Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 2. Collection and Processing

Photographs And Fingerprints

44-5-202. Photographs and fingerprints. (1) The following agencies may, if authorized by subsections (2) through (5), collect, process, and preserve photographs and fingerprints:

(a) any criminal justice agency performing, under law, the functions of a police department or a sheriff's office, or both;

(b) the department of corrections; and

(c) the department of justice.

(2) The department of corrections may photograph and fingerprint anyone under the jurisdiction of the division of corrections or its successor.

(3) A criminal justice agency described in subsection (1)(a) shall photograph and fingerprint a person who has been arrested or noticed or summoned to appear to answer an information or indictment if:

(a) the charge is the commission of a felony or a misdemeanor except as provided in subsection (5);

(b) the identification of an accused is in issue; or

(c) it is required to do so by court order.

(4) Whenever a person charged with the commission of a felony or a misdemeanor is not arrested, the person shall appear before the sheriff, chief of police, or other concerned law enforcement officer for fingerprinting at the time of initial appearance in court to answer the information or indictment against the person. The individual being fingerprinted shall present the charging document, information, or citation at the time of fingerprinting, and the charging document, information, or citation must be returned to the individual after the fingerprints are taken.

(5) An individual who is issued a notice to appear or who is arrested for a misdemeanor traffic, regulatory, or fish and game offense may not be photographed or fingerprinted unless the individual is:

(a) incarcerated; or

(b) sentenced to a term of incarceration, whether or not the term of incarceration was suspended by the sentencing judge.

(6) Within 10 days, the originating agency shall send the state repository a copy of each fingerprint taken on a completed form provided by the state repository.

(7) The state repository shall compare the fingerprints received with those already on file in the state repository. If it is determined that the individual is wanted or is a fugitive from justice, the state repository shall at once inform the originating agency. If it is determined that the individual has a criminal record, the state repository shall send the originating agency a copy of the individual's complete criminal history record.

(8) If an individual is released without the filing of charges, if the charges did not result in a conviction, or if a conviction is later invalidated, the court having jurisdiction in the criminal action shall report the disposition to the state repository as required in 44-5-213(2) within 14 business days. Photographs and fingerprints taken of the individual must be returned by the state repository to the originating agency, which shall expunge all copies. A criminal justice agency may not maintain any copies of the individual's fingerprints or photographs related to that charge or invalidated conviction.

History: En. Sec. 6, Ch. 525, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 262, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 804, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 197, Ch. 546, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 141, L. 2007; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 321, L. 2017; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 22, L. 2019.