Montana Department of Justice
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Background checks, sometimes known as records checks or criminal history checks, are available to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and the general public.

  • Law enforcement organizations – may receive all criminal history information that is available in Montana and across the nation, as long as the information is requested for criminal justice purposes.
  • General public – may receive arrest and prosecutor/court information on felony charges and misdemeanor charges, but information is limited by Montana’s privacy laws. Criminal records that have been deferred and later dismissed cannot be released to the public.
Background Check Fees

Effective March 1, 2016, the fee for name-based criminal record background checks will increase by $1.50.

The Montana Department of Justice – Criminal Records and Identification Services Section charges between $10.00 and $27.25 for a Public Criminal Records Background Check. The fee is determined by the type and extent of the requested background check (see below for different types).

A revised fee schedule can be found here.

Certain information may be available from local law enforcement and other agencies but is not available from Montana Criminal Records. For example, requests for police reports, court transcripts, warrant information and probation/parole information should be directed to the appropriate local law enforcement agency or court.

A background check includes only criminal history information. It does not include, for example, consumer credit or immigration status information. It includes driving-related information only as it relates to felony arrests. Driving records are available through the Motor Vehicle Division.

Types of Background Checks

There are two types of background checks:

  • Name-based checks – a search of Montana public criminal history record information only, using an individual’s name, date of birth and Social Security number.
  • Fingerprint checks – accurate, comprehensive information, including access to criminal history information in Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.  Federal fingerprint-based criminal record checks are available to those statutorily authorized to request them.
Online Name-Based Requests
For the general public:
  1. Go to CHOPRS – Criminal History Online Public Record Search and click on the Public Users “Start Service” button.
  2. To search, you must submit the individual’s complete name and complete date of birth. Social Security numbers are optional but are encouraged as they allow a more thorough search. Up to four alias names may be included in the search without further cost. You must also enter your name in order to comply with Section 44-5-215 of the Montana Code Annotated.
  3. You may pay the $14.50 fee for each record search by credit card or eCheck.
For registered users:
  1. Go to Criminal History Online Public Record Search and click on the Registered Users “Start Service” button.
  2. Enter your username and password.
  3. You will receive monthly bills that you may choose to pay by credit card, electronic payment or invoice.

To become a registered user, go to Criminal History Online Public Record Search and click the “Become a Registered User” button.

Mail-In Name-Based Checks

Mail-in requests for name-based background checks should include:

  • the name of the person being checked and, if possible, any aliases, nicknames, or maiden names
  • the person’s date of birth
  • his or her Social Security number
  1. Enclose:
  • a self-addressed, stamped envelope
  • the $13.00 processing fee for each individual to be checked, paid by check or money order (U.S. Funds please)
  1. Mail the complete request to Montana Criminal Records.
Mail-In Fingerprint Checks (Non-Federal, State only)

Requests for background checks based on fingerprint cards must be submitted by mail or in person.

  1. The requester must include an applicant fingerprint card. Blank cards are available from local law enforcement offices or from Montana Criminal Records.
  2. Be sure the following information is completed on the applicant fingerprint card. (All highlighted sections shown in the example fingerprint card below should be completed.)
  • Signatures from both the individual and the official taking the fingerprints
  • Subject’s name, printed clearly in the name field. Enter in the order of Last Name, First Name, Middle Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security number
  • Aliases, Maiden name, and any other names used previously
  • All personal identification (Citizenship, Sex, Race, Height, Weight, Eye Color, Hair Color, Place of Birth)
  • In the Employer and Address field, enter the name and address of the person or business to which the results of the background check should be sent
  • In the Reason Fingerprinted box, enter “State Only / WIN background check.”
  • Enclose:
    • a self-addressed stamped envelope
    • the $10.00 processing fee for each individual to be checked, paid by check or money order (U.S. funds please).
  • Mail the complete request to Montana Criminal Records.
    • please do not staple or fold the fingerprint card.
In Person Requests

Individuals may also choose to make their requests for background checks in person. The Montana Department of Justice – Criminal Records and Identification Services Section is available to the public at the following location and times:

2225 11th Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
Monday thru Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Some of the services provided for walk in customers include:


Montana Criminal Records
P.O. Box 201403
Helena, MT 59620-1403
Phone: (406) 444-3625
Fax: (406) 444-0689

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 local 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 of 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.