Montana Department of Justice

Disclaimer: The Department of Justice expends considerable effort to ensure that the attorney general’s opinions appearing on our website are true copies of the originals on file in our office. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of a printed copy that you did not personally download from the website.

Volume & Opinion Number Opinion Held Date Issued
45-21 A company engaged in the strip mining of coal is not subject to criminal prosecution under Mont. Code Ann. §39-4-104 for scheduling its employees to a workweek consisting of four ten-hour days. 12/30/93
  1. The Legislature lacks the power to modify the measure upon which the voters will vote in the election on IR112. That measure is HB671, as codified in 1993 Mont. Laws, ch. 634.
  2. The Legislature retains the power to enact measures prior to the referendum election on IR112 which change the taxation of income and corporate licenses. Such measures may be enacted contingent upon the approval of HB671.
  3. The Legislature lacks the power to repeal legislation whose effectiveness has been suspended by referendum petition under Mont. Const. art. III, §5, until the legislation has become effective following a vote of the people.
  4. If approved by the voters, HB671 becomes effective upon the completion of the canvass of the election results.
  5. Approval of HB671 would include approval by the people of its retroactive application to tax years beginning after December 31, 1992.
45-19 A trust company is prohibited by Mont. Code Ann. §§ 32-1-371(5) and -372 from establishing remote service offices which would offer less than all services offered at the principal office, and which would not comply with the statutory geographical limitations. 12/10/93
45-18 The Legislature retains the power to order a statewide special election on Initiative Referendum 112 at a time other than the 1994 biennial general election. 12/03/93
45-17 Lists of destroyed personal property generated by individuals, for no governmental function or purpose, do not constitute public writings or records subject to disclosure laws. 12/03/93
45-16 County welfare department personnel are state employees for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act, entitlement to employee benefits, and participation in employee-related programs. If county welfare department personnel are involuntarily terminated from employment and wish to pursue a grievance, they must follow the grievance procedure established by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services unless the Department and the county have mutually agreed upon an alternative process. 10/29/93
45-15 When a city of the third class adopts a commission-manager form of government established in Mont. Code Ann. tit.7, ch.3, pt.3, the city is not bound by Mont. Code Ann. § 7-3-4462 requiring an election of the city judge, but rather may continue to appoint its city judge under an ordinance passed pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-4102. 10/22/93
45-14 A full-time county attorney serving as city attorney pursuant to an interlocal agreement may not personally receive attorney fees from a private company for work performed on a city/county bond issue. 10/14/93
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has the authority to regulate use of an R.S. 2477 public right-of-way within the boundaries of a wildlife refuge and public recreational use of that right-of-way may be permitted only to the extent that is practicable and not inconsistent with the primary objectives for which the refuge was established. 08/24/93
Condominiums are subdivisions which are not exempted under Mont. Code Ann. § 76-3-204 from the provisions of the Montana Subdivision and Platting Act. 08/18/93
Montana Code Annotated § 18-4-141(1) does not prevent the state from expressly releasing a party to a contract, or its surety, from its obligations after the state has approved a transfer, assignment, or subcontract to a new party. 08/17/93
A Public Service Commissioner does not violate the code of ethics for public officials and employees by temporarily reactivating and then terminating his employment with a railroad company in order to become eligible to receive a severance payment negotiated between the railroad and the collective bargaining unit to which the commissioner belongs. 07/26/93
  1. Montana Code Annotated § 7-32-4302 authorizes, but does not require, a city or town to enact ordinances to prevent acts or conduct calculated to disturb the public peace.
  2. A city or town police officer acting within the officer’s territorial jurisdiction may arrest a person for a violation of state law prohibiting offenses against public order regardless of whether the city or town has exercised its power to adopt an ordinance prohibiting breaches of the peace.
  3. Each city or town must have a chief of police; no further police officers are required. Each county sheriff, except those in counties of the seventh class, must appoint an undersheriff. No other deputy sheriffs are required by law.
  4. The sheriff has the primary duty to enforce county and state laws throughout the county. If local enforcement is lacking, the sheriff must undertake such enforcement.
School bonds become binding upon taxpayers on the date bonds are delivered. 06/21/93
45-7 The City of Billings, under its self-government charter, is not precluded by statute from enacting a photo-radar ordinance providing either for accountability on the part of the registered owner for illegal speeding by any person operating the vehicle with the owner’s permission, or for a permissive inference that the registered owner was the speeding violator. 06/07/93
The Montana Workers’ Compensation Act does not require the State Compensation Mutual Insurance Fund to provide its policyholders with employers’ liability insurance coverage. 05/12/93
  1. The initiative process may not be used to amend the resolution creating a county solid waste management district where the district encompasses an area smaller than the entire county and the initiative petition seeks to alter the method of establishing and collecting service charges.
  2. The county election administrator, upon the advice of the county attorney, may reject a sample initiative petition where it does not involve a matter subject to the initiative or referendum process.
  1. When a rural improvement district requests that a municipal water utility provide water service to fire hydrants owned by the district, the municipality is authorized to provide that service and assess a charge for it.
  2. Payment of a fire hydrant fee charged to a rural improvement district for provision of water to hydrants owned by the rural improvement district may be made from the district’s maintenance fund.
  1. MCA § 50-60-102(1) does not require the exclusion from state building code compliance of multiunit condominiums which utilize “area separation walls,” rental cabins and extended motel units which contain cooking units, or lodging houses, including bed and breakfast establishments.
  2. MCA § 76-2-412(3) excludes from state building code compliance community residential facilities serving eight or fewer persons or day-care homes serving twelve or fewer children.
Montana Code Annotated § 7-8-2306, which governs the distribution of proceeds from a sale of county tax deed land, requires that city assessments be included and prorated as part of the allocation of monies received from that sale, regardless of when those assessments became payable. 04/05/93
A city council in a council-manager form of government may adopt an ordinance authorizing the council rather than the city manager to appoint heads of city departments. 03/08/93

Tim’s Tweets

Tim Fox Tim Fox @AGTimFox .@bosweiler17 congrats on win over @Patriots and making #Montana proud! @Broncos #kalispell 16 hours ago
Tim Fox Tim Fox @AGTimFox .@UMGRIZZLIES_FB congrats on win vs @GoJacksSDSU & good luck vs @NDSUfootball next week. #GoGriz #Montana @umontana 2 days ago
Tim Fox Tim Fox @AGTimFox OK, #BlackFriday shoppers, let's help #Montana Highway Patrol "Pack the Patrol Car." Visit MHP's FB page 4 participating locations. #mtnews 3 days ago
Tim Fox Tim Fox @AGTimFox .@StenehjemForGov Happy 2 be there 2day in #Bismarck with you as you kick-off your campaign 4 #NorthDakota governor! 6 days ago

Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.


Children’s Justice Bureau

The Children’s Justice Bureau is an agency-wide initiative at the Montana Department of Justice dedicated to IMPROVING how we respond to child victims, DEVELOPING state-of-the-art approaches by keeping up with the newest research and, most importantly, HELPING child victims recover and move on with their lives.


Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

The mission of the Montana Forensic Science Division is to use operationally efficient and financially responsible practices as the laboratory provides accurate, objective, and timely forensic analyses to the criminal justice community in order to maximize value to the citizens of Montana.


Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Missing Children Act of 1985 established a Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse within the Department of Justice. In March 2008, the department implemented a searchable online database that, for the first time, is updated in real time and includes any photos provided by law enforcement.


Office of Victim Services

The goal of the Office of Victim Services is to provide tools and information to help crime victims recover from their experience and provide them with a range of services available. The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating for victims. To assist them as they go through the justice system, the Office of Victim Service is available to answer any questions they may have.


Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.


Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and lojitsdcal and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.


Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department dciof Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.


Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.


Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.


Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.


Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.


Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.


Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.


Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.


Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.


Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.


Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.


Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.


Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.


Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.