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Your Day In Court

An information guide provided for you by Glendive City Court

 

So you got a ticket…

Now what?  The police officer has issued you a ticket, formally called a Notice to Appear and Complaint.  This complaint outlines the charge(s) alleged against you.  On the left side of the ticket, the officer assigned a date for your appearance in Glendive City Court.  You are expected to appear on or before this date.  Failure to appear may result in the suspension of your Driver’s License and/or a warrant for your arrest.  If the assigned date is inconvenient, you may call (406) 377-3131 to see if you are able to reschedule.  Your court date may only be rescheduled one time.  If you have posted a bond, you may not reschedule your court date – you must appear or your bond will be forfeited, a warrant for your arrest will be issued and your driving privilege will be suspended.  Please note that the Court only holds hearings on citations Mondays at 2:00 p.m. and Thursdays at 9:00 a.m.

 

 What is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is an offense punishable by no more than one (1) year in jail and no more than a $1,000 fine.  Most of the charges filed in this court carry a maximum penalty of six (6) months in jail and a $500 fine.  There may be other collateral penalties associated with your charge such as loss of driving privilege,  ACT/Prime For Life classes, Minor in Possession classes, community service, etc.  The Judge will inform you of the minimum and maximum penalties for your specific charge(s) when you appear in court.  Convictions for traffic violations are reported to the Montana Department of Justice – Motor Vehicle Division.

 

Can I just pay the fine? 

It may be possible for you to pay the fine without appearing before the Judge.  For information on paying a fine or making payments on a fine without appearing before the Judge, please call (406) 377-3131 to see if you are eligible.

 Certain offenses can be paid by mail.  Again, please call the court first to see if you are eligible.

 To mail payment, send personal check (Montana bank only) or money order to:
            Glendive City Court
            300 S Merrill Ave
           Glendive, MT 59330

 Please write your ticket number on your payment or enclose a copy of the ticket.

 You may also pay by credit or debit card in person or online at www.citepayusa.com.  Please note that a 5% convenience fee will be charged by the processing company.

 

                                   Going to Court

Glendive City Court is located at 300 S Merrill Avenue in the City Hall building.  We are the first door to the left as you walk in the main door.

When you appear, please check in with the Court Clerk immediately upon your arrival.  The Court sees cases on a first-come, first-serve basis; however minors or those with attorneys present may be called upon first.  Please arrive a few minutes early to fill out paperwork.

Do not bring weapons of any kind to court.  As you enter you will be expected to turn off cell phones, pagers, and any other electronic devices, as well as remove your hats.  No food, beverages or large bags/purses will be allowed inside.  Please have someone available to watch young children as they can be disruptive to court proceedings.  Dress appropriately:  no shorts, no tank-tops, no clothing with explicit or lewd wording/pictures, no pajamas, no extremely ripped or torn clothing, etc. – you may be asked to leave if you are not dressed appropriately.

 

Courtroom Procedures 

When in the courtroom, please sit quietly and wait for your turn to be called.  We ask that you please be patient as some days the docket (schedule) is quite extensive.  As a courtesy, the court tries to arraign Juveniles first in an effort to get them back to school.  If you have special needs, please notify the Clerk so we can accommodate you.

When the Judge calls your name, stand before the Judge and wait until asked to be seated.  Only you, the defendant, and/or counsel may approach to speak to the Judge.  If you are under 18 years old, you must bring a parent or guardian with you.

Please be respectful to the Judge and court clerks at all times. 

 

What is an Initial Appearance/Arraignment?

Your first appearance in court is commonly called an Initial Appearance or Arraignment.  This is the time when you are informed of the charge(s) against you.  This is when you are also given the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.  This is not the time for you to bring evidence or witnesses to testify.

If you plead not guilty, the Court will set a date to return for a Pre-Trial Hearing.  The Court may also set a bond amount.  Bond guarantees your appearance at future court proceedings.  If you are found not guilty, your bond will be returned.  If you are found guilty, the bond may be used toward any fines or restitution you receive as part of your sentence.  Cash or surety bonds will be accepted.

 

 Entering a Plea

You have the right to consult an attorney before entering a plea.  The Court may appoint an attorney for you if you cannot afford one and you would receive jail if convicted.  The Judge will ask how you would like to plead.  You have the following options:
               
          
Not Guilty – You are denying every material allegation of the charge.  Do not explain any of the circumstances to the Judge at this time.

            Guilty – You are admitting guilt and may explain the circumstances.  After being sworn in, you will need to say what it is that makes you guilty.  The Judge will usually sentence you immediately unless you need additional time or the Judge requires additional information.