Procedure at a Criminal Bench Trial

Municipal Court

There are two types of trials available for misdemeanor B cases, jury or bench.


JURY TRIAL: Williston Municipal Court does not conduct jury trials.  If a request for jury trial is submitted by the defendant within 28 days of their plea of not guilty, the case will be transferred to Williams County District Court.  The City of Williston continues to prosecute the case in front of a district court judge and a jury of 6 peers.  All scheduling is handled by district court.  The final decision is up to the jury.  If no request is submitted within the 28 day timeframe, the option for jury trial is waived per state statue.


BENCH TRIAL: All bench trials are held in Williston Municipal Court at 1:30pm in Courtroom 119A.  The City of Williston is the plaintiff, the person named in the citation or complaint is the defendant.  Both the city and defendant may subpoena witnesses for the trial and both parties may cross-examine these witnesses.  In a criminal case the defendant cannot be compelled to testify, however if the do, the city attorney may cross-examine.  Any evidence that is presented must stay within the courts possession.  The final decision is up to the judge.


In criminal cases, the City of Williston must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the defendant is found guilty during a bench trial, and wishes to appeal it may be submitted within 30 days of the judgment to the Williston Municipal Court.