Montana Domestic Violence Laws

Montana's domestic violence law makes it a crime for a partner or a family member to cause you bodily harm, or to intentionally cause you to fear that they will physically injure you. Domestic violence is a serious crime and is punished harshly in Montana. The chart below outlines Montana's main domestic violence law.

Code Section

Montana Code section 45-5-206: Partner or Family Member Assault

What's Prohibited?

  • Purposely or knowingly causing bodily injury to a partner or family member
  • Negligently causing bodily injury to a partner or family member with a weapon, or
  • Purposely or knowingly causing reasonable apprehension of bodily injury in a partner or family member

Definitions

Family member: Mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, and other past or present family members of a household.

Partner: Spouses, former spouses, people who have a child in common, and people who have been or are currently in a dating or ongoing intimate relationship.

Penalties

First offense: Fine of between $100 and $1,000, and/or imprisonment for between 24 hours and one year. The offender may also be ordered into misdemeanor probation.

Second offense: Fine of between $300 and $1,000, and/or imprisonment for between 72 hours and one year. The offender may also be ordered into misdemeanor probation.

Third (or subsequent) offense: Fine of between $500 and $50,000, and/or imprisonment for between 30 days and five years.

If the offense was committed within the vision or hearing of a minor, the judge shall consider the minor's presence as a factor at the time of sentencing.

Offenders are also required to pay for and complete a counseling assessment with a focus on violence, controlling behavior, dangerousness, and criminal dependency.

The court may also prohibit an offender from possessing or using the firearm that was used in the assault.

Orders of Protection

Domestic violence survivors can ask the court to issue an order of protection in order to deter further abuse. An order of protection is a court order that says the person who hurt or threatened you cannot do that again, and generally restrains the offender from doing certain things such as contacting you.

While a protective order can't guarantee that further abuse won't occur, it does allow you to have the offender arrested if any provision in the order is violated. For more information see FindLaw's article on Montana's protective orders law.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about Montana's domestic violence laws contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

If you're a domestic violence survivor there is help available for you. During an emergency dial 911, and when you're safe contact the Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.