Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Investigation of Death -- Autopsy

Coroner's Authority To Seize And Preserve Evidence

46-4-111. Coroner's authority to seize and preserve evidence. (1) A county coroner may enter any room, dwelling, building, or other place in which the coroner has probable cause to believe that a dead human body or evidence of the circumstances of a death that requires investigation may be found. If refused entry, a coroner who is investigating a death pursuant to the coroner's authority may apply to a judge authorized to issue search warrants for a warrant to enter the premises and to search for and seize evidence of the cause of a death, including a dead human body.

(2) The application for a search warrant must:

(a) state facts sufficient to show probable cause that a human body or evidence of the circumstances of death is present in the place to be searched;

(b) particularly describe the place to be searched; and

(c) particularly describe the things to be seized.

(3) To preserve evidence of the cause of death, a coroner may:

(a) place under the coroner's custody and control any dwelling, building, item, vehicle, aircraft, railroad engine or train, vessel, enclosure, or open area for a period of not more than 10 days; and

(b) forbid entrance by an unauthorized person into any area specified in subsection (3)(a).

(4) A person may not enter an area that is restricted pursuant to subsection (3) without the permission of the coroner or the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction if there is also a criminal investigation in progress.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 660, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 1731, Ch. 56, L. 2009.