McLean County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in McLean County. See below for more information about criminal cases in McLean County.
Required Court Appearances in McLean County
Any required court appearances in McLean 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.
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 McLean County
In McLean County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing McLean County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent North Dakota. For the most part, the prosecutor in McLean County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Jury Deliberations in McLean County
In McLean 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.
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.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
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 McLean County
During an arraignment in McLean 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 McLean 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 McLean County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Who can help me in McLean County?
For general information about your case the McLean 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.
McLean County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in McLean County will take place at the McLean County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the McLean County Criminal Court Locations.
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 McLean County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
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.
McLean County Criminal Court Locations
McLean County District Court
Address: 712 5th Ave, PO Box 1108, Washburn ND 58577
Phone 701-462-8541 Fax: 701-468-8212
Garrison Municipal Court
Address: 657 Washington Dr, Garrison ND 58540
Max Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 116, Max ND 58759
Phone: 701-679-2770 Fax: 701-679-2700
Riverdale Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 507, Riverdale ND 58565
Phone: 701-654-7636 Fax: 701-654-7423
Turtle Lake Municipal Court
Address: 525 Walnut St, Turtle Lake ND 58575
Underwood Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 168, Underwood ND 58576
Phone: 701-442-5481 Fax: 701-442-5481
Washburn Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 542, Washburn ND 58577
Wilton Municipal Court
Address: 604 Dakota Ave, Wilton ND 58579