Free Montana State Records Search (Warrant, Divorce, Marriage)

Free Montana Records Page Search
Access Montana Records: warrants, divorce and marriage, arrests, driver's license, and all public records.

Montana, like a majority of states, has written into their constitution a law giving citizens access to search and view a majority of Montana state records for free. Closely tied to this Montana law is the right to privacy also given to the people.1

The right to privacy law can, at times, make it difficult to find certain state records. However, third-party resources often compile government sites so searchers can easily find state records and access those which are public.

Montana Open Record Laws on Public Information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), enacted by the United States Federal Government in 1967, gave citizens the right to search and request copies of most federal records with relatively few exclusions.2 Montana laws regarding the right to public knowledge and the right to privacy can sometimes conflict. This can make it less clear which documents are able to be obtained by citizens because the accessibility of those records is left up to the interpretation of the record holder.3

Some of these documents have little restriction, some are available only to particular individuals, but others are completely restricted.

When searching for documents, a majority of resources will make it clear who is authorized to search and obtain particular documents. Because of the wide variety of Montana state records, documents are held by various entities. Locating the correct jurisdiction or agency and finding the appropriate place to search could be difficult and time-consuming.

It may be beneficial to take advantage of a private, third-party that compiles all public information into a single search. Although this service might not be free of charge, it is worth keeping in mind that many government sites and services may also charge a fee for document production.

A Look at Criminal Records in Montana

Criminal records in Montana encompass a wide variety of documents and information, some of which are public while some are confidential. These records include, but are not limited to:4

  • Investigation information
  • Crime scene photographs
  • Fingerprints
  • Records of arrests
  • Convictions
  • Jail or prison sentences

Many individuals may benefit from the data contained in criminal records. Employers, property owners, and domestic partners (at minimum) may find the information in these records important when pursuing or continuing a working or personal relationship.

Can Anyone Obtain Montana Criminal Records?

Montana state records of criminals have been separated into public information and confidential information by the Criminal Justice Information Act which was enacted in 1979.4

Public criminal information is initially made available by the agency or department in which the records originate. A fee can be charged for these documents, but there is no restriction on who accesses these records. Examples of criminal records available to the public are:4

  • Records of arrests
  • Records of offenses
  • Bail information
  • Convictions
  • Prosecutions
  • Sentences

Montana criminal records that are deemed confidential are only accessible to parties involved. Confidential records can include:4

  • Information in an open criminal investigation
  • Fingerprints
  • Crime scene photographs
  • Documents sealed by the court
  • Information that could identify a sexual assault victim

How Can I Find Out if Someone Has a Criminal History in Montana?

Montana compiles its criminal records through the Montana Department of Justice. Name-based background checks are open to a request by the public through an online search, mail-in request, or in-person request.5

The Criminal History Online Public Record Search allows users to perform a single search for $20 or sign up as a registered user for $100 a year for unlimited searches. The search requires a first name, last name, and birthday. Social security numbers and alias information are optional but may aid in searches.

Montana Department of Criminal Investigation for free Montana warrant search results and other criminal records and inmate information.

Source: Montana Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation13

To mail in a request, money order, or check for $15 to U.S. Funds should be included with the following:

  • First and last name (required)
  • Birthdate (required)
  • Aliases (if known)
  • Social security number (if known)

Send the request to:

Montana Criminal Records
PO Box 201403
Helena, Montana 59620

An in-person request can be made Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. All required information for a mail-in request will also be needed for the in-person request and can be made at:

Investigations Division
2225 11th Ave
Helena, Montana 59601

If an individual is searching for a criminal record for themselves, many cities and counties throughout Montana will provide these records, but only for that particular jurisdiction and person (unless a signed waiver from a separate individual is included).

An internet search using the keywords “Missoula Montana criminal record” will bring up the City of Missoula page to request criminal records. A criminal history request form along with a $15 check can be mailed or delivered to the address listed on the form.

Missoula Police Department Criminal History Record Check Request form to search free Montana criminal records in the county of Missoula.

Source: Missoula Police Department14

Other resources to locate criminal records are made available through different agencies throughout the state. The Sexual or Violent Offender Registry, arrest records, court records, etc., can all provide pertinent information on individuals. Each of these avenues will be expanded below.

Where Can I Find Mugshots of Arrests in Montana?

Montana has 56 counties and roughly 129 cities or towns. Many of these municipalities have city or county jails. When an offender is arrested in one of these cities or towns, a mugshot is taken upon booking. Not all cities and counties provide mugshots with their arrest records, but some do. An internet search for a specific county or city jail or sheriff’s office can point to related arrests along with mugshots, if available.

For example, an online search for “Flathead County Montana mugshots” brings up results including the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.

The Jail Roster page on the sheriff’s website for Flathead county includes recent releases, current inmates, and recent bookings. The results can be sorted by name or booking date and include mugshots along with certain arrest information.

Flathead County Sheriff's Office Jail Roster lookup website of recent releases, current inmates, and recent bookings searched by name and date.

Source: Flathead County Sheriff’s Office15

If the search for a certain mugshot falls short when using the above free search method, a third-party search may provide more results.

Montana Juvenile Records – Are They Public Information?

According to the Montana Code, juvenile public records are available to the public (with exception) until the subject’s 18th birthday, in which case, the records will be sealed.

Juvenile public records in Montana include law enforcement and juvenile court records.

Montana state records for juveniles that will not be sealed include:

  • Medical information
  • DNA samples
  • Fingerprints
  • Unfulfilled court requirements
  • Traffic violations
  • Records pertaining to the youth as a sexual offender

How to Check to See if You or Someone Else Has a Warrant (Free Montana Warrant Search)

Unlike some states, there is no statewide active warrant search function for Montana. A majority of cities and counties in the state keep records of warrants, typically through the sheriff’s department or municipal court. Each entity will have active warrant information online or through a phone or in-person inquiry.

If a warrant is suspected in a specific city or county, using a search engine can lead to the correct website. To find out if there is an active warrant for one’s self or someone else in the city of Helena, typing “City of Helena Montana arrest warrant” in a web search will lead to the City of Helena’s government website Arrest Warrant page. A link is then provided for the Active Warrants page.

Free Montana warrant search in the city of Helena MT and to clear the warrant, residents should call 406.447.8466.

Source: City of Helena, MT6

If the name of the individual in question is located on the above page, there is an active warrant for them. To clear a warrant, the Helena Municipal Court must be contacted Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm at 406-447-8466 to set up an appointment to speak to a judge.6

If a city or county search does not pull up an active warrant list, the city or county sheriff or municipal court can be contacted to find warrant status and information.

How To Check the Montana Sex Offender Registry

In 1989, legislation regarding sexual offenders was enacted and subsequently updated in 1995. The Sexual or Violent Offender Registration Act requires both violent and sexual offenders to register with the Montana Department of Corrections. This registry gives the public free access to:7

  • Offender’s first and last name
  • Aliases
  • Last known address
  • The agency the offender registered with
  • Offense
  • Court Case
  • Mugshot (Not included for most violent offenders)

Offenders stay on the registry for life unless the court deems the offender not to be a hazard to the public and the offender hasn’t broken a law for 10 years.8

The Sexual or Violent Offender Registry can be searched by offender basics or a location search. An offender search is an effective way to look for a specific person. A location search can bring up all offenders within a radius of a certain address. For example, the State Capitol of Montana’s address, which is 1301 E 6th Ave, brings up 123 offenders, 55 of those being sex offenders, within a one mile radius.

Sexual offender lookup map in Helena, Montana showing convicted criminals for free.

Source: Montana Department of Justice16

To receive alerts of new offenders in a certain area or changes to registry status through the Sexual and Violent Offenders Registry, an account needs to be created on the Montana Official State Website.

If more information is needed for a sex offender or violent offender in Montana, a complete criminal record of an individual can be accessed through the Criminal History Online Public Record Search for a fee.

How Do Background Checks in Montana Work?

Background checks can be important when hiring employees, vetting tenants, engaging with business partners, etc. When conducting a background check, results can include:

  • History of residence
  • Criminal Record
  • Past and present employment information
  • Driving records

A criminal background check, as referenced earlier, includes items such as arrest records, convictions, and jail or prison sentences. If only a criminal record is required, following the process to obtain documents through the Criminal History Online Public Record Search should produce the records needed.

A fingerprint-based background check is also available but must include documentation from the subject giving permission to access the requested records. Results for this background check included results for additional states including:

  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

The fingerprint request card along with a $10 check or money order made to US Funds can be mailed or delivered to:

Montana Criminal Records
2225 11th Ave
Helena, Montana 59601

If the other specifics mentioned above are required, a private background check company can provide more detailed information. These services are provided at a cost, but a majority include a criminal record, which incurs a fee through the government site alone.

Montana Court Records

The Montana Judicial Branch is an overarching system that comprises several different courts. These courts consist of:9

  • The Montana Supreme Court – Handles final appeals
  • District Courts – Hear criminal and civil cases and certain appeals
  • Water Court – Jurisdiction to claims regarding water rights
  • Municipal, City, and Justice Courts – Try misdemeanor cases, civil issues for no more than $12,000, small claims, etc.
  • Workers’ Compensation Court – Deals with all disputes regarding workers’ compensation
  • Youth Court – Hears juvenile cases
  • Treatment Courts – Try cases that involve those addicted to alcohol or drugs

Unless expunged or sealed by the court, court records are public information and can be obtained by the public.

How to Find Montana Court Records – Name & Case Search

Active or closed case documents for the Montana Supreme Court from 2007 to the present are virtually located on the Supreme Court Public View Docket Search. For cases between 1979 and 2007, docket information is available in the search, but no documents or transcripts are available online. The cases and documents that are available online are accessible at no charge.

An active case for the Supreme Court can be found by the attorney, parties’ names, or case number. Case information included the docket details and a complete list of actions with associated documents which are available to view, download, and/or print.

Finding court documents for other courts throughout the state is not as straightforward. The Montana Judicial Branch website provides a Court Locator to pinpoint courts that serve certain cities and counties. Once a specific court is located, more information regarding access to court documents can be found. Using Missoula as an example, the Court Locator lists that Missoula is under the 4th Judicial District. A web search of “4th Judicial District Montana” leads to the Missoula County Website Copies and Records Searches page. Court documents can be requested through the Clerk of District Court by email, fax, or mail at the following:

200 W Broadway
Missoula, Montana 59802
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 406-258-4899

A self-addressed envelope with a stamp should be included with a mailed request. The cost of documents will be communicated to the requestor by the clerk and can be paid by check, credit, or debit card.

Due to the number of courts throughout Montana, a third-party, private search may be beneficial in looking for court documents.

One federal district court is located in Montana. Federal court records are searchable through the PACER site. Case records are $.10 per page with a $3.00 limit per single document.10

How to Check Montana Bankruptcy Records

Bankruptcy matters in Montana are handled by the District of Montana United States Bankruptcy Court. Because this is a federal court, bankruptcy court records can also be accessed through the Pacer site.

Public computers are available at the four different court offices located in:

Mike Mansfield Federal Courthouse
400 N Main St, 2nd Floor
Butte, Montana 59701

James F. Battin Federal Courthouse
2601 2nd Ave North
Billings, Montana 59101

Missouri River Federal Courthouse
125 Central Ave West
Great Falls, Montana 59404

Russell Smith Federal Courthouse
2001 East Broadway
Missoula, Montana 59802

Documents can be viewed on these terminals for free and printed for $.10 per page.

Closed and archived bankruptcy cases can also be found on the National Archives Court Records page.

Inmate Records in Montana

Finding an inmate in a Montana jail or prison can be important to those keeping track of an incarcerated person. An individual may need to know details of a relative’s whereabouts in order to send money or to plan a visit, or, simply have knowledge that a certain person is still serving a sentence. Inmate records typically include the inmate’s name, inmate number, location, jail or prison term, and parole information.

Find Someone Recently Arrested or in Jail

City and county jails are managed locally. Many jails throughout the state of Montana give the ability to search and view recent arrests and bookings.

To search inmate records for a specific county, a search can lead to information on that county and whether a website is available with records or contact information. A web search for “Broadwater County Montana arrests” results in the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Roster page.

Specific inmates can be located by name, or all inmates can be viewed and sorted by name, date, current, or release.

Broadwater County sheriff's office inmate finder to search roster of criminals and find inmates free in Montana county.

Source: Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office17

If a city or county jail or sheriff’s office does not have an online search of arrests and inmates, calling the local jail or law enforcement office may provide the information needed.

Find Prison Inmate Records (Federal & State Prisoners)

The Montana Department of Corrections manages prisoners housed in all five state prisons. An Offender Search is provided on the website with the availability to look up an inmate by Department of Corrections Identification Number, first name, or last name.

Offender information includes ID numbers, personal details, descriptions, convictions, sentences, etc.

To find an inmate in federal prison, the Find an Inmate page is located on the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website. Many options to search federal inmates on this site are available, such as record numbers, but all that is necessary is a first and last name. This record search will pull up the same type of information as the state search: location, offense, incarceration term, etc.

Montana Department of Corrections criminal offender search tool requiring DOC identification number and name.

Source: Montana Department of Corrections18

Montana Vital Records (Vital Statistics Analysis Unit)

The state of Montana’s births and deaths are recorded and documented by the Montana Office of Vital Records. A majority of states manage records for marriage and divorce, but this is not the case for Montana.11

The Montana Vital Records office should not be confused with the Vital Statistics Analysis Unit. The VSAU does not record any vital event or issue any certificates in reference to vital events. This unit compiles already recorded data in reference to vital events and publishes reports in regard to them.12

Accessing Montana Vital Records (Free Montana Marriage Records & Divorce Records)

Most information located in vital records in Montana is public. There are, however, stipulations on who can access actually certified copies of these records. The requestor must have proof of identification that the document is in reference to themselves or to an approved relation.

A majority of government agencies in Montana process requests for certified records, so obtaining information that is located in vital records is limited to certain agencies or companies.

How to Get Copies & Replacement Certificates in Montana (Free Divorce Records & Vital Records)

VitalChek is a website utilized by the Montana Vital Records office to provide certified copies of documents to requestors. Because Montana uses this service to give citizens access to the vital records they need, ordering a copy of a certificate is simple. VitalChek does require proof of self or relation when ordering a certified document along with other detailed information.

VitalChek also allows for a birth search (if the birth occurred more than 30 years ago) and a death search. These searches must be done by phone at 1-888-877-1946.

A screenshot showing free Montana marriage records can be ordered through the state and third-party sites MT has partnered with.

Source: VitalChek19

The cost of a typical birth search is $10, and a typical death search is $13. If the date of birth or death is unknown, additional fees may apply.

If the requestor prefers to mail a request for a certified copy of a certificate, requests can be made to Montana Vital Records at:

111 North Sanders Room 6
PO Box 4210
Helena, Montana 59604

The request must include a Birth Certificate Application or a Death Certificate Application, a signed and notarized copy of approved identification, and a check made payable to Montana Vital Records. Fees for certified birth certificates are $12 and certified death certificates are $16.

County clerks throughout the state also have access to vital records. Each county in Montana will have a specific procedure to access certified copies of records or a requestor will be directed to use VitalChek. For example, a search for “Cascade County Montana Birth Certificate” directs the user to the Cascade County Court and Recorder’s Office website. Here, a user can find documents and instructions to request birth and death certificates along with other limited Montana state records directly from the county.


1Montana Legislature. (n.d.). Part II. DECLARATION OF RIGHTS – Table of Contents, Title 0, Chapter 2, MCA. Montana State Legislature. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from <>

2United States Department of Justice. (n.d.). Freedom of Information Act: Learn. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from <>

3Montana Secretary of State. (n.d.). Privacy Versus the Right to Know – Montana Secretary of State – Christi Jacobsen. Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

4Montana Attorney General. (2020). Right to Know and Right of Privacy Laws. Montana Department of Justice. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

5Montana Attorney General. (2022). Background Checks. Montana Department of Justice. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

6City of Helena. (2019). Arrest Warrants & Defendants in Custody. City of Helena. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <,to%20speak%20with%20the%20Judge.>

7Montana Department of Justice. (2020). Sexual or Violent Offender Registry. Montana Department of Justice. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

8Montana Department of Justice. (2020). History. Montana Department of Justice. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

9Montana Judicial Branch. (n.d.). Montana Courts. Montana Judicial Branch. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

10Administrative Office of the US Courts. (n.d.). PACER Case Locator: PACER. PACER Case Locator: PACER. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

11Department of Public Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Birth &amp; Death Certificates. Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

12Department of Public Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Vital Statistics Unit. Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from <>

13Montana Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. (2023). Search. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from   <>

14Missoula Police Department. (n.d.). Criminal History Record Check Request. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from <>

15Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. (2023). Jail Roster. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from   <>

16Montana Department of Justice. (2023). Search Sexual or Violent Offender Registration Act (SVOR) Offenders. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from <>

17Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office. (2023). Inmate Roster. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from <>

18Montana Department of Corrections. (2023). Offender Search. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from <>

19VitalChek. (2023). Vital records. Order Your Official Vital Records Online. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from <>