record for Public Users and fees ranging from $11 to $30 for registered users. Herein registered users refer to those users who are registered with the Montana E-governance program and they can secure passwords for up to 10 individuals upon annual registration that costs $1000.
In the case of public users, anyone can order public criminal history information of the State in compliance with the Statute MCA 44-5-301 from the CHOPRS portal. This criminal history does not include criminal justice information as the offender is still under trial. Hence criminal justice information cannot be accessed from the CHOPRS portal and it can only be accessed on the basis of a very narrow list of prescribed circumstances.
In case the applicant wishes to submit his/her application by mail:
- He/she must provide the legal name, date of birth and social security number of the person being checked. If the applicant is inquired upon, the application is only deemed eligible if the information submitted is found to be sourced by the use of legal means. Illegal access to information is a serious criminal offense in itself.
- A Self-addressed envelope with the necessary stamps.
- Payment of $15 in lieu of the processing fees.
- IF the request is for a fingerprint criminal record, then the applicant fingerprint card, additional personal information of the person who records is being sought and an additional fee of $10 must also be furnished.
In case of applications made in person:
- The applicant may visit the office of the Criminal Records and Identification Services Section, situated at 2225 11th Avenue in Helena.
- The working hours of the said section are notified as 8:30 am to 4:30 pm from Monday thru Friday.