Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How do I request a record or background check?

    Most Justice Court records are public record and can be made available to the general public, however, there is a $10 charge, per name, to perform the record search. Copies of records are charged at $1.00 per page for the first ten pages and $.50 per page for every page after ten. Original records can not be removed from the office. Search fee is waived for government agencies as long as we receive the request on agency letterhead. Record searches are done as time permits. A request form is available in doc or pdf format.
  • Why did the judge suspend my driver’s license?

    If you fail to appear for a court hearing or fail to comply with a court order (such as to take a class or do community service) one of the tools the Court has to enforce its order is to suspend your driver's license until you comply with the order. The Court will never suspend your driver's license without first sending a written notice to your address on file. In years past, your driver's license may have been suspended for failure to pay a fine. If so, you may request to have it reinstated.
  • How do I get a Public Defender?

    Everyone has the right to be represented by an attorney in Justice Court. If you are charged with an offense that has the possibility of jail time, and you cannot afford an attorney, the Court can appoint an attorney to represent you at no cost. If the offense you are charged with qualifies for a public defender, the Judge will ask if you would like one appointed. If you say yes you will get an application form to determine if you financially qualify. You will need to return the application form to the Public Defender's Office, who makes the decision.

  • I got a ticket, what happens when I see the Judge?

    In criminal cases, the Judge will advise you of your rights and the charges against you and then ask you to enter either a Guilty or Not Guilty plea. If you plead Guilty, the Judge will impose a sentence then, but you may first make a statement. If you plead not guilty, the Judge will set a scheduling hearing, called an "omnibus" hearing, which will take place approximately six (6) weeks after your not guilty plea.

  • I got a ticket, when can I see the Judge?

    The issuing agency will write an "appear by" date on your ticket, usually 10 days after it was issued. You may appear any day on or before that date. If you fail to appear by that date, a warrant for your arrest may issue.

    Every day at 1:30 p.m., the Court sees people who received tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. It is best to check in by 1:15 p.m.

    At 2:30 p.m. the court sees people in custody via video link from the Missoula County Detention Facility. Anyone from the 1:30 calendar who has not yet been seen by 2:30 either has to wait until the jail appearances are complete, or reschedule for a different day. If your case is not seen before 2:30 p.m. there is often a substantial wait. Please feel free to call the clerk's office at 258-3470 with any questions.

  • Can I pay my ticket online?

    In most cases, yes, though it depends on what tickets you received.

    Most traffic offenses can be paid online. However, DUI type offenses (statute number 61-8-XXX), Driving While Suspended/Revoked, offenses with jail possible, and Careless Driving where the driver is under 25 years of age require personal appearance.

    Additionally, by state law any "Title 45 offense" i.e a charge with a statute number 45-X-XXX requires a person to personally appear, and then to be fingerprinted following their initial appearance.

    For most other offenses, you may pay online at:

    You will need to select "Montana" then "pay a citation" then "Missoula County Justice Court."


    You always have the option to see a judge to discuss your case or to enter a not guilty plea. Online payments are merely a convenience for those who do not wish to dispute the charges against them.