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Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Justice is to pursue activities and programs that seek to ensure and promote the public interest, safety, and well-being through leadership, advocacy, education, regulation and enforcement.

The Department of Justice, under the direction of the Attorney General, is responsible for statewide legal services and counsel, law enforcement and public safety. The duties of the department are as follows:

  • Provide legal representation for the state and its political subdivisions in criminal appeals
  • Provide legal services and counsel for the state, county and municipal agencies, and their officials
  • Enforce Montana traffic laws and register all motor vehicles
  • Enforce state fire safety codes and regulations
  • Assist local law enforcement agencies in bringing offenders to justice
  • Manage a statewide system of death investigations and provide scientific analyses of specimens submitted by law enforcement officials, coroners and state agencies
  • Maintain and disseminate criminal justice information to authorized state, local, and other entities
  • Provide uniform regulation of all gambling activities in the state of Montana
  • Enforce consumer protection laws and regulations relating to unfair and deceptive business practices, and assist Montana consumers in making sound decisions by providing public outreach
  • Provide statewide leadership on issues related to victims of crime and administer the crime victim compensation program for the benefit of innocent victims

Statutory authority is provided in MCA, 2-15-501, 2-15-2001-2021, and Titles 44 & 61.

Agency Goals and Objectives


Promote public policy that is in the best interests of the citizens we serve.

  • Reduce prescription drug abuse and misuse, thereby reducing the threat to public health and safety
  • Reduce drunk and drugged driving in Montana, particularly the number of repeat DUI offenders, making our highways safe
  • Expand the services provided by the Office of Consumer Protection to better protect consumers, including seniors, and to assist Montana’s farmers and ranchers
  • Prevent the physical and sexual abuse of children, and where it has occurred, improve the treatment of child victims and the likelihood of successfully prosecuting the perpetrators
  • Work with the Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Council to identify and support legislation and other measures to reduce abuse, including creating and implementing a prescription drug registry that gives doctors and pharmacists access to their patients’ prescription history for the most dangerous prescription drugs
  • Increase public awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens and parents
  • Work with local law enforcement, public health officials and community groups to continue statewide prescription drug take-back days in an effort to reduce the amount of unused medications in homes that can be diverted to illicit uses
  • Gain legislative approval for the statewide implementation of the 24/7 Sobriety Program throughout Montana
    • Work with local law enforcement, prosecutors and judges to successfully implement the 24/7 Sobriety Program statewide
    • Make information about the 24/7 Program available to Montana’s tribal governments
  • Where appropriate, protect Montana’s agricultural producers by filing anti-trust actions to prevent further consolidation in the agriculture and transportation industries
  • Conduct public education and outreach on the full range of issues important to consumers, including fraud, debt and identity theft
  • Investigate and prosecute sexual predators who use the Internet to identify potential victims and entice them to meet; continue cooperative efforts with the Montana Cybercrimes Task Force to actively investigate these activities in an effort keep the Internet safe for children
  • Provide public education materials and training for educators, parents and students in the rules for safely using the Internet and computers
  • Strengthen and expand the number of child sexual abuse response teams and child advocacy centers in Montana, and continue to improve local coordination and training in forensic interview and medical exams involving children

Support staff in an efficient, effective and diverse work environment.

  • Promote DOJ as a place of employment
  • Seek and obtain appropriate compensation
  • Encourage communication and sharing of knowledge
  • Commit resources for on-going staff development
  • Support opportunities to provide staff recognition
  • Assess salary schedule implementation needs and consider funding options
  • Review on an annual basis performance management and address systemic issues identified by management and staff
  • Track staff attrition by reason code
  • Track periodic comparisons of DOJ average salaries to the average State of MT salaries and the surrounding region
  • Track length of time from when positions are advertised until filled
  • Collect employee satisfaction data
  • Track training data in the system
  • Review compliance with training requirements and communicate to employees
  • Support wellness activities and teamwork

Legal Services Division

(Includes Office of Consumer Protection and Agency Legal Services)

  • Provide quality legal services on all levels of representation that fall within the authority and jurisdiction of the Attorney General.
  • Provide quality training and education to local governments, clients and the public.
  • Be a premier public sector legal employer.
  • Represent the State in cases before local, state and federal courts, including all criminal appeals and post conviction cases
  • Represent the State in cases involving Constitutional challenges and other major litigation against the State
  • Provide trial assistance and services to county attorneys in complex criminal cases and cases in which the county attorney has a conflict of interest
  • Provide contracted legal and investigative services to state agencies at a reasonable cost
  • Enforce State laws pertaining to consumer protection and antitrust violations, including cases which harm Montana’s agricultural producers
  • Utilize knowledge and expertise of the LSD to train governmental entities (state, tribal and local) in areas of criminal and civil law and procedure
  • Offer responsive education and outreach to the public in subject matter areas that fall within LSD’s public safety and enforcement responsibilities
  • Cultivate a qualified work force committed to public service
  • Recruit a talented applicant pool for open positions
  • Provide educational and professional development opportunities for staff
  • Assess requests for State criminal appeals and where appropriate represent the State before the Montana Supreme Court
  • Respond to appeals filed by the Appellate Division of the Office of Public Defender
  • Prepare attorneys in order to present skilled oral argument before the Montana Supreme Court in criminal and civil appeals
  • Generate appropriate motions, discovery and engage in other pre-trial practice in order to effectively defend the State in constitutional challenges, other major litigation, and defense of state agencies
  • Prosecute complex criminal cases, such as child sexual abuse, homicide, or drug related charges, in district courts across the State
  • Prosecute criminal cases in which a county attorney has a conflict of interest or has requested assistance
  • Write Attorney Generals Opinions or letters of advice, when appropriate, in response to requests from local governments and other statutorily authorized requestors
  • Monitor violations of State consumer protection laws and take legal action when appropriate
  • Provide summer and winter criminal and civil training seminars to elected County Attorneys and their staff
  • Provide responsive topic training to law enforcement, county attorneys, judges and other interested criminal justice entities (i.e.) cold case investigation and prosecution, child sex crime prosecution, orders of protection, etc.
  • Track developing consumer protection issues statewide and nationally and provide education and outreach as appropriate
  • Train victim advocates, criminal justice agencies and other interested parties on victim services offered through the LSD (i.e. HOPE card, domestic violence trends, the work of the domestic violence fatality review team, crime victim compensation etc.)
  • Provide training resources to public or private entities when requested, utilizing the specialized knowledge of LSD staff in areas such as water, Indian and constitutional law
  • Maintain competitive public sector salary in order to retain quality work force
  • Develop compensation matrix that appropriately compensates longevity, achievement and excellence
  • Continue relationship with U of M Law School for summer internship program
  • Offer competitive salary when recruiting new positions
  • Offer training assignments as appropriate to retain latitude in hiring
  • Identify and utilize training opportunities offered through professional organizations like the National Association of Attorneys General
  • Cover expenses of continuing legal education (CLE) when the CLE pertains to an attorney’s area of practice

Gambling Control Division


Ensure gambling is being conducted in a legal manner by authorized individuals.

  • Investigate applicants and issue gambling licenses and permits only to qualified applicants, and in an efficient and effective manner
  • Collect and account for gambling taxes and permits and distribute revenues timely
  • Examine and approve prototypes of electronic gambling devices and their modifications for operation in the State of Montana
  • Provide investigative services to the Department of Revenue related to liquor licenses and the taxation and sale of tobacco
  • Average turnaround of gambling operator license applications is less than the 90 days required by administrative rule
  • Gambling taxes and permit fees are collected throughout the year and deposited directly in the appropriate accounts
  • Revenue from Video Gambling Machine (VGM) permit fees and Live Card Table permit fees is distributed to local government quarterly
  • Track the number of prototypes and modifications approved in a given fiscal year
  • Track the number of liquor licensing and tobacco cases completed on behalf of the Department of Revenue in a given fiscal year

Motor Vehicle Division


The goal of the Motor Vehicle Division is to protect Montana citizens by ensuring:

  • identity and property theft is reduced for Montana citizens through authentication and validation when a driver is licensed, vehicles are titled, or a record is created
  • driver, dealer and manufacturer licenses are issued only to those who are qualified under Montana law
  • licenses of drivers, dealers, manufacturers and vehicles are promptly withdrawn when required by law
  • records for drivers, vehicles and dealers are accurate and updated in a timely manner
  • financial transactions are received, accounted for and submitted to state accounting
  • communication between the Division, its business partners, and Montana citizens is timely, accurate, understandable, responsive and accessible via multiple forums
  • Protect driver identity by: using facial recognition software to prevent individuals from obtaining multiple cards using different demographic information or using someone else’s demographic information to match with their photo in order to assume that person’s identity; verifying personally identifiable information provided by applicants by using existing electronic systems like the Social Security Online Verification System (SSOLV) and the Systematic Alien Verification System (SAVE) to ensure that social security number, a key personal identifier, matches the name, date of birth and social security number provided by the Social Security Administration and where applicable, the applicant is lawfully present in the United States; validating identity documents presented by individuals applying for a Montana driver license or identification card by use of manual or electronic authentication of document to deter creation of fraudulent records or credentials; maintaining and enforcing strict internal access protocols regarding access to, updating or release of personally identifiable information (PII) regarding motor vehicle division customers (drivers and vehicle owners); protecting confidentiality and security of PII in transmission to authorized users and monitoring further dissemination of PII by authorized users; and providing assistance to law enforcement investigating identity theft cases and individuals whose identity has been stolen as relates to driver or vehicle records
  • Protect vehicle ownership by: using the National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System (NMVTIS) to determine if a vehicle has been previously reported as stolen and/or determine if the vehicle was previously reported as branded by another jurisdiction; recording and tracking odometer disclosure statements to defer and detect odometer fraud; verifying that vehicle ownership is transferred by proper assignment from current owner of record to new purchaser and that new purchaser is properly identified to support title transfer and creation of new ownership record; timely perfecting and only releasing security interests on vehicle records when proper documentation is supplied; providing assistance to law enforcement in the investigation of motor vehicle fraud, odometer fraud, vehicle theft cases and consumer complaints; and inspecting a vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN) when there is a discrepancy of the vehicle has been reassembled in some fashion
  • Protect the public by: using nationally accepted standards (e.g., American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators [AAMVA] or Motorcycle Safety Foundation [MSF]) when available to build knowledge and skills tests suitable to determine if an applicant has secured the knowledge and skills necessary to drive on public roadways; investigating and re-testing drivers when a driver’s mental or physical condition has changed in a manner that would affect safe operation of a motor vehicle; reviewing and researching applications for issuance of licenses to vehicle dealers, manufacturers, and transit operators; applying revocations, suspensions, cancellations and reinstatements of driver’s licenses and privileges, dealer licenses and privileges, and vehicle title or registration for violations of state law or as otherwise mandated
  • Protect public and private funds by: maintaining and enforcing strict internal controls regarding all driver and motor vehicle revenues and expenditures; auditing external (counties) and internal financial transactions for compliance to MVD policies and business practices; processing and depositing motor vehicle and driver licensing revenues collected by county treasurers, Montana Interactive, and driver exam stations in accordance with state requirements; and collecting and properly accounting for donations made by vehicle owners to license plate sponsors (colleges, non-profit and governmental organizations) or other entities
  • Educate the public and MVD partners by: providing county treasurers, motor vehicle dealers and financial institutions with training and resource materials for properly titling vehicles, filing security interests and administering registration laws; providing training and resource materials to local law enforcement agencies regarding driver licensing laws, motor vehicle titling and registration laws, and security attributes of physical credentials issued by MVD (driver licenses, ID cards, vehicle titles); providing training and resource materials to court personnel, prosecutors, and defense attorneys regarding traffic laws, reporting and recording of violations, withdrawal of license or privilege, and interpretation of driver records; providing training and resource materials to motor carriers and employers regarding reporting and recording of traffic law violations, withdrawal of license or privilege, and interpretation of driver records; and providing training and resource materials to driver examiners, traffic educators, and private businesses authorized to skill test their commercial drivers regarding state and federal driver licensing standards and testing procedures
  • Enhance customer service delivery options for the public: streamlining where possible registration opportunities for Montanans through motor voter system (voter registration) and organ donor registry; refining online appointment scheduling for driver licensing to improve customer use; updating MVD website on a regular basis to address common customer questions, clarify procedures and requirements, and maintain online form library; and researching and developing, where appropriate, additional web-based alternates for counter-based transactions
  • Track number of new, renewed, and duplicate driver licenses and ID cards issued per month and develop a baseline of possible fraudulent license activity in Montana and a strategy to increase fraud detection at the counter as opposed to back-end processing. Use this number to compare to the number of: suspect records in facial recognition queues; fraud cases researched; SAVE hits researched and the number that caused license withdrawal; SSOLV checks and no match number/rate; driver applications imaged; applications questioned per month; and commercial drivers researched by the help desk per month
  • Track the number of vehicles titled in a month including replacement and corrected titles and develop a baseline of problematic transactions and a strategy to identify and correct discrepancies at the counter as compared to back-end processing. This count is then used to compare to the number of: NMVTIS searches performed, the number of stolen hits received, and the number of brand hits received; odometer disclosure violations, number of VIN inspections by type, and number of state assigned VINs issued; investigations initiated and completed for motor vehicle fraud, theft, and consumer complaints; and vehicle security interests filed, released, and reapplied
  • Track the number of driver licensing tests administered by location and type per month and use it to compare to the number of: questions failed to determine if a question is confusing or if educational resources need revision; investigations and medical re-testing as well as number of suspensions, hearings, and driver license reinstatements for medical conditions; and applicants passing or failing Cooperative Driver Training Program and Third Party Testing Programs
  • Track number dealer/manufacturer/transit licensed in a year and develop baseline of problematic licensing transactions and develop strategy to increase licensing compliance and license issuance/renewal by statutory deadline. Use it to compare to the number of: those not renewed by the deadline; complaints received related to licensing problems; and audits completed with and without outstanding issues
  • Track number for driver licensing revocations, suspensions, cancellations and reinstatements for driver licenses
  • Track the number of vehicle title and registrations that are withdrawn and identify common causes for withdrawal and strategy to reduce common errors resulting in withdrawal or increase compliance to avoid withdrawal
  • Determine timely issuance by: sending driver licenses to the customer within 5 days and license renewal cards a month in advance of the license expiration; issuing the number of vehicle renewal notices three days prior to the start of the renewal month; averaging two weeks from the time of receipt it takes from the time a title request hits the back doors of TRB to the time it gets mailed, tracking the number of disabled parking permits issued per month by mailing to the customer within one week receiving the request, Dealer/manufacture/transit licenses are issued or renewed by the start of the new license period
  • Financial transactions are processed within MCA stated guidelines; maintaining a record of motor vehicle and driver licensing revenues collected by county treasurers, Montana Interactive, and state offices processed and deposited; depositing by the 22nd of each month; compiling comparisons of current revenues to previous years, identifying variances; track number of financial audits initiated, completed, and the number with issues to resolve; comply 100% for financial reporting
  • Customer service and education efforts result in fewer complaints and higher customer satisfaction by track customer assistance inquiries by phone, email or other channels and identify areas of concern, including frequency of inquiry, type of inquiry, and manner of resolution and review website, other publications, forms, etc., to clarify processes, determine relationship, if any, between production issues and customer service trends, track scheduled training and training materials provide for county treasurers and employees, motor vehicle dealers, financial institutions, and law enforcement, note the number of trainings for each, the attendance at trainings and where possible, determine training effectiveness by doing pre-training and post-training assessments by user

Montana Highway Patrol


Reduce DUI occurrences, interdict criminal activities, schedule more effectively, improve response time and assist other agencies in accessing technology.

  • Reduce occurrences of DUI and drug offenses through zero-tolerance enforcement
  • Interdict criminal activity related to controlled substances and illegal contraband that threatens the safety and livelihood of our citizens
  • Schedule more effectively through evaluating data in order to respond to and resolve negative trends in traffic safety and crime
  • Improve call response time through reorganization, improved distribution of resources and increase manpower
  • Assist other agencies in accessing technology that improves their efficiency
  • Achieve a fatality rate that is two percent below the average of the previous 10 years for each of the two years covered by this plan. The measurement will be the vehicle miles traveled provided by NHTSA
  • Survey results of citizens’ perception of highway safety during the day and night.
  • Review of Command Staff’s support and participation in traffic crime suppression strategies, including criminal interdiction
  • Develop and implement streamlined impaired driving case reporting.
  • Schedule resources to maximize impaired driving interdiction, i.e., scheduling troops to 0300 everyday in urban areas and frequently in rural areas
  • Educate troopers in criminal interdiction and continue to participate with the local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Forces
  • Educate the public on prescription drug abuse prevention
  • Effectively schedule troopers through the use of work groups, fixed schedules and rotating shifts within work groups
  • Hold supervisors and managers accountable for their responsibilities with quarterly progress updates
  • Review current average response time and determine potential ways of reducing excessively long response times, including requesting an increase in manpower resources
  • Move toward 24/7 coverage in high activity areas
  • Meet regularly with other law enforcement agencies to assist in improving their efficiency through technology and working with MHP/DOJ
  • Move toward electronic submission of criminal offense reports to local county attorneys to allow for more efficient prosecution of offenders
  • Move toward statewide electronic submission of citations and road side electronic payments

Central Services Division


Establish and maintain department-wide fiscal and human resource responsibility on behalf of the Attorney General.

  • Provide accounting functions to all divisions in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations
  • Provide oversight through established and ongoing internal control
  • Develop and monitor the department budget for compliance with state and federal law
  • Provide human resource functions to all divisions
  • Recruit, retain and develop a highly skilled workforce
  • Encourage communication, innovative thinking, teamwork, and excellent customer service
  • Coordinate the development, review, revision, and distribution of department policy
  • Promote a healthy and safe working environment
  • Meet division needs and comply with state policy by processing daily deposits and finalizing payments to vendors within 10 working days of receipt of invoice
  • Provide revenue/budget reports to divisions on a monthly basis
  • Complete monthly reconciliations to SABHRS
  • Meet established deadlines for budget submission and assist divisions by coordinating budget presentations and fiscal notes during the legislation process
  • Obtain unqualified fiscal audits from the Legislative Audit Division
  • Provide assistance to employees on a daily basis
  • Assist supervisors with performance issues
  • Serve as management representative for labor relation negotiations and labor-management committees
  • Provide monthly in-house training opportunities
  • Collect and analyze HR data to evaluate activities and improve employee job satisfaction
  • Return injured employees to work within 30 days

Division of Criminal Investigation

  • Provide public safety services and expertise, in partnership with other local, state, and federal public safety agencies throughout Montana, ensuring the health, welfare and safety of Montana citizens.
  • Provide investigative assistance including major case investigations, narcotics investigations, white-collar crime and computer crime investigations, fire and life safety inspections, arson investigations, and intelligence and analytical support.
  • Provide training for local law enforcement officers, corrections officers and public safety communicators through basic, intermediate and professional training programs hosted by Montana’s Law Enforcement Academy.
  • Provide professional investigative and related public safety services to local, state and federal law enforcement and fire service agencies
  • Provide investigative assistance at the request of local law enforcement or prosecutors through the major case unit. Requests range from assistance on homicide cases to internal affairs, embezzlement or worker’s compensation fraud
  • Provide investigations of allegations of Medicaid fraud, as well as patient abuse/neglect and exploitation cases. Investigations referred to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit often come from the Department of Public Health and Human Services
  • Provide assistance to local fire departments and law enforcement agencies with fire investigations and conducts life safety inspections for local jurisdictions that do not have fire inspection resources
  • Provide fire code interpretation assistance to local fire departments and collaborate with them on public education materials
  • Provide investigations in computer crime and forensic services, manage the sexual and/or violent offender state registry, and track and identify noncompliant sex offenders
  • Provide a variety of support services to the state’s law enforcement agencies, including management of the state’s intelligence unit, Amber Alert Program, and participation in the Joint Terrorism Task Force
  • Collect and store criminal history information
  • Provide fingerprint identification, and disseminate the information to law enforcement agencies and others lawfully entitled to receive it
  • Initiate investigations into violations of state and federal dangerous drug laws in Montana
  • Manage five drug enforcement teams located throughout the state
  • Assist local, federal, and out-of-state law enforcement agencies with investigations in the state, and in particular those investigations requiring a covert (undercover) component or tactical narcotics response
  • Provide narcotics related training to law enforcement agencies throughout the state to include over/covert drug investigations, meth lab response, and prescription drug abuse
  • Provide the basic training for law enforcement, corrections and dispatchers
  • Provide other professional or regional courses designed to meet the needs of local law enforcement agencies
  • Provide statewide assistance in developing multi-disciplinary teams and accredited centers to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes against children
  • Encourage education and training on child sexual abuse through the Montana Child Sexual Abuse Response Team (MCSART) working in concert with the Drug Endangered Children’s Alliance and the Internet Crimes Against Children task force
  • Respond to all appropriate requests for assistance from law enforcement agencies around the state
  • Enforce state fire safety codes and regulations
  • Investigate computer crime cases and refer for prosecution
  • Ensure that the sexual and/or violent offender registry is up-to-date and compliant
  • Investigate charges of Medicaid Fraud and Workers Compensation Fraud
  • Conduct an appropriate number of mandated entry-level law enforcement, communications, and corrections/detention certification programs to meet the needs and schedules of local, regional and state agencies
  • Develop and offer self-supporting, revenue-generating professional programs that meet the advanced training and continuing education needs of senior officers and agency administrators
  • Train law enforcement officers and other individuals in principles and techniques of domestic violence, violence against women, and substance abuse prevention
  • Initiate overt and covert narcotics investigations to remove drugs from the communities of Montana
  • Collect, store, analyze and disseminate information on public safety issues to the law enforcement community and government officials concerning dangerous drugs, fraud, organized crime, terrorism and other criminal activity for the purposes of decision making and proactive law enforcement while ensuring the rights and privacy of Montana citizens
  • Collect and disseminate criminal history and criminal justice information to law enforcement and other entities

Information Technology Services Division


Share information, deliver business solutions, optimize IT infrastructure, strengthen IT security and management.

  • Map Justice information and processes
  • Develop information sharing standards, protocols and policies
  • Align IT governance to meet business needs
  • Build and leverage partnerships with other state agencies, external organizations and contractors
  • Standardize, consolidate and integrate data, exchanges, sharing, web technologies, software and hardware to improve efficiency in support costs and to make the best use of staff skill sets and technology.
  • Maintain current systems
  • Assure trusted and resilient systems and information
  • Implement identity management
  • Institutionalize IT security
  • Attract and retain a skilled IT workforce
  • Increase collaboration (internal and external)
  • Improve IT governance discipline
  • Document DOJ Information with location and owner
  • Approve information sharing standard and policy
  • Develop DOJ IT governance body and charter
  • Map critical DOJ processes that IT supports
  • Assign appropriate projects/tasks/services to partners under contract or by agreements
  • Identify and follow DOJ IT standards
  • Support current systems as defined by the DOJ IT governance committee
  • Track system down time caused by hackers or unplanned outage and the number of security incidents caused by lack of training
  • Implement procedures to lessen the severity of security incidents
  • Establish an identity management program and roadmap
  • Improve employee education and experience level
  • Nominate projects for appropriate awards (DOJ, State, Nation, industry, etc.)
  • Track personnel attrition by reason code
  • Conduct customer and internal ITSD surveys

Forensic Science Division


The division will provide scientific and technical support to public defenders, prosecutors and Montana’s law enforcement community.

  • Provide for an accurate, objective and timely analysis of physical evidence
  • Provide for an efficient and effective system of investigating deaths
  • Expand laboratory technology and improve analytical services and the capabilities of laboratory personnel
  • Provide a genetic database of sexual and violent offenders for identifying perpetrators of crimes
  • Provide expert testimony in court regarding forensic matters
  • Provide training to state and local criminal justice personnel in evidence collection and management, death investigations and breath-alcohol testing
  • Maintain laboratory accreditation
  • Follow policies and validated procedures to maintain case turnaround times and enable unimpeded progress of the criminal legal justice community