Municipal Court FAQs
- I have a ticket, do I have to see the Judge?
01/10/2022 - Please note: due to changes made by a vendor that supports Montana courts' software, charges that have been available to pay online at citepayusa.com in the past may now require Defendants to speak with a Judge or Traffic Bureau Settlement Master before the balance can be addressed at Citepay. Citations may still be paid by mail if the charge(s) do not require a personal appearance. This situation is not expected to be permanent but may take some time to resolve. Please call the court if you have any questions regarding your options. Thank you.
Many tickets can be paid on-line at CITEPAYUSA [https://www.citepayusa.com/payments/welcome.do] or paid at the counter without waiting to see the Judge. Please call 406-552-6180 to verify if your citation can be paid without a court appearance.
- How can I get my conviction expunged or removed from my record?
Missoula Municipal Court does not have the power to expunge a conviction. The legislature has granted that authority exclusively to District Courts. If your sentence was deferred at the time it was pronounced AND you have successfully completed all conditions of the sentence, the Court can dismiss the charge and seal your cause number. What that means is that the public does not have access to the details of the conviction and your criminal record will state that the charge has been dismissed. If you believe you meet both of these conditions, then you should file a Motion to Dismiss with the court. This request will be denied if the Court finds that you (1) did not complete all conditions of your sentence on time; (2) if you had a new charge during the time the deferred sentence was running or (3) if the time for deferment has not expired. If you did not receive a deferred sentence and believe your conviction should be taken off your record, you may be best served by consulting an attorney.
- What are points and what is this ticket going to do to my driving record or my insurance rates?
The Montana Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) assigns points to convictions for traffic offenses. Municipal Court is required to report all convictions to the DMV. On receipt of notice that an individual has a conviction, the DMV will place points on your record. If you accumulate too many points on your record, you could lose your driving privileges. Each insurance company has different methods of determining your insurance rates. Many base some rate changes on the points the DMV places on your driving record. You can check your driver’s license status with the DMV to find out how many points you have with the DMV [https://dojmt.gov/driving/driving-records/]. Some of the more common points include: DUI = 10 points Driving While Suspended = 6 points Reckless Driving = 5 points No Insurance = 4 points Speeding = 3 points Careless Driving = 2 points Moving Violations = 2 points
- Is there any way I can keep this ticket off of my record?
The Court is required to report every traffic conviction to the Montana Department of Motor Vehicles. In limited circumstances, the Court does have the ability to “defer sentence” on traffic offenses. A deferred sentence would allow you to request the points be removed from your record after the period of deferment has ended. The Court will not defer a ticket if (1) you have had any other traffic ticket in the last 5 years; (2) you have gotten another traffic ticket deferred in the last 5 years; or (3) you failed to appear on your ticket within the time set for appearance. Some tickets, including DUI, HTO, Driving While Suspended or No Insurance tickets can never be deferred. PLEASE NOTE: Under Federal Law the Court cannot defer your ticket if you have a CDL.
- How do I get my ticket dismissed?
A ticket can be dismissed at trial, by motion of the City Attorney’s Office or by motion supported by legal authority which has been properly served on the City Attorney. The Court will not dismiss your ticket based on your explanation about what happened without allowing the City Attorney’s Office to be heard and present witnesses.
- I can’t afford an attorney and don’t qualify for a public defender, can I represent myself?
Many people represent themselves and many people do so successfully. Please visit our Self Help section for information on hearings and trials as well as some forms you may find helpful. However, if you are charged with something that may involve a jail sentence, you should consider this option carefully. There can be risks associated with self-representation and you should be aware that some offenses in Municipal Court can have unexpected long term consequences on gun rights or driving privileges. The Court will try to answer any procedural questions you have during the process, but the Court cannot tell you how to proceed nor can it give you any legal advice. You will be expected to conduct yourself appropriately and understand the basic rules of evidence and procedure.
- What court do I go to?
If you received a ticket from a city police officer (blue uniform), you need to appear in Municipal Court located in City Hall at 435 Ryman. If you received a ticket from a sheriff's deputy or highway patrol (brown uniform), you need to appear in Justice Court located in the County Courthouse at 200 W. Broadway.
- I've been assigned to perform community service. What do I do?
Contact the community service program at 2350 Mullan Road. Phone 406-541-9200.
- I've been ordered to complete a treatment program as part of my sentence. Can I have an extension to get enrolled or complete my treatment program?
If you have received a notice of Imminent Driver's License Suspension related to non compliance with court ordered treatment programs, you may appear before a judge within the 15 days the letter provides to request an extension. If your license is already suspended for failing to comply the judge cannot give you more time. If the court sends notice that an Order to Show Cause Hearing has been set regarding noncompliance with court ordered treatment, you must appear for that hearing where you will have an opportunity to provide explanation to the judge and the judge can order new dates for enrollment or completion of treatment programs.
- I've been assigned to complete a treatment program. Can I complete my court ordered treatment in another state or city in Montana?
A local court in the state you reside in may be able to advise you where you can complete treatment (MDD/ACT classes must be completed with a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). For providers outside of Missoula but in Montana use this link to obtain provider information: http://dphhs.mt.gov/amdd/SubstanceAbuse.aspx. You'll need to provide the court with the following information: The name address and phone of the program. Municipal court staff will send a referral to the program. The treatment program must be approved by the State of Montana and Municipal Court or it will not count toward completing the requirements the judge has ordered.
- I think there may be a warrant out for my arrest. How can I get a warrant to go away?
If you have a warrant you may have to appear in front of a Judge unless the charge is one that does not require appearance. If that is the case you may forfeit bond at the counter if you are prepared to pay in full or send a check or money order for the full amount. Please call the court to determine what your options are. If there is a warrant out for your arrest and you have contact with law enforcement, you may be arrested and taken to jail.
- I'm supposed to appear in court today, but I can't make it. Do I have to appear?
Yes. You must appear when required. Failure to appear will result in a warrant for your arrest and may cause your privilege to drive to be suspended until you appear. The failure to appear could also affect any future sentence.
- The judge ordered restitution to me. When will I get that money?
The court mails payments as it collects the money from the person ordered to pay restitution. An order of restitution does not guarantee that the court will be able to collect on your behalf.
- My driver's license was suspended. How do I get it back?
You will need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and find out why your license was suspended. If your license was suspended by Missoula Municipal Court for non-compliance or failure to appear you must come to the Court to address it. After you have taken care of the non-compliance, by appearing and bringing yourself into compliance, you will need to get a reinstatement from the DMV.
- Do I have to accompany my child to court?
Yes. All minors (under the age of 18) must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians. A parent or legal guardian cannot enter a plea for a minor.