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If the charge you are faced with meets certain criteria, you may be appointed a public defender by the Office of the State Public Defender. When you appear in front of the judge and enter a not guilty plea, the judge will ask if you would like to apply for a public defender.
You may be required to pay for your representation by the public defender's office.
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Justice Court has appearances Monday through Friday at 9 am The issuing agency will write an appearance date on your ticket 10 days from when you were issued the ticket.'
Once all walk-in appearances are done, the court then begins arraignments for those in the custody of the Big Horn County Detention Facility
We are closed on all major holidays.
Some offenses are mandatory appearances before the judge. The judge will ask you to enter a plea. If you plead guilty, the judge will sentence you. You must explain to the judge why you are guilty. A guilty plea will not be accepted by the judge if your explanations do not support the guilty plea.
If you plead not guilty your case will be set for trial. The judge will advise you of your hearing dates. Non-Jury and jury trials are set about 4 months from your appearance. A no-contest plea can only be entered with the approval of the prosecution and the judge.
A jury trial in Justice Court consists of 6 residents of the county randomly selected. All 6 jurors must agree if you are guilty or not guilty. Upon conviction, court may assess jury costs and witness fees.
A non-jury is before the judge. The judge determines whether you are guilty or not guilty.
In both a jury and a non-jury trial, the verdict must be based upon a finding of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A pretrial between the prosecutor and defendant to discuss and consider matters related to the discovery of evidence procedure and pre-trial motions. Settlement of the case can be considered by the parties at the omnibus hearing.
After the entry of a guilty plea or verdict, you may require a deferred sentence. You cannot condition a guilty plea upon receiving a deferred sentence. The granting of a deferred sentence is at the discretion of the judge. The judge will take into consideration: the offense you are charged with, driving history, whether or not the citation was the result of an accident involving damage to property or injury to a person, whether you have received a deferred sentence in the past. If you have a CDL (Commercial Driver License) a deferred sentence may not be granted.
Insurance companies have access to your driving record and make their own decisions on how traffic offenses will affect your rates. We have no input or control on what insurance companies will do.
Assessment, Course, and Treatment (ACT). It is a state-approved program required by Montana law for those convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI or DUI per se).
A first offense DUI or Per Se offender must have the approval of the court, be enrolled in ACT, and have a valid Montana driver license. You are required to pay a $200 reinstatement fee to the Records and Driver Control Bureau.
A person with 2 or more DUI offenses must wait 45/90 days respectively, have the court's approval, and apply directly to the Records and Driver Control Bureau. In addition to other strict conditions, the person is required to be in compliance with the court order and complete alcohol and drug treatment.
Contact Records and Driver Bureau for more information.
Records and Driver Control Bureau303 North RobertsHelena, MT 59601Phone: 406-444-3289
A person who is suspended for failure to appear, failure to pay fines, or failure to comply with the sentence is unable to get a work permit. You will need to contact the court that requested your driving privileges be suspended. If you aren't sure, call 406-444-3289
When the court sent a Fail to Pay, Fail to Appear, or Fail to Comply Notice for not making a payment on time, not appearing in court, or not complying with a requirement of your sentence, the notice warns of pending suspension if you do not pay your fine or see the judge by a prescribed date. The warning states, "All delinquent payments (etc.) must be made immediately or a warrant of arrest may be issued and your driver's license will be suspended." If you are suspended, you will be required to pay a $100 reinstatement fee to the Records and Driver Control Bureau before reinstatement.
Big Horn Country Justice CourtP.O. Box 908Hardin, MT 59034