Expungement of Criminal Records – General – Montana
1. What is an expungement?
The process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges.
2. What records may be expunged?
Any records kept by a court, law enforcement agency, or other state or local government agency related to a sexual or violent criminal conviction which is later reversed. MCA § 46-23-510. If a conviction of a felony offense or the adjudication of a youth for a sexual or violent offense is reversed, the record relating to the offense must be expunged from the DNA identification index MCA § 44-6-107.
3. Who is eligible for an expungement?
Any adult or juvenile who is convicted or a violent or sexual criminal offense which is later reversed. MCA § 46-23-510. Adults convicted of a felony which is later reversed or youths adjudicated for a sexual or violent crime which is later reversed may have their DNA records related to the crime expunged. MCA § 44-6-107. When a
deferred imposition of sentence results in a dismissal of charges. MCA § 46-18-204.
4. How do I get records expunged?
The above-referenced statutes include no mention of a requirement of the person who is the subject of the records to file a petition for expungement and requires expungement as a matter of law. MCA § 46-23-510 requires the sentencing court to order expungement of all records upon the final reversal of a sexual or violent criminal offense. In the case of DNA records, MCA § 44-6-107 requires the county attorney of the county in which the conviction occurred to notify the department of justice of a reversal of a conviction for the offense or adjudication.