Sex Offender Laws in Montana
Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) in combination with federal law requires convicted sex offenders to register themselves in the Sexual/Violent Offender Registry (SVOR). Registrable offenses include but are not limited to sexual assault, sexual intercourse without consent, indecent exposure, incest, aggravated promotion of prostitution, sexual abuse of children and incest. It also pertains to any other state and federal laws where the offender is required to be registered as a convicted sex offender. Levels are assigned based on the severity of the crimes and the likelihood of repeat offenses.
Convicted sexual offenders must be informed in writing about their duty to register by the authority in charge of their incarceration. They must receive notification at least 10 days before their release from prison. The official in charge of a sex offender’s incarceration must also provide the details of the offender’s intended residential address, fingerprints and photo (if not in official custody) and a form with the offender’s signature that his or her duty to register has been explained to him or her.
These documents are shared with the department of justice and the sheriff (in the county where the offender intends to live) or the chief of police (in the municipality where the offender intends to live). Adjudicated juveniles of a sexual or violent offense must also register. Registration must be completed within three business days. Sex offenders convicted in another state but who wish to reside in Montana for 10 days or more, must also register. Registration is also required for sexual offenders who reside outside Montana but have returned back to the state. Sexual offenders must remain on the registry for life.
Montant Sex Offender Designation
Level 1 – considered a low risk of repeat sexual offense. The law enforcement agency with which the offender is registered should notify the agency in whose jurisdiction the crime occurred, of the registration.
Level 2 – considered a moderate risk of repeat sexual offense. The law enforcement agency with which the offender is registered may provide public notification, may notify a victim and any agency, organization or group serving persons who have characteristics similar to those of the previous victim.
Level 3 – considered a high risk of repeat sexual offense. It includes those offenders who pose a threat to public safety and anyone who has been evaluated as a violent sexual predator. Sex offenders, who have been convicted of offenses involving minors are prohibited from living within a certain radius of preschools, elementary or high school, licensed day-care centers, churches or parks maintained by a city, town or county. The law enforcement agency with which the offender is registered has to issue a notification to the public and the victim.
Sexual offenders can have employment restrictions imposed on them in order to protect certain members of the public who could be potential victims in future offenses. Offenders must also inform the law enforcement agency they are registered with, of any change in name, residence, student, employment or transient status within three business days. Failure to register or update the register with accurate information is a violation and will be dealt with accordingly.
More information is available in the Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Division Operational Procedure guide -https://cor.mt.gov/Portals/104/ProbationParole/PPDOperationalProcedures/PPD%201.5.1000%20S-V%20Offender%20Registration%20and%20Level%20Desig.pdf
According to the SVOR in 2013, over 50% of sex offenders in Montana did not have an assigned tier. In the absence of a properly assigned tier, the offender is automatically registered in tier 1. This is especially the case for offenders who were convicted before 1997, including out of state offenders. In 2016, SVOR
contained more than 6,000 names and had over 300 updates from 70 different state agencies. Maintaining the registry was an arduous task and officials estimated it would take them at least a couple of years to make the registry more comprehensive.
For further information refer to –
Ministry of Justice - http://www.doj.mt.gov/
Montana Code Annotated 2017 - https://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0450/chapter_0050/part_0050/sections_index.html