Montana state court system

Understanding how the system of Montana state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

Montana Courts Overview

To make your work easier, start searching for court files and records in Montana by simply going to courts by county.

The trial court system of Montana State consists of Workers’ Compensation Court, Water Court, Municipal Courts, City Courts, Justice Courts, and District Courts.

District Courts

The Montana District Courts have general jurisdiction to handle all criminal and civil cases, but typically handle only those cases that other Montana courts have no jurisdiction to handle.

General criminal cases that are heard by these courts include most misdemeanor criminal cases and felony criminal cases. Civil cases include naturalization cases, probate matters, and general civil claims. These courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain civil claims against the state for money damages.

Justice Courts

The Montana Justice Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases generally heard by these courts include most misdemeanors and felony preliminary proceedings. They share jurisdiction over certain types of misdemeanors with District Courts.

Civil cases typically heard by these courts include most general civil cases involving $7000 or less in dispute, exclusive of interest and costs. They cannot handle certain types of cases such as disputes involving title to real estate.

Justice Courts have Small Claims Court divisions that handle most general civil cases for $3000 or less in dispute, exclusive of costs.

City Courts

The Montana City Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. Typical criminal cases heard by these courts include criminal violations of town or city ordinances. Civil cases include certain cases related to tax collection, violations of municipal ordinances, and certain cases against a town or city.

Municipal Courts

The Montana Municipal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction to handle certain types of criminal and civil cases. Typical criminal cases handled by these courts are cases related to violations of town or city ordinances. Civil cases include certain cases against the town or city, certain cases related to tax collection, and civil municipal ordinance violations.

Water Court

The Montana Water Court has limited jurisdiction over cases related to water rights claims. Typical cases heard by this court include claims based on the Indian and Federal water rights, and claims based in the state law. The Water Court hears operates out of one office location but hears cases from the entire state.

Workers’ Compensation Court

The Montana Workers’ Compensation Court has limited jurisdiction over the cases that arise from the Montana Occupational Disease Act and the Montana Workers’ Compensation Act. It has limited jurisdiction over reemployment preferences and certain contractor exemptions. It also imposes civil penalties for the violations of some workers’ compensation law and reviews final decisions of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

Court Notes

Most Montana courts have special “Treatment Court” programs including Mental Health Court, Family Treatment Court, Juvenile Drug Court, Adult Drug Court, and Youth Drug Court. These programs can establish treatment in lieu of custody for some offenders who have mental health or substance abuse problems.

The Official Website of Montana County

Billings City of Billings, MT – Official Website
Missoula Missoula, MT – Official Website
Great Falls City of Great Falls Montana
Bozeman City Of Bozeman
Butte City and County of Butte-Silver Bow, MT | Official Website
Helena City of Helena Queen City of the Rockies
Kalispell Kalispell, MT | Official Website
Havre City of Havre
Anaconda Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, MT | Official Website
Miles City City of Miles City
Belgrade City of Belgrade, Montana
Livingston City of Livingston
Whitefish Whitefish, Montana | Official City Website Welcome to the official website for the City of Whitefish, MT! Our website covers information about city news, upcoming events, and more.
Lewistown City Meetings & Events – City of Lewistown, Montana
Sidney Welcome to the City of Sidney
Petroleum County Petroleum County, Montana
Golden Valley County Golden Valley County, Montana
Prairie County Prairie County Government Prairie County offers rural living at its best: wide open spaces under the “big sky”, plenty of recreational opportunities, and an old-fashioned sense of western hospitality. Prairie County was formed in February of 1915 from part of Custer County, Dawson County and Fallon County. The county seat is located in Terry, the only incorporated town in the county. Other communities are Fallon and Mildred. Prairie County, located in Eastern Montana, along the Yellowstone River is home to scenic badlands and plentiful hunting and fishing opportunities.
Carter County Carter County Montana
Garfield County Garfield County, MT Government Official website for Garfield County government, located in Eastern Montana.
McCone County McCone County
Powder River County Powder River County
Meagher County Meagher County Welcome to Meagher County – official site for your local government. Latest commissioner minutes, area info, access to all county departments and contact information. Commonly requested forms, budget, annual reports, employment application, policy handbook and much more.
Judith Basin County Judith Basin County – Judith Basin County
Liberty County Liberty County | Heart of the Hi-Line
Fallon County Fallon County
Granite County Granite County Montana
Sweet Grass County Sweet Grass County Montana | Sweet Grass County, Montana : Government and Department Information
Sheridan County Sheridan County
Mineral County Mineral County Montana «
Musselshell County Welcome to Musselshell County Montana – Part of Big Sky Country Enjoy a variety of fun Montana events including the Roundup 4th of July weekend, 4-H Livestock shows, outdoor Hunting & Fishing, Live Music and great food.
Toole County Toole County MT Official Website of Toole County Montana.
Broadwater County Broadwater County
Chouteau County Chouteau County, Montana
Teton County Teton County Montana
Pondera County Pondera County Montana
Blaine County Blaine County, Montana Blaine County, Montana located in the state of Montana. County seat is Chinook. Blaine County, MT named in honor of J. Blaine, former US Secretary of State.
Powell County Departments – Welcome to Powell County, Montana
Valley County Welcome To Valley County, MT
Madison County Madison County, MT | Official Website
Stillwater County Stillwater County |
Rosebud County Rosebud, Montana Rosebud County is in southeastern Montana near the Wyoming border. The town of Rosebud parallels the south shore of the Yellowstone River, ten miles east of Forsyth on Interstate 90 and Rosebud County was formed in 1901 from part of Custer County.
Beaverhead County Beaverhead County
Dawson County Dawson County Montana Home Page Census 2020 is hiring Please click here for detailsSchool Election Results May 7, 2019 This webpage has recently been updated Please note the Agenda and Minutes are now on the blue tab of this page.Schedules meetings are on the green Calendar tab.
Carbon County Carbon County «
Roosevelt County Welcome to Roosevelt County | Wolf Point, Montana
Sanders County Sanders County «
Fergus County Fergus County
Jefferson County Jefferson County MT