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Legal Information: Montana

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 20, 2023

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

Before moving to Montana, the state that issued your protection order may already have entered your order into the NCIC. If not, your order will be entered into the NCIC once your order is registered in Montana. All law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC database, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my out-of-state protection order in Montana?

You can either bring a certified copy of your order directly to the Department of Justice or you can bring a certified copy to a courthouse or to any local law enforcement agency and ask them to register the order with the department of justice for you. In addition, you will need to file an affidavit stating that, to the best of your knowledge, the order is currently in effect.

Please note that if your order is inaccurate or if it has expired, it will be removed from Montana’s registry. After your order has been registered in Montana, the Department of Justice will provide you with a certified copy of the registered order. The order will also be entered into the National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC).1 

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Montana for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area on our MT Advocates and Shelters page.

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-405

Do I have to register my protection order in Montana in order to get it enforced?

Montana state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order even if it is not registered, as long as the officer can determine that the order is real and that it has not expired yet. The order must identify both you and the abuser and appear to be currently in effect.

While it may be helpful to show the officer a certified copy of the order, a certified copy is not required for enforcement. If you do not have any copy of the order with you, the officer may consider other information when deciding whether or not there is a valid protection order in place. It is important to know that without a copy of the protection order, the officer may decide that s/he cannot enforce your order.1

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-404

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Planning page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our MT Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

There is no fee for registering your protective order in Montana.1

1 Mont. Code § 40-15-405