Montana Bail Law:

Below are the most current bail laws we have for this state. Send updates to your state's bail laws to us using our contact form. This is not legal advice as laws change all the time. Please check with the department of insurance for the most recent updates.

1. Applicable Statutes.

1. MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED TITLE 46. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 9. BAIL PART 5. CONDITIONS OF BAIL — VIOLATION THEREOF.

2. Licensing Requirements for Agents.

General Qualifications — Application For License
33-17-211. General qualifications — application for license. (1) An individual applying for a license shall apply in a form approved by the commissioner and declare under penalty of refusal, suspension, or revocation of the license that statements made in the application are true, correct, and complete to the best of the individual’s knowledge and belief. Before approving the application, the commissioner shall verify that the individual:

(a) is 18 years of age or older;

(b) has not committed an act that is a ground for refusal, suspension, or revocation as set forth in 33-17-1001;

(c) has paid the license fees stated in 33-2-708;

(d) has successfully passed the examinations for each kind of insurance for which the individual has applied within 12 months of application;

(e) is a resident of this state or of another state that grants similar privileges to residents of this state. Licenses issued based upon Montana state residency terminate if the licensee relocates to another state.

(f) is competent, trustworthy, and of good reputation;

(g) has experience or training or otherwise is qualified in the kind or kinds of insurance for which the applicant applies to be licensed and is reasonably familiar with the provisions of this code that govern the applicant’s operations as an insurance producer;

(h) if applying for a license as to life or disability insurance, except as permitted by 33-20-1501(1)(c)(ii):

(i) is not a funeral director, undertaker, or mortician operating in this or any other state;

(ii) is not an officer, employee, or representative of a funeral director, undertaker, or mortician operating in this or any other state; or

(iii) does not hold an interest in or benefit from a business of a funeral director, undertaker, or mortician operating in this or any other state; and

(i) has completed a background examination pursuant to 33-17-220.

(2) A resident or nonresident business entity acting as an insurance producer is required to obtain an insurance producer’s license. Application must be made in a form approved by the commissioner. To approve the application, the commissioner shall verify that:

(a) the business entity has paid the appropriate fee; and

(b) the business entity has designated an individual licensed insurance producer who is responsible for the business entity’s compliance with the insurance laws of this state.

(3) A person acting as an insurance producer shall obtain a license. A person shall apply for a license in a form approved by the commissioner. Before approving the application, the commissioner shall verify that:

(a) the person meets the requirements listed in subsection (1);

(b) the person has paid the licensing fees stated in 33-2-708 for each individual licensed in conjunction with the person’s license. A licensed person shall promptly notify the commissioner of each change relating to an individual listed in the license.

(c) the person has designated a licensed officer to be responsible for the person’s compliance with the insurance laws and rules of this state;

(d) each member, employee, officer, director, or stockholder of a business entity who is acting as an insurance producer in this state has obtained a license;

(e) (i) with respect to a business entity, the transaction of insurance business is within the purposes stated in the partnership agreement, the articles of incorporation, or other organizational documents; and

(ii) with respect to a corporation, the secretary of state has issued a certificate of existence or authority under 35-1-1312 or filed articles of incorporation under 35-1-220.

(4) (a) The commissioner may license as a resident insurance producer an association of licensed Montana insurance producers, whether or not incorporated, formed and existing substantially for purposes other than insurance.

(b) The license must be used solely for the purpose of enabling the association to place, as a resident insurance producer, insurance of the properties, interests, and risks of the state of Montana and of other public agencies, bodies, and institutions and to receive the customary commission for the placement.

(c) The president and secretary of the association shall apply for the license in the name of the association, and the commissioner shall issue the license to the association in the association’s name alone.

(d) The fee for the license is the same as that required by 33-2-708(1)(a).

(e) The commissioner may, after a hearing with notice to the association, revoke the license if the commissioner finds that continuation of the license is not in the public interest or that a ground listed in 33-17-1001 exists.

(5) An insurance producer using an assumed business name shall register the name with the commissioner before using the name.

License Required Of Insurance Producer — Forms — Background Examinations
33-17-201. License required of insurance producer — forms — background examinations. (1) A person may not sell, solicit, or negotiate insurance or act as an insurance producer in this state unless licensed as an insurance producer under this chapter.

(2) The commissioner may prescribe by rule and make available the forms required in connection with application for, issuance, continuation, suspension, or termination of a license.

(3) All resident applicants shall undergo prelicensing background examinations. The applicant or insurer shall pay the cost of the background examinations.

Examination Required — Exceptions — Fees
33-17-212. Examination required — exceptions — fees. (1) Except as provided in subsection (6), an individual applying for a license is required to pass a written examination. The examination must test the knowledge of the individual concerning each kind of insurance listed in subsection (5) for which application is made, the duties and responsibilities of an insurance producer, and the insurance laws and rules of this state. The examination must be developed and conducted under rules adopted by the commissioner.

(2) (a) The commissioner may conduct the examination or make arrangements, including contracting with an outside testing service, for administering the examination. The commissioner may arrange for the testing service to recover the cost of the examination from the applicant.

(b) The commissioner may not charge a fee for an applicant taking an examination pertaining to prepaid legal insurance. However, the commissioner may contract with an outside testing service for administering the examination, and the commissioner may arrange for the testing service to recover the cost of the examination from the applicant.

(3) An individual who fails to appear for the examination as scheduled or fails to pass the examination may reapply for an examination and shall remit all forms before being rescheduled for another examination.

(4) Except as provided in subsection (6), if the applicant is a business entity, each individual who is to be named in the license as having authority to act for the applicant in its insurance transactions under the license must meet the qualifications provided for in this section.

(5) Examination of an applicant for a license must cover only the kinds of insurance for which the applicant has applied to be licensed, as constituted by any one or more of the following classifications:

(a) life insurance;

(b) disability insurance;

(c) property insurance, which for the purposes of this provision includes marine insurance;

(d) casualty insurance;

(e) surety insurance;

(f) limited lines credit insurance;

(g) title insurance;

(h) prepaid legal insurance as provided for in 33-1-215.

(6) This section does not apply to and an examination is not required of:

(a) an individual lawfully licensed as an insurance producer as to the kind or kinds of insurance to be transacted as of or immediately prior to January 1, 1961, and who continues to be licensed;

(b) an applicant for a license covering the same kind or kinds of insurance as to which the applicant was licensed in this state, other than under a temporary license, within the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application unless the commissioner has suspended, revoked, or terminated the previous license;

(c) an applicant for a license as a nonresident insurance producer;

(d) a limited lines travel insurance producer and those registered under the limited lines travel insurance producer’s license pursuant to 33-17-1402;

(e) an association applying for a license under 33-17-211; or

(f) a casualty insurance producer for the purposes of a separate exam for prepaid legal insurance if the casualty insurance producer sells prepaid legal insurance as of April 26, 2013, and continues to maintain a license in good standing as a casualty insurance producer.

(7) (a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (7)(b), an individual who applies for a nonresident insurance producer license in this state and who was previously licensed for the same lines of authority in another state may not be required to complete any prelicensing education or examination.

(b) The exemption in subsection (7)(a) is available only if the individual is currently licensed in the other state or the individual’s application is received within 90 days of the cancellation of the individual’s previous license and if the other state issues a certification that, at the time of the cancellation, the individual was in good standing in that state or the state’s database records, maintained by the national association of insurance commissioners or any of the association’s affiliates or subsidiaries that the association oversees, indicate that the insurance producer is or was licensed in good standing for the lines of authority requested.

Issuance Of License — Insurance Producer Lines Of Authority — License Data — Lapse Of License — Change Of Address
33-17-214. Issuance of license — insurance producer lines of authority — license data — lapse of license — change of address. (1) A person who has met the requirements of 33-17-211 and 33-17-212 must be issued a license unless that person has been denied a license pursuant to 33-17-1001.

(2) An insurance producer may receive a license qualifying the insurance producer in one or more of the following lines of authority:

(a) life insurance coverage on human lives, including benefits of endowment and annuities, and the coverage may include:

(i) funeral insurance as defined in 33-20-1501;

(ii) benefits in the event of death or dismemberment by accident; and

(iii) benefits for disability income;

(b) accident and health or sickness insurance coverage providing for sickness, bodily injury, or accidental death, and the coverage may provide benefits for disability income;

(c) property insurance coverage for the direct or consequential loss or damage to property of every kind;

(d) casualty insurance coverage against legal liability, including liability for death, injury, or disability or damage to real or personal property;

(e) variable life and variable annuity products insurance coverage provided under variable life insurance contracts and variable annuities;

(f) personal lines of property and casualty insurance coverage sold to individuals and families for primarily noncommercial purposes;

(g) limited line credit insurance; or

(h) any other line of insurance permitted under Title 33.

(3) The license must state the name and primary business address of the licensee, personal identification number, date of issuance, general conditions relative to expiration or termination, kind of insurance covered, and other information that the commissioner considers necessary.

(4) The license of a business entity must also state the name of each individual authorized to exercise the license powers.

(5) Each license remains in effect unless it is suspended, revoked, or terminated or the license lapses.

(6) (a) A person shall inform the commissioner in writing within 30 days of:

(i) a change of address or a change of business e-mail address;

(ii) the final disposition resulting in disciplinary action taken against or a conviction of the insurance producer in any state or federal jurisdiction or by another governmental agency in this state of:

(A) any administrative action related to transacting insurance;

(B) any action taken against any type of securities license; and

(C) any criminal action, excluding traffic violations.

(b) (i) As used in this subsection (6), “final disposition” includes but is not limited to a settlement agreement, consent order, plea agreement, sentence and judgment, or order.

(ii) The term does not include an action that is dismissed or that results in an acquittal, for which a report is not necessary.

Licensing Background Examination — Action By Commissioner
33-17-220. Licensing background examination — action by commissioner. (1) (a) Each applicant for a producer’s license or navigator certification shall obtain a complete background examination. The applicant or insurer shall pay the cost of the background examination. The background examination report must provide information to confirm:

(i) the applicant’s:

(A) identity;

(B) current address;

(C) professional license certification; and

(D) military service; and

(ii) (A) existing or ongoing criminal investigations and court records relating to the applicant; and

(B) regulatory agencies’ disciplinary actions concerning the applicant.

(b) The background examination is confidential and may not be held as part of the licensee’s or navigator’s public file.

(c) (i) The commissioner may, when initially making a decision regarding an applicant’s navigator certification, consider the findings obtained from the background examination, including an existing or ongoing criminal investigation or any disciplinary action taken by a regulatory agency against the applicant that relates to the applicant’s suitability for navigator certification.

(ii) The commissioner may not issue navigator certification to an applicant if the background examination discloses an act by the applicant that, under 33-17-1001, would allow the commissioner to suspend, revoke, refuse to renew, or refuse to issue an insurance producer’s license.

(iii) If the commissioner initially approves an applicant’s navigator certification while the applicant is the subject of a criminal investigation or is potentially subject to disciplinary action and the applicant is subsequently found to have committed an act that, under 33-17-1001, would allow the commissioner to suspend, revoke, refuse to renew, or refuse to issue an insurance producer’s license, the commissioner may suspend or, pursuant to subsection (1)(c)(iv), shall revoke the navigator certification.

(iv) The commissioner shall immediately revoke a navigator’s certification if the commissioner discovers that the navigator has committed an act that, under 33-17-1001, would allow the commissioner to suspend, revoke, refuse to renew, or refuse to issue an insurance producer’s license.

(2) For the purpose of obtaining a state and a federal criminal records check pursuant to subsection (1), the commissioner may require a person applying for a license or navigator certification to submit a full set of fingerprints to the commissioner. The commissioner shall submit the fingerprints to the Montana department of justice. The Montana department of justice may exchange this fingerprint data with the federal bureau of investigation.

(3) The commissioner may require fingerprints to be collected and remitted in an electronic format to facilitate periodic resubmission of fingerprints.

(4) The commissioner may contract for the collection, transmission, and retention of fingerprints and may agree to a reasonable fee charged by a contractor for these services. If the commissioner contracts for services, the fee for collecting, transmitting, and retaining of fingerprints must be paid directly to the contractor by the applicant or insurer.

(5) The commissioner is authorized to receive criminal history record information in lieu of the Montana department of justice relating to fingerprints submitted to the federal bureau of investigation.

(6) The commissioner may adopt rules to further implement this section, including but not limited to rules on the length of time that a background examination is valid and rules for the electronic filing of fingerprints.

Continuing Education — Basic Requirements — Exceptions
33-17-1203. Continuing education — basic requirements — exceptions. (1) Unless exempt under subsection (3):

(a) an individual licensed to act as an insurance producer, adjuster, public adjuster, or consultant other than an individual licensed only for surety bail bonds or for limited lines credit insurance shall, during each 24-month period, complete at least 24 credit hours of approved continuing education, including at least 3 hours of ethics credits and at least 1 credit hour on changes in Montana insurance statutes and administrative rules;

(b) an individual licensed to act as an insurance producer only for surety bail bonds, prepaid legal insurance, or limited lines credit insurance shall, during each biennium, complete 5 credit hours of approved continuing education, including at least 1 credit hour on changes in Montana insurance statutes and administrative rules and the remaining credit hours in the areas of insurance law, ethics, or topics specific to surety bail bonds, prepaid legal insurance, or limited lines credit insurance.

(2) The commissioner may, for good cause, grant an extension of time, not to exceed 1 year, during which the requirements imposed by subsection (1) may be completed.

(3) The minimum continuing education requirements do not apply to:

(a) an individual holding a temporary license issued under 33-17-216; or

(b) an insurance producer, adjuster, public adjuster, or consultant otherwise exempted by the commissioner.

3. Notice of Forfeiture

1. MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED TITLE 46. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 9. BAIL PART 5. CONDITIONS OF BAIL — VIOLATION THEREOF 46-9-503. Violation of release condition – forfeiture

  • (2) If a defendant fails to appear before a court as required and bail has been posted, the judge may declare the bail forfeited. Notice of the order of forfeiture must be mailed to the defendant and the defendant’s sureties at their last-known address within 10 working days or the bond becomes void and must be released and returned to the surety within 5 working days.

4. Allotted Time between Forfeiture Declaration and Payment Due Date.

1. MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED TITLE 46. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 9. BAIL PART 5. CONDITIONS OF BAIL — VIOLATION THEREOF 46-9-503. Violation of release condition – forfeiture

  • (3) If at any time within 90 days after the forfeiture the defendant’s sureties appear and satisfactorily excuse the defendant’s failure to appear, the judge may direct the forfeiture to be discharged upon terms as may be just. If at any time within 90 days after the forfeiture the defendant appears and satisfactorily excuses the defendant’s failure to appear, the judge shall direct the forfeiture to be discharged upon terms as may be just.

5. Forfeiture Defenses.

1. MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED TITLE 46. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 9. BAIL PART 5. CONDITIONS OF BAIL — VIOLATION THEREOF 46-9-510. Surrender of defendant

  • (1) At any time before the forfeiture of bail:
  • (a) the defendant may surrender to the court or any peace officer of this state; or
  • (b) the surety company may arrest the defendant and surrender the defendant to the court or any peace officer of this state.
  • (2) The peace officer shall detain the defendant in the officer’s custody as upon commitment and shall file a certificate, acknowledging the surrender, in the court having jurisdiction of the defendant. The court may then order the bail exonerated.

2. MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED TITLE 46. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CHAPTER 9. BAIL PART 5. CONDITIONS OF BAIL — VIOLATION THEREOF 46-9-503. Violation of release condition – forfeiture

  • (4) The surety bail bond must be exonerated upon proof of the defendant’s death or incarceration or subjection to court-ordered treatment in a foreign jurisdiction for a period exceeding the time limits under subsection (3).

6. Remission.

  • (No specific provisions exist in the MT statutes at this time in regard to “remission.”)

7. Bail Agent’s Arrest Authority.

1. MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED TITLE 46. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE-CHAPTER 9. BAIL PART 5. CONDITIONS OF BAIL — VIOLATION THEREOF 46-9-510. Surrender of defendant

  • (b) the surety company may arrest the defendant and surrender the defendant to the court or any peace officer of this state.

8. Other Noteworthy Provisions.

1. MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED TITLE 46. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE- CHAPTER 9. BAIL PART 5. CONDITIONS OF BAIL — VIOLATION THEREOF 46-9-502. Conditions performed — bail discharged

  • When the conditions of bail have been performed and the accused has been discharged from his obligations in the cause, the court shall return to him or his sureties the deposit of any cash, stocks, or bonds. If the bail is real estate, the court shall notify in writing the county clerk and recorder and the lien of the bail bond on the real estate shall be discharged. If the bail is a written undertaking or a commercial surety bond, it shall be discharged and the sureties exonerated.

9. Noteworthy State Appellate Decisions.

1. State v. Neely
296 Mont. 557, 8 P.3d 121 (Table, Text in WESTLAW), Unpublished Disposition, 1999, WL 589049, 1999 MT 183N
Mont.
Jul 28, 1999

  • If forfeiture is justified, the court’s decision on the amount, if any, of the forfeiture to be discharged must be based on consideration of six factors:

1. The willfulness of the defendant’s violation of bail conditions;
2. The surety’s participation in locating or apprehending the defendant;
3. The cost, inconvenience, and prejudice suffered by the State because of the violation;
4. Any intangible costs;
5. The public interest in ensuring the defendant’s appearance; and
6. Any mitigating factors.

State v. Seybert (1987), 229 Mont. 183, 187, 745 P.2d 687, 689.

  • In this case, the first two factors suggest opposite results. Under the record, there is nothing to indicate that Neely’s violation of bail conditions was anything but willful. Addressing factor 2, however, McFadden points out that he located and produced Neely within days of Neely’s failure to appear in court.
  • If the court finds that restitution is appropriate, the court shall order restitution in an amount not exceeding the amount of the victim’s complaint or the amount of the victim’s pecuniary loss. McFadden asserts that the revocation hearing was related to a conviction of drinking while driving, not the burglary conviction on which Neely owed $1,245.91 in restitution. But as the State points out, the record reflects that the court received bail because Neely violated probation on his burglary conviction.
  • Accordingly, the court did not act improperly in ordering that the proceeds of bond forfeiture be used for restitution.
  • After reviewing the facts of this case, we conclude that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to discharge the bail forfeiture. We affirm the decision of the District Court.

2. Siroky v. Richland County
271 Mont. 67, 894 P.2d 309
Mont.
Apr 25, 1995

  • Owner of cash bond used as bail deposit brought suit for conversion of interest earned while bond was deposited with District Court before criminal defendant was exonerated. The Seventh Judicial District Court, Richland County, Richard G. Phillips, J., entered summary judgment in favor of owner and county appealed. The Supreme Court, Leaphart, J., held that bond remained private property throughout criminal proceedings and, thus, county’s retention of interest would violate due process and takings clauses of State Constitution.

Affirmed.

3.  City of Helena v. Buck
247 Mont. 313, 806 P.2d 27
Mont.
Feb 19, 1991

  • Bail bondsman sought to have forfeiture of bail discharged. The city court refused to grant discharge. Bondsman filed appeal and alternative application for writ of certiorari. The District Court, Lewis and Clark County, Thomas C. Honzel, J., dismissed appeal and alternative application. Bail bondsman appealed. The Supreme Court, Turnage, C.J., held that: (1) there was no right of appeal from city court show cause hearing on whether forfeiture of bail should be discharged, and (2) certiorari was proper remedy.
  • Affirmed in part, and reversed and remanded in part.

10. Bounty Hunter Provisions.

  • There are currently no provisions relating to bounty hunters.