Lincoln County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Lincoln County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Lincoln County.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
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 Lincoln County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Where can I get help for my Lincoln County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Lincoln County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
Who is the prosecutor for Lincoln County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Lincoln County criminal cases will either be a representative of Lincoln County or a representative from Montana. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Where will Lincoln County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Lincoln County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Lincoln County.
Arraignments in Lincoln County
During an arraignment in Lincoln 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 Lincoln 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 Lincoln County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
In a jury trial in Lincoln 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.
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.
Sentencing in Lincoln County
In Lincoln 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Lincoln County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Lincoln County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Lincoln County Criminal Court Locations
Lincoln County District Court – 19th Judicial District
Address: 512 California Avenue, Libby, MT 59923
Phone: 406-283-2342 Fax: 406-283-2350
Lincoln County Justice Court
Address: 418 Mineral Avenue, Libby, MT 59923
Phone: 406-283-2412 Fax: 406-293-5948
Eureka City Court
Address: PO Box 313, Eureka, MT 59917
Phone: 406-297-2123 Fax: 406-296-2555
Libby City Court
Address: 952 East Spruce Street, PO Box 1428, Libby, MT 59923
Phone: 406-293-4440 Fax: 406-293-4090
Troy City Court
Address: 301 East Kootenai Avenue, PO Box 823, Troy, MT 59933
Phone: 406-295-4151 Fax: 406-295-4540