Legal Resources

Unfortunately, the legal system is often the first point of contact for many persons with a mental illness. There may be a co-occurring problem with drugs and/or alcohol or other behavior problems that cause the criminal justice system to intervene. It helps for families and friends to get involved and become advocates for their loved ones.

Bail Bondsman: If a family member is in custody and you want to post bail, you can post it yourself, or go to a bondsman (look in the yellow pages under bail bonds). A private person is normally required to post the entire amount, but should get it all back if the person makes his or her court appearances. Hiring a professional bondsman requires paying a fee, which may be around 10% or more, and is not returned.

Missoula City Municipal Court: 435 Ryman, 552-6180. Primarily handles misdemeanor charges within city limits. Everyone has right to speak with the judge and to bring a support person..

Missoula County Justice Court: 200 W. Broadway, 258-4871. Justice Court does use the Mental Health Court staff when appropriate.

Missoula County Treatment Court: 258-4641. Diverts from jail to treatment people with serious mental disorders (and/or substance abuse issues) charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Also Veterans Treatment Court for Vets with similar disorders.

Missoula County Detention Facility (Jail): 2340 Mullan Road, 258-4000. If your loved one is on prescribed medication you may take it to the jail in its labeled container. Inmates must request their medications while in jail. The following website includes the jail roster and visitation information.

Jail Diversion Program: Provides support and treatment for individuals experiencing mental illnesses during pre-arrest, incarceration, and after release from county detention centers. Services provided while incarcerated can include mental health assessments, case management, therapy, peer-support services, group therapies, crisis intervention, and chemical dependency evaluations. Contact Amy Chesebro at 258-4039 or .

Missoula Public Defenders Office: 610 Woody, 523-5140. Lawyers for indigent persons, mental health commitments, guardianships, dependent neglect cases.

Missoula Self-Help Law Center: Missoula County Courthouse 200 West Broadway, Room 271 / (406) 258-3428 Provides assistance to those who cannot afford an attorney or who choose to represent themselves in civil legal matters such as family law. The Missoula Self Help Law Center does not provide legal advice but rather, directs individuals to legal information and proper forms which are available to the general public.

Missoula “Quality of Life Liaison”: 552-6338. This officer helps mediate and resolve non-criminal disputes, neighborhood disturbances, and claims of discriminatory treatment and bias.

Montana Legal Services: 211 N. Higgins, 543-8343. Hotline 543-8344. Helpline 1-800-666-6899. for common questions about courts and resources.

Montana Legal Justice: 415 N. Higgins, 356-6546; A public interest law office and legal advice clinic that focuses on client-centered representation and negotiation of collaborative legal solutions.

Community Dispute Resolution Center: Provides mediation; CDRC volunteers mediate Justice Court cases at the Missoula Courthouse. 1535 Liberty Lane, Suite 117A; 543-1157;

Involuntary Hospital Admissions: Involuntary Mental Health Commitments are initiated by the Missoula County Attorney’s Office if a mental health professional recommends involuntary treatment because a person with a mental illness has become dangerous to himself or to other persons. Individuals may be detained and evaluated at the Montana State Hospital or other recommended facility. Daytime phone: 258-4737; in emergencies contact 911.

Mental Health Ombudsman: Represents the interests of Montanans seeking access to public mental health services. Located in Helena: 1-888-444-9669 or

Disability Rights Montana: Protects and advocates for the human, legal, and civil rights of Montanans with disabilities while advancing dignity, equality, and self-determination. Located in Helena: 1-406-449-2344 or 1-800-245-4743 /