Beaverhead County Criminal Court

Beaverhead County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Beaverhead County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Beaverhead County.

Sentencing in Beaverhead County

In Beaverhead County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.

Prosecutor in Beaverhead County

In Beaverhead County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Beaverhead County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Montana. For the most part, the prosecutor in Beaverhead County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Beaverhead County Criminal Court

Beaverhead County Criminal Court

Beaverhead County Required Court Appearances

In Beaverhead County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

I need help for my Beaverhead County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Beaverhead County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Beaverhead County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

What happens in Beaverhead County at an arraignment?

In Beaverhead County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

Plea Agreements

A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Beaverhead County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.

Beaverhead County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Beaverhead County will take place at the Beaverhead County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Beaverhead County Criminal Court Locations.

Jury Deliberations in Beaverhead County

In Beaverhead County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Beaverhead County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Can I appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.

Beaverhead County Criminal Court Locations

  • Beaverhead County District Court – 5th Judicial District

    Address: 2 South Pacific Street, Dillon, MT 59725
    Phone: 406-683-3725 Fax: 406-683-3728

  • Beaverhead County Justice Court

    Address: 2 South Pacific Street, Dillon, MT 59725
    Phone: 406-683-3755 Fax: 406-683-3736

  • Dillon City Court

    Address: 31 East Center Street, Dillon, MT 59725
    Phone: 406-683-6690 Fax: 406-683-6371

  • Lima City Court

    Address: PO Box 184, Lima, MT 59739
    Phone: 406-683-6690

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