Criminal Procedure

Criminal Offenses

The defendant must appear to be advised of their rights and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Resources & Information

The following information relates specifically to criminal offenses classified as class B misdemeanors or infractions.
  • Plea of guilty

    - The judge will impose sentence immediately.
  • Plea of not guilty

    - After a not guilty plea is entered, a trial date is scheduled. The judge may require a bond.
  • Procedure at trial

    - The City of Bismarck is the plaintiff. The person named in the citation or complaint is the defendant. The city prosecutor will subpoena the city’s witnesses to appear at the time scheduled for the hearing. The defendant also has the opportunity to subpoena, present witnesses, and present evidence at the hearing. The prosecutor and defendant have the opportunity to cross-examine anyone who testifies.
  • Public Defender

    - Provides legal counsel for indigent defense services. Travis W. Finck, supervising attorney, 701-328- 7190. Frequently asked questions.

  • Burden of proof

    - In criminal cases and infractions the City of Bismarck must prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Appointed counsel

    - A defendant charged with a criminal offense may be entitled to the services of a public defender if the defendant is determined to be indigent. To apply for appointed counsel, a defendant must submit an application containing financial information to the judge at the initial court appearance. The application is available at the Municipal Court.
  • Appeal process

    - If found guilty after trial in Municipal Court, the defendant has the right to appeal to District Court for a new trial without a jury. A defendant has 30 days to file an appeal.
  • Jury trial

    - There is no jury trial in Municipal Court. A defendant charged with a criminal offense is entitled to a jury trial. If a defendant wants a jury trial, it must be requested in writing within 28 days of the not guilty plea. If the defendant does request a jury trial the case is transferred to the District Court for a jury. If no request is made in the 28 day period, the jury trial is waived and the trial is held in Municipal Court. If found guilty at that trial, the defendant has the right to appeal to the District Court for a new trial, but without a jury.