Our mission is to serve the community and protect individual rights by providing prompt and fair administration of justice. Butte City court handles traffic citations, misdemeanor criminal cases and city ordinance violations.
HOURS OF OPERATION
The court is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday-Friday). Fines can be paid between 8:15 am to 4:45 pm.
Open court is held Monday-Friday at 9:00 a.m. You must check in between 8:15 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. in order to attend Open Court.
Omnibus Hearings, Final Pre-Trial Hearings, Motion Hearings, Change of Plea Hearings, and Sentencing Hearings are scheduled by the Court.
Judge and Jury trials are held Monday-Friday.
Prisoner arraignments from court room via video from the Butte Detention Center:
- Mondays: 10:15 am
- Tuesdays: 10:15am
- Wednesdays: 1:00 pm
- Thursdays: 1:30 pm
- Fridays: 10:15 am
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A TICKET?
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 Butte City Court. You are expected to appear on the assigned date between 8:15 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. to register for open court. Open Court begins at 9:00 a.m. each morning, Monday-Friday. Failure to appear will result in a warrant for your arrest. If the assigned date is inconvenient, you may call (406) 497-6365 to reschedule.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A MISDEMEANOR OFFENSE?
All criminal cases filed in Butte City Court are misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is an offense punishable by or no more than 1 year in jail and no more than a $1,500 fine. Most of the charges filed in this court carry a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. 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.
It may be possible for you to pay the fine without appearing before the Judge. For information on paying a fine without appearing before the Judge, call (406) 497-6365.
Certain offenses can be paid by mail. However, because of penalties required, you may not mail in payment if you have a “must appear” charge. Please call the court to inquire if you charge is a must appear.
To mail payment, send a check or money order to:
Butte City Court
155 West Granite Street- #305
Butte, MT 59701
Please write your ticket number on your payment or enclose a copy of the ticket.
Butte City Court is located on the third floor, room 305, of the Butte-Silver Bow County Courthouse.
COURTROOM ETIQUETTE AND INFORMATION
When in the courtroom, please sit quietly and wait your turn to be called. Please turn off cell phones and remove your hat. We ask that you please be patient. The court will 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, go to the front of the courtroom and stand before the Judge. Only you, the defendant, and/or counsel may approach the bench. If you are under 18 years old, you must bring a parent or guardian with you.
Your first appearance in court is commonly called an arraignment. This is the time when you are informed of the charges against you. This time is also when you are given the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty of 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 omnibus hearing or final pre-trial hearing. The Court will also set bond. Bond guarantees your appearance at future court proceedings. If you are found not guilty, your cash 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.
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 you 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 circumstance to the Judge at this time. If you enter a not guilty plea, you may have the opportunity to immediately talk with the County Attorney about your case and work out a pre-trial disposition agreement. If the case is not resolved, you will receive a date to return to court for a pre-trial omnibus hearing.
- Guilty – You are admitting guilt and may explain the circumstances. You will need to say what it is that makes you guilty. The Judge will usually sentence you immediately unless you need additional time.
- No Contest – (nolo contendre) – You are not admitting guilt or fault but you feel, after considering the evidence, that you could be found guilty if you went to trial and you feel it is in your best interest to enter this plea. The Court must find evidence sufficient to establish a given fact (prima facie) to support the plea. The County Attorney must also agree to this plea.
Detention – The Judge has sentence you to serve time in jail.
Suspended sentence – The Judge has sentenced you to incarceration but suspended it on certain conditions. If these conditions are met, no detention would be served. This charge will go on your criminal record. If these conditions are not met, the County Attorney may petition the Court to revoke the suspended sentence and ask that you serve out a portion or the entire jail sentence. You would first be entitled to a hearing.
Deferred sentence – The Judge has given you a period of time to complete certain conditions prior to imposition of sentence. If the conditions are met, the sentence will not be imposed. The charge will be dismissed and will not be reported to the Department of Justice. If the conditions are not met, the County Attorney may petition the Court to revoke the deferral and full sentencing could take place.
Fine payments – The Judge may give you the opportunity to make monthly payments toward your fine. You will set up a payment plan at the clerk’s office immediately after you see the Judge. The Court accepts payment of fines by case, check, money order, cashier’s check, VISA, and Master Card. If you ever have trouble making these payments, contact the Court for an extension. You may also work off a fine on community service. Failure to make payments may result in suspension of your Driver’s license and a warrant for your arrest. Failure to complete community service will result in a warrant and jail time.
JURY DUTY INFORMATION
Jury duty is not only a privilege and an honor; it is also a civic duty. Any citizen that has a Montana driver's license, State issued ID, and/or is a registered voter maybe selected for Jury Duty. If you have received notice for Jury Duty and are not able to participate please complete the AFFIDAVIT TO CLAIM EXCUSE FOR JURY DUTY form (with notary) and submit it to the court. This form can be obtained from the City Court office.
Butte City Court
Butte-Silver Bow County Courthouse
155 West Granite Street #305
Butte, MT 59701
CITY COURT RECORDS REQUEST
The Butte City Court can provide court records upon written request. Fees do apply, please see below. The Court will provide records request for Government Agencies free of charge.
Any requests for records from City Court must be submitted with a records request form. This form can be obtained from the City Court Office. Most records in our court are public record.
FEES: A required $10.00 Search Fee per Name (Regardless of Results) must be Paid before any action will be taken
- General Copies ($1/page)
- Certified Copies ($2/page)
Alternatively, secure payments can be made online at:
- Cite Pay Usa website
- Select 'Montana' from the dropdown list.
- Under 'Choose what to pay' select 'Pay a citation, fine or court fee.'
- Under 'Please select a court' select 'Butte City Court.'
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your payment.