Montana Protective Orders Laws

Orders of protection, also called "restraining orders," require a named individual (typically, those charged with domestic violence or stalking) to stay a specified distance away from a named victim, for a certain amount of time. They are technically legal documents issued by a judge or magistrate to protect the health and safety of a person who is alleged to be a victim of any act involving violence, force or threat that results in bodily injury or places that person in fear of death, sexual assault or bodily injury.

Protective Orders In Montana

In the Montana there are two (2) types of protective orders that can protect you and others in your family or home:

Temporary order is a court order designed to provide you and your family members with immediate protection. A judge can issue it if you allege, and the judge believes, that you will be in danger of harm if the court does not issue a temporary order of protection immediately. It is effective for up to 20 days.

Final order of protection can be granted only after a full court hearing where the abuser has an opportunity to appear and tell his/her side of the story. Generally this hearing will take place approximately 20 days after the temporary order is issued.

Where Can I File for An Order of Protection?

You can file a petition in the county where you live, in the county where the abuser lives, or in the county where the abuse took place. There is no minimum length of residency required to file a petition.

Penalties For Violation Of A Protective Order

Violation of an Order of Protection is a crime. You should call local law enforcement immediately. A violation of any terms of an Order of Protection is punishable under MCA 45-5-626. If the respondent (abuser) violates an Order of Protection, he or she may also be charged with other crimes such as trespassing (MCA 45-6-203) and stalking (MCA 45-5-220).

The following table highlights the main provisions of Montana's protective order laws, with links to additional articles and resources.

Code Section 40-4-121 to 125; 40-15-101, et seq. Temporary order during dissolution of marriage only; 45-5-626
Activity Addressed by Order Enjoin contact; exclude from dwelling, school, and employment of petitioner; counseling; regarding minors: enjoin contact; prohibition from possession of a firearm; during dissolution, includes temporary maintenance and support; limiting use of property
Duration of Order Temporary: maximum 20 days; during dissolution: maximum 1 year or longer, may be modified
Penalty for Violation of Order Fine: maximum $500 and/or jail maximum six (6) months. If 2nd conviction: fine, minimum $200 and maximum $500 and/or jail, minimum 24 hours and maximum six (6) months. If 3rd or subsequent offense: fine, minimum $500 and maximum $2,000 and jail, minimum 10 days and maximum two (2) years
Who May Apply for Order Victim or regarding minors: parent, guardian ad litem or other representative
Can Fees Be Waived? May be if inability-to-pay-filing-fees order form submitted
Order Transmission to Law Enforcement Copy mailed, within 24 hours of receiving proof of service, to the appropriate law enforcement agency

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Montana criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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