Law Enforcement

Obtaining a Background Check

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

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

The 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.

Contact Info

Records Clerk
(406) 497-1179

General Information
(406) 497-1120, ext. 3


Available Information

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 Montana 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 and Wyoming.

Online Requests

Online requests are for name-based checks only.

For the general public:

For registered users:

To become a registered user, go to Montana Department of Justice Criminal History Online Public Record Search. Click the “Become a Registered User” button.

Mail Requests

  • Requests for background checks based on fingerprint cards must be submitted by mail. Requests for background checks should include:
  • The name of the person being checked and, if possible, any aliases or maiden names
  • The person’s date of birth
  • His or her Social Security number
  • Specify whether the request is for a name-based or fingerprint check. For a fingerprint check, the requester must include an applicant fingerprint card. Blank cards are available from local law enforcement offices or from Montana Criminal Records (see contact information below).
  • Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and the $10 processing fee for each individual to be checked must be paid by check or money order

Mail the completed request to:

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