Expungement Versus Sealing of Criminal History Records
When a criminal history record is sealed per MCA 46-18-204, the public will not have access to it unless ordered by district court upon good cause shown. Certain criminal justice agencies, primarily those listed in MCA 44-5-103, have access to sealed record information in its entirety. When a record has been expunged per MCA 44-5-202, the record has been removed and is destroyed.
To Request an Expungement:
If your charges have been Dismissed, Deferred Prosecution-Dismissed, Acquitted, or the charges were dropped or not filed, you need to request the Montana Criminal Records & Identification Services Section (CRISS) to remove all non-convictions and quote MCA 44-5-202 (8b). (Expungement Form).
If your record is incomplete, CRISS will reach out to the courts to request the information. If we are unable to get the information, it will be your responsibility to contact the court. CRISS must have documentation from the court stating the outcome in order to modify a record.
Once CRISS has the request to remove non-convictions, we will look into your record. You will receive a letter explaining the outcome of the request. This process could take up to 30 days.
To Have Your Record Sealed:
If your charges have a deferred sentence, but the deferred sentence has not been dismissed, you will need to contact the court to request the deferred sentence be dismissed.
Once the Montana Criminal Records and Identification Services Section (CRISS) receives the order to dismiss the charge, the charge will then be a deferred/dismissed sentence. Per MCA 46-18-204, this information will be considered confidential criminal justice, accessible only by law enforcement agencies, including the military and Border Patrol. Public access to the information may only be obtained by district court order upon good cause shown.