Expungement Attorneys in Montana
Expungement in Montana
Montana offers both the ability to have your criminal record expunged or sealed, depending on the circumstances.
In cases where you were released without being charged, you were found not guilty, or your conviction was overturned the state may return your fingerprint and photograph records. If you were convicted, but received a deferred sentence and successfully completed the conditions of that sentence, you may petition the court to have your guilty plea or verdict removed from the record and the charges dismissed. In this situation your criminal record should no longer be available to the general public without a court order.
If your conviction was for a violent or sexual offense and was overturned on appeal your record must be expunged. In addition, any DNA records to overturned felony offenses or youthful sexual or violent offenses must be expunged.
Montana is unique in that the laws for expungement and sealing are mandatory as long as you meet the criteria. This means that a court does not have discretion to decide whether to grant your petition or not, so long as your eligible. In most cases, sealing or expungement is automatic:
- if your charges were dismissed after a deferred sentence;
- DNA evidence should be expunged after the Department of Justice receives notice of the reversal from the county attorney;
- when a court orders reversal of sexual or violent offenses, it should also order expungement of all related records held by the court and law enforcement or government agencies.
In addition, the court may also order that photograph or fingerprint records be returned to you. You may also file a request to have them returned if you are eligible.