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MONTANA LAW REQUIRING
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
 

46-23-501.  Short title. Section 46-18-255 and this part may be cited as the "Sexual or Violent Offender Registration Act".


History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 293, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 407, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 375, L. 1997.


46-23-502.  Definitions. As used in 46-18-255 and this part, the following definitions apply:

(1)  "Department" means the department of corrections provided for in 2-15-2301.
(2)  "Mental abnormality" means a congenital or acquired condition that affects the mental, emotional, or volitional capacity of a person in a manner that predisposes the person to the commission of one or more sexual offenses to a degree that makes the person a menace to the health and safety of other persons.
(3)  "Personality disorder" means a personality disorder as defined in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders adopted by the American psychiatric association.
(4)  "Predatory sexual offense" means a sexual offense committed against a stranger or against a person with whom a relationship has been established or furthered for the primary purpose of victimization.
(5)  "Sexual offender evaluator" means a person qualified under rules established by the department to conduct sexual offender and sexually violent predator evaluations.
(6)  "Sexual offense" means:
(a)  any violation of or attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit a violation of 45-5-502(3), 45-5-503,
45-5-504(1) (if the victim is under 18 years of age and the offender is 18 years of age or older), 45-5-504(2)(c), 45-5-507 (if the victim is under 18 years of age and the offender is 3 or more years older than the victim), or 45-5-625; or
(b) 
any violation of a law of another state or the federal government reasonably equivalent to a violation listed in subsection (6)(a).
(7)  "Sexual or violent offender" means a person who has been convicted of a sexual or violent offense.
(8)  "Sexually violent predator" means a person who has been convicted of a sexual offense and who suffers from a mental abnormality or a personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexual offenses.
(9)  "Violent offense" means:
(a)  any violation of or attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit a violation of 45-5-102, 45-5-103, 45-5-202, 45-5-206 (third or subsequent offense), 45-5-210(1)(b), (1)(c), or (1)(d), 45-5-212, 45-5-213, 45-5-301 (if the victim is less than 18 years of age and the offender is not a parent of the victim), 45-5-302, 45-5-303, 45-5-401, 45-5-603(1)(b), or 45-6-103; or
(b)  any violation of a law of another state or the federal government reasonably equivalent to a violation listed in subsection (9)(a).

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 293, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 262, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 407, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 231, Ch. 546, L. 1995; amd. Secs. 7, 12, Ch. 550, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 375, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 227, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 19, Ch. 432, L. 1999.


46-23-503.  Release of sexual or violent offender from place of confinement -- duties of official in charge. (1) A sexual or violent offender who is released from the custody of the department of corrections must be informed in writing not less than 10 days prior to release of the duty to register under this part by the official in charge of the place of confinement.

(2)  Prior to the offender's release from custody, the official shall obtain and give to the department of justice and to the sheriff of the county in which the offender intends to reside or, if the offender intends to reside in a municipality, to the chief of police of the municipality:
(a) the address at which the offender intends to reside upon release from the department's custody;
(b)  the offender's fingerprints and photo, unless they are already in the possession of the department of justice, sheriff, or chief of police; and
(c)  a form signed by and read to or by the offender stating that the offender's duty to register under this part has been explained to the offender.

History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 293, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 262, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 407, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 232, Ch. 546, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 375, L. 1997.


46-23-504.  Persons required to register -- procedure. (1) A sexual or violent offender:

(a)  shall register immediately upon conclusion of the sentencing hearing if the offender is not sentenced to confinement or is not sentenced to the department and placed in confinement by the department;
(b)  must be registered as provided in 46-23-503 at least 10 days prior to release from confinement if sentenced to confinement or sentenced to the department and placed in confinement by the department;
(c)  shall register within 10 days of entering a county of this state for the purpose of residing or setting up a temporary domicile for 10 days or more if the offender was sentenced in another state.
(2) Registration under subsection (1)(a) must be with the probation office having supervision over the offender. Registration under subsection (1)(c) must be with the chief of police of the municipality or the sheriff of the county if the offender resides in an area other than a municipality. Whichever person an offender registers with under subsection (1)(c) shall notify the other person of the registration.
(3)  At the time of registering, the offender shall sign a statement in writing giving the information required by the department of justice. The chief of police or sheriff shall fingerprint the offender, unless the offender's fingerprints are on file with the department of justice, and shall photograph the offender. Within 3 days, the chief of police or sheriff shall send copies of the statement, fingerprints, and photographs to the department of justice.
(4)  The department of justice shall mail a registration verification form each 90 days to an offender designated as a level 3 offender under 46-23-509 and each year to a violent offender or an offender designated as a level 1 or level 2 offender under 46-23-509. The form must require the offender's current address and notarized signature. Within 10 days after receipt of the form, the offender shall complete the form and return it to the department.
(5)  The offender is responsible, if able to pay, for costs associated with registration. The fees charged for registration may not exceed the actual costs of registration. The department of justice may adopt a rule establishing fees to cover registration costs incurred by the department of justice in maintaining registration and address verification records. The fees must be deposited in the general fund.
(6)  The clerk of the district court in the county in which a person is convicted of a sexual or violent offense shall notify the sheriff in that county of the conviction within 10 days after entry of the judgment.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 293, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 407, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 375, L. 1997.


46-23-505.  Notice of change of address -- duty to inform -- forwarding of information. If an offender required to register under this part changes residence, the offender shall within 10 days of the change give written notification of the new address to the agency with whom the offender last registered. The agency shall, within 3 days after receipt of the new address, forward it to the department of justice, which shall forward a copy of the new address and photograph to the sheriff having jurisdiction over the new place of residence and to the chief of police of the municipality of the new place of residence if the new place of residence is in a municipality.


History: En. Sec. 6, Ch. 293, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 407, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 375, L. 1997.


46-23-506.  Duration of registration. (1) A sexual offender required to register under this part shall register for the remainder of the offender's life, except as provided in subsection (3) or during a period of time during which the offender is in prison.

(2)  A violent offender required to register under this part shall register:
(a)  for the 10 years following release from confinement or, if not confined following sentencing, for the 10 years following the conclusion of the sentencing hearing; or
(b)  if convicted during the 10-year period provided in subsection (2)(a) of failing to register or keep registration current or of a felony, for the remainder of the offender's life unless relieved of the duty to register as provided in subsection (3).
(3)  Except as provided in subsection (5), at any time after 10 years of registration, the offender may petition the sentencing court or the district court for the judicial district in which the offender resides for an order relieving the offender of the duty to register. The petition must be served on the county attorney in the county where the petition is filed. Prior to a hearing on the petition, the county attorney shall mail a copy of the petition to the victim of the last offense for which the offender was convicted if the victim's address is reasonably available. The court shall consider any written or oral statements of the victim. The court may grant the petition upon finding that:
(a)  the offender has remained a law-abiding citizen; and
(b)  continued registration is not necessary for public protection and that relief from registration is in the best interests of society.
(4)  The offender may move that all or part of the proceedings in a hearing under subsection (3) be closed to the public, or the judge may close them on the judge's own motion. If a proceeding is closed to the public, the judge shall permit a victim of the offense to be present unless the judge determines that exclusion of the victim is necessary to protect the offender's right of privacy or the safety of the victim. If the victim is present, the judge, at the victim's request, shall permit the presence of an individual to provide support to the victim unless the judge determines that exclusion of the individual is necessary to protect the offender's right to privacy.
(5)  Subsection (3) does not apply to an offender who was convicted of:
(a)  45-5-503 if the victim was compelled to submit by force, as defined in 45-5-501, against the victim or another;
(b)  45-5-507 if at the time the offense occurred the victim was under 12 years of age and the offender was 3 or more years older than the victim;
(c)  a second or subsequent sexual offense that requires registration; or
(d)  a sexual offense and was designated as a sexually violent predator under 46-23-509.

History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 293, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 407, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 550, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 375, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 227, L. 1999.


46-23-507.  Penalty. A sexual or violent offender who knowingly fails to register, verify registration, or keep registration current under this part may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than 5 years or may be fined not more than $10,000, or both.


History: En. Sec. 8, Ch. 293, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 407, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 550, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 375, L. 1997.


46-23-508.  Dissemination of information. (1) Information maintained under this part is confidential criminal justice information, as defined in 44-5-103, except that:

(a)  the name and address of a registered sexual or violent offender are public criminal justice information, as defined in 44-5-103; and
(b)  a law enforcement agency shall release any offender registration information relevant to the public if the agency determines that a registered offender is a risk to the safety of the community and that disclosure of the registration information may protect the public and, at a minimum:
(i)  if an offender was given a level 1 designation under 46-23-509, the agency with which the offender is registered shall notify the agency in whose jurisdiction the offense occurred of the registration;
(ii)  if an offender was given a level 2 designation under 46-23-509, the agency with which the offender is registered may disseminate the offender's name to the public with the notation that the offender is a sexual or violent offender and may notify a victim of the offense and any agency, organization, or group serving persons who have characteristics similar to those of a previous victim of the offender of:
(A)  the offender's address;
(B)  the type of victim targeted by the offense;
(C)  the name, photograph, and physical description of the offender;
(D)  the offenses for which the offender is required to register under this part; and
(E)  any conditions imposed by the court upon the offender for the safety of the public; and
(iii)  if an offender was given a level 3 designation under 46-23-509, the agency shall give the victim and the public notification that includes the information contained in subsection (1)(b)(ii). The agency shall also include the date of the offender's release from confinement or if not confined, the date the offender was sentenced, with a notation that the offender was not confined, and shall include the community in which the offense occurred.
(c)  Prior to release of information under subsection (1)(b), a law enforcement agency may, in its sole discretion, request an in camera review by a district court of the determination by the law enforcement agency under subsection (1)(b). The court shall review a request under this subsection (1)(c) and shall, as soon as possible, render its opinion so that release of the information is not delayed beyond release of the offender from confinement.
(2)  The identity of a victim of an offense for which registration is required under this part may not be released by a law enforcement agency without the permission of the victim.

History: En. Sec. 11, Ch. 407, L. 1995; En. Sec. 10, Ch. 550, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 11, Ch. 375, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 219, L. 1999.


46-23-509.  Sexual offender evaluations and designations -- rulemaking authority. (1) The department shall adopt rules for the qualification of sexual offender evaluators who conduct sexual offender and sexually violent predator evaluations and for determinations by sexual offender evaluators of the risk of a repeat offense and the threat that an offender poses to the public safety.

(2)  Prior to sentencing of a person convicted of a sexual offense, the department or a sexual offender evaluator shall provide the court with a sexual offender evaluation report recommending one of the following levels of designation for the offender:
(a)  level 1, the risk of a repeat sexual offense is low;
(b)  level 2, the risk of a repeat sexual offense is moderate;
(c)  level 3, the risk of a repeat sexual offense is high, there is a threat to public safety, and the sexual offender evaluator believes that the offender is a sexually violent predator.
(3)  Upon sentencing the offender, the court shall:
(a)  review the sexual offender evaluation report, any statement by a victim, and any statement by the offender;
(b)  designate the offender as level 1, 2, or 3; and
(c)  designate a level 3 offender as a sexually violent predator.
(4)  An offender designated as a level 2 or level 3 offender may petition the sentencing court to change the offender's designation if the offender has enrolled in and successfully completed the treatment phase of either the prison's sexual offender program or of an equivalent program approved by the department. After considering the petition, the court may change the offender's risk level designation if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the offender's risk of committing a repeat sexual offense has changed since the time sentence was imposed. The court shall impose one of the three risk levels specified in this section.
(5)  If, at the time of sentencing, the sentencing judge did not apply a level designation to a sexual offender who is required to register under this part, the department shall designate the offender as level 1, 2, or 3 when the offender is released from confinement.

History: En. Sec. 12, Ch. 375, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 358, L. 1999.


46-23-510.  Expungement of records on reversal of conviction. Upon final reversal of a conviction of a sexual or violent offense, the sentencing court shall order the expungement of any records kept by a court, law enforcement agency, or other state or local government agency under this part.


History: En. Sec. 13, Ch. 375, L. 1997.


46-23-511.  Immunity from suit. A state or local governmental entity, a private entity, or an officer or employee of an entity is not liable in negligence, except gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct, for damages arising from a good faith discretionary release or dissemination of or good faith failure to release or disseminate information under this part.


History: En. Sec. 14, Ch. 375, L. 1997.


46-23-512.  Plea agreement agreeing to compliance with this part. A defendant convicted of an offense that would otherwise not be subject to registration under this part may agree to comply with the registration requirements of this part as part of a plea agreement, and a court accepting the plea agreement may order the defendant to comply with this part.


History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 358, L. 1999.