Gallatin County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Gallatin County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Gallatin County.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Prosecutor in Gallatin County
In Gallatin County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Gallatin County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Montana. For the most part, the prosecutor in Gallatin County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
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 Gallatin 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.
Who can help me in Gallatin County?
For general information about your case the Gallatin County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Required Court Appearances in Gallatin County
Any required court appearances in Gallatin County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
In a jury trial in Gallatin County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
Arraignments in Gallatin County
During an arraignment in Gallatin County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Gallatin County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Gallatin County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Gallatin County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Gallatin County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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 Gallatin County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Gallatin County Criminal Court Locations
Gallatin County District Court – 18th Judicial District
Address: 615 South 16th Avenue, Room 302, Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: 406-582-2165 Fax: 406-582-2176
Gallatin County Justice Court
Address: 615 South 16th Avenue, Room 168, Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: 406-582-2191 Fax: 406-582-2163
Belgrade City Court
Address: 91 East Central, Belgrade, MT 59714
Phone: 406-388-3774 Fax: 406-388-3779
Manhattan City Court
Address: 120 West Main, PO Box 96, Manhattan, MT 59741
Phone: 406-284-3235 Fax: 406-284-6363
Three Forks City Court
Address: 206 Main Street, PO Box 187, Three Forks, MT 59752
Phohe: 406-285-3444 Fax: 406-285-3431
West Yellowstone City Court
Address: 220 Yellowstone Avenue, PO Box 1570, West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Phone: 406-646-7845 Fax: 406-646-7311
Bozeman Municipal Court
Address: 615 South 16th Avenue, Room 123, Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: 406-582-2040 Fax: 406-582-2041