Justice Court

Justice Court

The Justice of the Peace for Lewis and Clark County is Michael G. Swingley.

  • Office hours of the court are 8:00 a.m. to  4:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.
  • Initial appearances for citations and other criminal matters are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • If you have been issued a citation by an officer, have received a notice by mail of a pending criminal case or been served with a notice to appear, you must appear before the court on the date and time specified.
  • Prisoners that are in custody in the Lewis and Clark Detention Center make their initial appearance in court via closed circuit television at 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • If you have been served with a summons in a civil case, the summons with which you were served gives you instructions that you must follow with regard to filing an answer and the payment of fees.

Justice Court is the judicial branch of County government responsible for the processing of all misdemeanor offenses, both traffic, criminal and animal control violations that occur within Lewis and Clark County. It is the court wherein nearly all felony cases that occur within Lewis and Clark County are initially filed. Justice Court processes citations issued by;

  • Montana Highway Patrol
  • Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office;
  • Montana Fish , Wildlife and Parks Department
  • Motor Carrier Services of the Department of Transportation
  • Lewis and Clark County Animal Control Officer
  • State Department of Livestock
  • State Gambling Control Division
  • and in some cases the Helena Police Department.

Justice Court also processes civil complaints. Effective July 1, 2011 justice courts jurisdictional limits are not to exceed $12,000.00 and small claims complaints are not to exceed $7,000.00. Justice Court issues orders of protection and search warrants. The court provides an initial appearance to persons arrested on warrants from outside Lewis and Clark County and to persons arrested for probation violations. The justice of the peace is authorized to perform marriages.

Justice of the Peace Contact Information:

Justice of the Peace
Michael G. Swingley

Clerk of Justice Court

Mailing Address:
228 Broadway, Room 102
Helena, Montana, 59601

Civil/Small Claims matters: 406-447-8201

Criminal matters: 406-447-8202

Fax number: 406-447-8269