Musselshell County Criminal Court

Musselshell County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Musselshell County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Musselshell County.

Where can I get help for my Musselshell 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 Musselshell 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.

Musselshell County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Musselshell County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Musselshell County. The Musselshell County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.

Musselshell County Criminal Court

Musselshell County Criminal Court

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 Musselshell County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Musselshell County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Musselshell County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Musselshell County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Musselshell County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

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.

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 Musselshell 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.

Musselshell County Criminal Court hearings

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

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.

Required Court Appearances in Musselshell County

Any required court appearances in Musselshell 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.

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.

Defendant Sentencing

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.

Jury Deliberations in Musselshell County

In Musselshell 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.

Musselshell County Criminal Court Locations

  • Musselshell County District Court – 14th Judicial District

    Address: 506 Main Street, Roundup, MT 59072
    Phone: 406-323-1413 Fax: 406-323-1710

  • Musselshell County Justice Court

    Address: 34 Third Avenue West, PO Box 660, Roundup, MT 59072
    Phone: 406-323-1078 Fax: 406-323-1734

  • Melstone City Court

    Address: 34 3rd Avenue West, PO Box 660, Roundup, MT 59072
    Phone: 406-323-1078 Fax: 406-323-1734

  • Roundup City Court

    Address: 34 3rd Avenue West, PO Box 660, Roundup, MT 59072
    Phone: 406-323-1078 Fax: 406-323-1734

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