How to Do a Montana Warrant Search
Montana, a state which is often referred to as the “Big Sky Country,” is a vast state with striking landscapes. But beyond its scenic beauty, Montana, like every other state in the U.S., has a legal system in place to ensure law and order. An integral part of their criminal justice system is the issuance of warrants. Understanding Montana warrants, their types, implications, and what to do if you’re issued one is hand information to have. To run a Montana warrant search all you need to have is the first and last name of the person you want to look up. The rest is simple, just enter that information into a public record website and they will do the rest. Once you find your results you will have access to a lot of valuable information such as active Montana warrants, criminal charges, previous arrests, criminal court records, sentencings and incarcerations. This is all public record that anyone can look up with a computer or smartphone.
Different Types of Warrants in Montana
In Montana, as in other states, there are several types of warrants:
- Arrest Warrant: Issued by a judge or magistrate, this warrant authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual based on evidence that suggests they may have been involved in a crime.
- Search Warrant: This is issued when there’s probable cause to believe that evidence pertaining to a crime can be found in a particular place. The warrant provides the legal authority to search that place and seize the evidence.
- Bench Warrant: Often issued when someone fails to appear in court as required, a bench warrant allows for the immediate arrest of that individual.
Looking Up Montana Warrants Through State Run Websites
Warrants in Montana, like most criminal records, are considered public records. This means that anyone can access them, making it easy to research for anyone to find outstanding Montana warrants in their name. Here’s how you can find a Montana warrant list online through various state-run government websites.
- Montana Department of Justice: The official MT DOJ website has background check options to help users find information about outstanding warrants. This is not for free. They charge a nominal fee per search inquiry.
- County Sheriff’s Office: Often, county websites will have a database or list of outstanding warrants and most wanted. By visiting or calling a county MT Sheriff’s office, you might be able to have them run a search for you. The only caveat to visiting an office to run a search on yourself could result in you being arrested on the spot if you have any active Montana warrants.
- City Police Departments: Montana city police departments might also have online warrant listings and know fugitive lists however not all the city police departments, especially the smaller ones, have this feature online. You will also need to know what city to look for as they are most likely only have local warrant listings.
- State Police Agencies: The Montana highway patrol and state troopers also have some online resources to lookup active lists of fugitives and the state’s most wanted. You may need to call in person for a proper search however, as their online resources are somewhat limited.
How to Handle a Montana Warrant Issued For Your Arrest
The responsible thing to do in such a situation is to turn yourself over to the authorities and cooperate in trying to fix the matter. The first step in dealing with a Montana arrest warrant, if you haven’t already been arrested, is to contact a defense lawyer to help you understand the charges against you and guide you though the process of surrendering yourself. You can do this yourself of course but you might do better with a little help from a professional. Once you turn yourself in, find out if bail is an option so that you can bond out of jail until your hearing. Then use your freedom wisely and carefully plan your criminal defense with your lawyer so that when you arrive in court you are ready and rehearsed. A judge will most likely be more favorable to a defendant that is well dresses and prepared, than not. It is also important to use the time before your hearing to make accommodations for your household and responsibilities in case you are incarcerated and do some jail time. And remember that you are innocent until proven guilty and you have rights as a US citizen.
The Implications of a Montana Warrant
- Employment: Employers often conduct background checks, and a warrant or resulting criminal record can diminish employment opportunities or even result in job loss. Many employers will not hire anyone with a felony on their record, or someone that has been accused of a serious crime. This is all public information so there is no hiding it on a job application.
- Academic Applications: Many educational institutions ask about criminal histories during their application process. Having a warrant can adversely affect your chances of acceptance. Some universities will not consider a person with a checkered criminal past. Most universities are competitive and often times that will eliminate your chances of competing against others for admittance.
- Travel Plans: Some countries may deny entry to individuals with a criminal record. Plus, an outstanding warrant could result in an arrest at the airport. Traveling anywhere outside of Montana can be very complicated with an active MT warrant.
- Relationships: Personal relationships can be strained if someone you know discovers you have an outstanding warrant or subsequent criminal record. If anyone runs a background check on you this information will come up as it is public record that anyone can resource online.
Warrants and Criminal Records Nationwide
Montana Warrant Search FAQ
How do I find out if I have a warrant in Montana?You can quickly find out if you have a Montana warrant using a public record website. Just enter your name into the search fields and hit enter. You will be able to view any active arrest or bench warrants as well as the criminal charges, county of issuance and any prior convictions.
What are the consequences of evading arrest on a Montana warrant?You can make your situation much worse. Evading arrest can lead to additional charges, making the legal situation more complicated and potentially leading to more severe penalties and longer jail or prison sentences.
Do employers get notified about my Montana warrant?There is no direct notification system in Montana that will let an employer know you have an active Montana warrant. However, if an employer runs a background check on you they will be able to view your warrant as it is public record.
Who can serve an arrest warrant in Montana?The county sheriff department is typically tasked with serving and executing an arrest warrant in Montana however, any law enforcement agency can technically do this.
Can a warrant be issued for unpaid traffic tickets in Montana?Yes. Failure to pay traffic tickets or appear in court to address them can lead to a bench warrant, or an arrest warrant in more serious traffic violations such as a DUI.
Are there a bail options for Montana warrants?Yes, but the judge will have to determine this. Most non-serious crimes that result in Montana arrest warrants offer bail options however, if you are at flight risk this might not be available.
How long is a Montana warrant valid?They are valid until the warrant is executed or removed by a judge. Arrest warrants will stay in effect indefinitely and they become more serious the more time that passes from their issuance.
Are Montana warrants public record?Yes, both Montana arrest and bench warrants are public record which means that anyone can look them up online. They are also considered a part of a person's public criminal record which means that they can have damaging implications for a person applying for a job, an academic pursuit, or even traveling.