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Montana Protective Orders Laws

Domestic violence remains a serious problem, but there are measures in place to help its victims. 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 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.

This article provides a brief overview of protective orders in the state of Montana.

Protective Orders In Montana

In Montana, there are two types of protective orders that can protect you and others in your family or home. A 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. A final order of protection can be granted only after a full court hearing where the respondent has an opportunity to appear and tell their side of the story. This hearing will take place within 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.

Protective Orders in Montana: At a Glance

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

Code Section

§ 40-15-101 et seq. of the Montana Code Annotated

Activity Addressed by Order

A protective order in Montana prohibits the respondent from:
  • Threatening to commit or committing acts of violence against the petitioner and any designated family member
  • Harassing, annoying, disturbing the peace of, telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating (directly or indirectly) with the petitioner, any named family member, any other victim of this offense, or a witness to the offense
  • Prohibiting the respondent from removing a child from the jurisdiction of the court
  • Going within 1,500 feet or other appropriate distance away from the petitioner, their residence, or school or place of employment
  • Removing and excluding the respondent from the residence of the petitioner, regardless of the ownership of the residence
  • Possessing or using the firearm used in the assault
  • Transferring, encumbering, concealing, or otherwise disposing of any property (with some exceptions)

The court can also direct the respondent to:

  • Complete violence counseling, which may include alcohol or chemical dependency counseling or treatment, if applicable
  • Other relief considered necessary to provide for the safety and welfare of the petitioner or other designated family member

Duration of Order

May continue for an appropriate time period as directed by the court or be made permanent in certain circumstances (may also be terminated upon the petitioner's request)

Penalty for Violation of Order

Up to a $10,000 fine and five years in jail

Who May Apply for Order

Victim or regarding minors: parent, guardian ad litem, or another representative

Can Fees Be Waived?

There is no filing fee in Montana

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

Copy mailed, within 24 hours of receiving proof of service, to the appropriate law enforcement agency, which must then upload it to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law:

Montana Protective Orders Laws: Related Resources

Get Help with Protective Orders in Montana

If someone is hurting or threatening to hurt you, there are resources available for you when you're ready. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for 24/7/365 support at 800-799-7233. If you've been abused or fear someone may abuse you in the near future, you may want to get a protective order.

Please contact a Montana domestic violence attorney for help.

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