In the state of Montana, an arrest warrant can be issued upon an individual if a judge or magistrate examines the circumstances and determines that there is probable cause to believe that the person has committed an offense.
Probable cause could mean:
- The person was witnessed committing the offense
- The person left incriminating evidence at a crime scene
- The person was caught on video committing a crime
If law enforcement officers have an arrest warrant for a person they have the authority to seek the person out and arrest them wherever they come into contact with them. The arrest can happen any time day or night.
Police can break down doors, bust through windows, or even cut through walls of a building in order to make an arrest if the defendant does not cooperate.
An arrest warrant will lead to being booked into jail, and maybe even lengthy incarceration time.
If you believe that you or somebody that you know has an arrest warrant, we recommend that you do a Montana warrant search to know for sure so that you can take action on your own terms.
Active Warrants in Montana
A peace officer in the state of Montana can arrest a person without a warrant if they witness the defendant committing a crime, or if an eyewitness points out a person that has committed a crime.
Although police can make arrests without warrants, in the event that they have a warrant they have much more power over the situation.
An active warrant is a warrant that has yet to be executed. The execution of a warrant simply means that the orders that are listed within the warrant have been carried out.
As long as an individual has an active warrant against them in Montana they are subject to the terms of that warrant at any time. Whether it be an arrest warrant, a warrant to appear in court, or a search warrant as long as it has not been executed, it will always be a threat.
Types of Warrants in Montana
There are literally thousands of different types of warrants that can be issued towards an individual in any of the United States. However, the most popular and widely issued types of warrants are:
- Search warrants
- Arrest warrants
- Bench warrants
Each type of these warrants has its own characteristics that differentiate it from the other. Search warrants allow law enforcement to search, while arrest warrants and bench warrants allow officers to bring defendants into custody.
Within each warrant, there will be a specific set of instructions that clearly state what law enforcement is expected to do in accordance with the state and federal laws.
Warrant Records Search
Search Warrants in Montana
In the event that a judge or magistrate issues a search warrant in the state of Montana, it is because law enforcement or the district attorney requested one on the grounds that there is probable cause to indicate that the person named in the warrant has been involved with criminal activity.
Some instances where a search warrant can be valuable are:
- Suspected narcotics dealers
- Suspected cybercriminals
- Suspected possession of illegal firearms
- Suspected child molesters
When officers conduct searches on the grounds of a valid search warrant they have to be careful to stay within the boundaries that the warrant specifies. If police go about searches in a manner that is not in line with the warrant specifications they will be in jeopardy of losing all of the evidence that they find.
In an effort to protect citizens from unlawful search and seizure practices the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution commands that searches be carried out in a way that is both fair and lawful.
A search warrant will include information such as:
- The name or description of the defendant
- The place that is to be searched
- The areas where the search can take place
In most cases, a search warrant can only be executed between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM, but certain circumstances that merit the need for a search at any time can be implemented.
Arrest Warrants in Montana
An arrest warrant is issued by a judge when a person is being sought after to face criminal charges. The warrant can be for a misdemeanor or a felony, however, felony arrest warrants are taken more seriously by authorities.
In most cases when a judge issues an arrest warrant it is because the D.A. has already established probable cause and filed charges against the defendant.
The steps of the warrant process are generally:
- A complaint is filed against the defendant
- Law enforcement gathers evidence to support the complaint
- The district attorney files charges against the accused
- The DA approaches the judge and requests an arrest warrant
- The judge issues the warrant
- Law enforcement apprehends the defendant
- The defendant is prosecuted
In some cases, law enforcement officers will approach a judge during evening hours, weekends, or holidays and request an arrest warrant to be issued upon an individual that might be a threat to public safety.
In cases like this, the officers will arrest the person and hold them until the district attorney files charges.
Arrest warrants are non-negotiable and must be carried out in the manner of which they are intended. Police officers do not judge the defendant, it is only their job to bring them in to face charges. This means that if a person has an arrest warrant against them, they are probably going to jail.
Bench Warrants in Montana
A bench warrant is a powerful warrant that carries a lot of weight. A judge issues a bench warrant directly from their bench in the courtroom. If a person has a bench warrant issued upon them they are subject to arrest and detainment at any time.
Most bench warrants are initiated because of a defendant’s failure to appear at an appointed court date.
Other reasons a judge may issue a bench warrant are:
- The defendant violated a condition of release
- The defendant did not pay a court-appointed fine on time
- The defendant failed to honor a jury duty commitment
Although bench warrants and arrest warrants are alike in many ways, the way that they are written up and signed into activity differs greatly. An arrest warrant is issued in order to bring a suspected criminal in to face charges, a bench warrant is the result of a case that is already in progress.
When a defendant is in the process of a court procedure whether it be the beginning stages of the trial, or they are in the process of carrying out a condition of release they are still within the grip of the judge. Law enforcement officers do not need to bring a request to the judge with an element of probable cause because the court process is already underway.
Once a bench warrant is issued it will not expire or go away without action from the court. Whether it be the defendant is arrested, dies, or the judge signs the warrant out of activity for some other reason it will stay active and ready for action indefinitely.
Why Warrant Searches Are Important
The only way to prepare for an arrest is to be aware that it could happen. Conducting regular warrant searches gives a person information that they might not be aware of. Since warrants are issued behind closed doors there is no way to know if there is one out for you unless you do the work and search for answers. The best way to defend yourself is to be aware of the danger.
***Regardless of which state you live in it is always wise to contact an attorney for any questions that you may have when it comes to warrant laws or any other legal concerns. The content found on this website is only for informational purposes and is not to be mistaken for legal advice.