Silver Bow County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Silver Bow County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Silver Bow County.
Who can help me in Silver Bow County?
For general information about your case the Silver Bow 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.
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.
In a jury trial in Silver Bow 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.
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.
Arraignments in Silver Bow County
During an arraignment in Silver Bow 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 Silver Bow 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 Silver Bow County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Silver Bow County Required Court Appearances
In Silver Bow 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.
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.
Prosecutor in Silver Bow County
In Silver Bow County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Silver Bow County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Montana. For the most part, the prosecutor in Silver Bow County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Silver Bow County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Silver Bow County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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 Silver Bow 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.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Silver Bow County Criminal Court Locations
Butte-Silver Bow County District Court – 2nd Judicial Circuit
Address: 155 West Granite Street, Room 313, Butte, MT 59701
Phone: 406-497-6395 Fax: 406-497-6366
Butte-Silver Bow County Justice Court
Address: 155 West Granite Street, Room 314, Butte, MT 59701
Phone: 406-497-6390 Fax: 405-497-6468
Butte City Court
Address: 155 West Granite Street, Room 305, Butte, MT 59701
Phone: 406-497-6395 or 406-497-6365 Fax: 406-497-6366