General Information About Montana Public Records and Laws
In Montana, public records are available because of the Montana Open Records Act, Title 2, Chapter 6 of the state's laws. This law provides for a definition of what is a public record in the state and also provides identification as to who can obtain it and how to do so. Individuals who wish to receive a copy must do so in good faith, meaning the information cannot be used for negative reasons or illegally.
What Is a Public Record?
In the state, a public record is any type of document that is in written or other form, that stems from the communications, operations, functions, or proceedings of any body of government or any agency working on behalf of that government. This includes local city and townships, counties and the state as a whole. The documents may also include data provided to the agency from an approved source. The following are some of the most sought after types of public records in the state.
·Marriage and divorce records
·Estate records, including the sale of property, tax liens and leases
·Environmental regulations, testing and research
·Court records for both civil and criminal cases
·Birth and death certificates
The state does have exemptions to these rules. While most information is available openly, the Montana public records do not include any type of material that is protected by a federal law or otherwise specifically protected by state laws. It does not include any type of information or records that could be used to infringe on the personal privacy of an individual. It also does not allow for any information that could be damaging to law enforcement, an open case or to any undercover police officer to be used. Information that could be sensitive in nature during a court trial, including sexually related information and juvenile records, remains protected.
Accessing Montana Public Records
Individuals who wish to access the public records in the state will need to make a written request to the appropriate agency. The state does require that the information be made as accessible as possible and to honor requests to copy or view information in a timely manner.
To do so, individuals can visit the actual location where the records are located to make a request. Some types of information is searchable online. In addition, third parties can also provide this information to the individual when it is available and within the law. The following are some of the agencies individuals or businesses may turn to in order to obtain these public records.
·The Attorney General's Office provides information in regards to the state's businesses and organizations.
·Vital statistics are available through the Montana Department of Health.
·Accessible criminal records are available through the Department of Justice, Criminal Records Division.
·The state's sexual offender registry is managed through the Department of Justice, Sexual and Violent Offender Registry.
Montana public records remain available for information purposes.
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