OMNIBUS HEARINGS DEFENDANTS REPRESENTED BY AN ATTORNEY

Omnibus Hearings in Helena Municipal Court are held every Wednesday.  If you have are assigned a Public Defender, your hearing will be held at 11:00 a.m.  If you have hired your own private counsel, your hearing will be held at 1:00 p.m. *If you fail to appear for the omnibus hearing, you will waive your right to request a trial by jury.

The Omnibus Hearing is scheduled out five (5) weeks in order to give both parties time to prepare.  You will receive notice of this date, in person, prior to leaving your initial appearance.  The Omnibus Hearing will take between 15 and 30 minutes.  If you have a conflict with the date scheduled, you need to notify your attorney as soon as possible, so they have time to file a Motion to Continue along with Waiver of Speedy Trial with the Court no later than five (5) days before the date of the hearing. 

In order to ensure your omnibus hearing is as efficient as possible, you will want to have met with your attorney PRIOR to the court date to discuss your case and options as to how to proceed.  Your attorney can appear on your behalf without you present at the Omnibus Hearing UNLESS you will be requesting a jury trial.  You must appear, in person, with your attorney in order to request the Court set a jury trial for your case.

You will receive a notice in the mail of your next court date approximately 1-2 weeks following your omnibus hearing, so make sure that your mailing address is kept current with the Court and your attorney at all times!

OMNIBUS HEARINGS PRO SE DEFENDANTS (no attorney)

Omnibus Hearings in Helena Municipal Court are held every Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. and are MANDATORY appearances!  *If you fail to appear for the omnibus hearing, a warrant for your arrest will be issued and your driving privileges will be suspended for Fail to Appear.

The Omnibus Hearing is scheduled out five (5) weeks in order to give both parties time to prepare.  You will receive notice of this date, in person, prior to leaving your initial appearance.  The Omnibus Hearing will take between 15 and 30 minutes.  If you have a conflict with the date scheduled, you must follow the instructions on your Omnibus Hearing Notice you received from the Court – “A continuance of the omnibus hearing will only be considered upon receipt of a written request for continuance along with a waiver of speedy trial, filed with the Court no later than five (5) days before the date of the hearing.

The purpose of the omnibus hearing is to assure that all parties are prepared to go on to trial, if necessary, and to discuss alternate means of settling the dispute at an early stage of the proceedings.  The omnibus hearing is a hearing ordered by the court and held in the courtroom to have a face to face discussion of the issues of the case.

Omnibus hearings include full “discovery” of evidence (maps, photos, etc.) and witnesses.  There are no surprises in Municipal Court.  Each party to the case has the right to be fully advised of what information will be used at trial.  At the omnibus hearing, you must be prepared to bring all documents that you anticipate will be introduced as evidence at the trial, and you must provide a copy of each potential exhibit to the opposing party.  In addition, you must provide a list of witnesses that you expect to testify at trial, with their names, addresses, and telephone numbers, for the opposing party.  If there is discovery still to be completed, the Judge will set deadlines for each party to comply with discovery issues.  If you do not comply with discovery, you may be prohibited from entering those exhibits or witnesses at the trial.

The City Attorney’s Office will be mailing you their “Plaintiff’s Notice of Witnesses and Exhibits” prior to your Omnibus Hearing.  If you wish to receive discovery (police/accident reports, videos, etc.) you must file a Discovery Request with their office.

You must be prepared to frankly discuss the issues of the case and the evidence you have.  You should not bring your witnesses to the omnibus hearing.  This is not the proper time for witnesses to appear, as their testimony will not be heard.  Only the issues of the case are to be discussed.

Some cases cannot be settled at the omnibus hearing and a trial will need to be set.  If a case is to be set for trial, the Judge, at the omnibus hearing, will set a schedule of events, including dates to comply with discovery, motions, and subpoenas as needed.  You will receive a notice in the mail of your next court date approximately 1-2 weeks following your omnibus hearing, so make sure that your mailing address is kept current with the Court at all times!