Justice Courts

Silver Bow County Justice Court is constitutionally entrusted to preserve the rule of law and to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the United States and Montana Constitutions. 

We are dedicated to providing professional, accurate, and courteous services to the State of Montana, its citizenry while applying judicious justice under the law.

Department Overview

The court currently has two elected Justices of the Peace serving four-year terms as set forth in the Montana Codes Annotated.

The Silver Bow County Justice Courts, Department 1 and Department 2, are each administered by a full-time Justice of the Peace/Judge. These two courts have a dedicated staff and provide an effective and efficient court system for the residents of Silver Bow County. The Justice Court is divided into three divisions: Criminal, Civil and Small Claims. Each Justice Court handles all divisions. Below is a brief overview of each of the divisions: 

The criminal division handles citations issued by the Montana Highway Patrol, Fish and Game, Airport and the Department of Transportation. The Court is also responsible for seeing people making their initial appearance on felony charges. The Justice Court may also issue a search warrant.

The civil division handles actions involving personal or property damages, contract disputes; the recovery of personal property, the civil division of the Justice Court also handles orders of protections, landlord/tenant disputes and contract disputes. The amount in dispute cannot exceed $12,000.

The small claims division handles contracts involving the recovery of money, recovery specific personal property, and interpleader. The amount in controversy, or the value of the property, cannot exceed $7,000.00. Counterclaims cannot exceed $6,500.00.
 The justice court does not have jurisdiction which involves the title or possession of real property or the legality of any tax. 

 While the Justice Court clerks are pleased to assist you in any way possible, please understand that we are unable to provide legal advice. If you need legal advice or have questions, please contact an attorney. 

Activities

The activities of the office are:

  • Civil jurisdiction action if the sum claim is between $7,000 to $12,000
  • Concurrent jurisdiction with the District Court
  • Small claims action for amounts from $3,000 to $7,000
  • Jurisdiction over forcible entry
  • Unlawful detainment and residential landlord-tenant disputes

Criminal Jurisdiction

The office has criminal jurisdiction for:

  • Misdemeanors not exceeding $500 or one year incarceration
  • Fish and game statutes
  • Concurrent jurisdiction with district court for misdemeanors
  • Examining and committing courts for preliminary hearings

Department Goals

  • To increase the quality of services through education, training, and technology. 
  •  Ensure staff is helpful, friendly, and accurate in their dealings with the public. 
  •  More efficient use of video arraignments. 
  •  Increase training for department. 
  •  Move forward in implementing technology into the courts’ operations as it becomes feasible and applicable. 
  •  Continue success with the implementation of the following programs: 
  •  Order of Protection service 
  •  Overdue Processing 
  •  Online Citation payments 
  •  Expansion of DUI Court
  • Increased revenue of previous collection cases of debt that are 5 years old. 

Fees and Payment of Fines

  • Payments can be made at the Justice Court office : Room 305, 155 W. Granite Street, Butte, MT 59701, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Check or cash only (or pay online at CitePayUSA.com with VISA, MasterCard, Discover, Debit Card or echeck)

Courtroom Standards

No weapons are allowed in the courthouse and there is no smoking in the courthouse. There is no eating, drinking, chewing tobacco or gum allowed in the courtroom. Backpacks are not allowed in the courtroom. All beepers, cellular telephones, and electronic devices MUST be turned off before entering the Justice Court offices. Proper courtroom attire is required. Hats should be removed before entering the courtroom and the Judge Chambers.

 Pay Online

  Alternatively, secure payments can be made online at:

  • www.citepayusa.com
  • Select "Montana" from the drop down list
  • Under "Please select a court", select Butte Justice Court
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your payment