Williams County Criminal Court

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

I need help for my Williams County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Williams County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Williams County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Williams County Criminal Court

Williams County Criminal Court

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.

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.

Prosecutor in Williams County

In Williams County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Williams County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent North Dakota. For the most part, the prosecutor in Williams County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Williams County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Williams County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

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.

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.

Sentencing in Williams County

In Williams 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.

Required Court Appearances in Williams County

Any required court appearances in Williams 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.

Jury Deliberations in Williams County

In Williams 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.

Williams County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Williams County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Williams 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 Williams 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.

Williams County Criminal Court Locations

  • Williams County District Court

    Address: 205 E Broadway, PO Box 2047, Williston ND 58802
    Phone: 701-774-4374 Fax: 701-774-4379

  • Epping Municipal Court

    Address: 20 Winther St, Ray ND 58849
    Phone: 701-568-3529

  • Grenora Municipal Court

    Address: PO Box 203, Grenora ND 58845
    Phone: 701-694-3844

  • Ray Municipal Court

    Address: 20 Winther St, Ray ND 58849
    Phone: 701-568-3529

  • Spring Brook Municipal Court

    Address: 20 Winther St, Ray ND 58849
    Phone: 701-568-3529

  • Tioga Municipal Court

    Address: 12 1st St NE, PO Box 218, Tioga ND 58852
    Phone: 701-664-2807 Fax: 701-664-2543

  • Wildrose Municipal Court

    Address: 20 Winther St, Ray ND 58849
    Phone: 701-568-3529

  • Williston Municipal Court

    Address: 22 E Broadway, PO Box 1306, Williston ND 58802
    Phone: 701-577-8100 Fax: 701-577-8880

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