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What Do You Do if You Are On Trial For a Crime in Idaho?

In Idaho, persons who have been accused of a crime, are expected to hire a professional legal counsel. The lawyer's role is to provide informed advice throughout the criminal proceedings. According to  Idaho Criminal Rules, accused persons charged to court by the state prosecutor must appear before the district judge within 24 hours of arrest. Defendants who aren't arrested may appear before the court within ten days after charges are filed. During the initial court proceedings, the judge will read out charges filed against the defendant and the defendant's rights. Also, accused persons may seek a criminal trial if they plead not-guilty to the state prosecutor's offenses. However, these processes may vary depending on whether the offense is a felony, misdemeanor or infraction.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What Percentage of Criminal Cases Go to Trial in Idaho?

The caseload statistics published by the Idaho Judicial Branch features the total number of criminal cases filed yearly. According to the 2015 report, the judicial branch recorded 362,170 filings. Of this number, 8,581 criminal cases were filed at the district courts, while 261,261 criminal cases were filed at the magistrate division. More than 50% of the magistrate division cases were infractions that do not involve trials.

In general, the report showed that most criminal cases in Idaho do not reach trial -- this is sometimes due to insufficient evidence to prove guilt or because both parties agree on a plea bargain at the preliminary hearings. On the other hand, sometimes, district courts simply do not want to run the risk of prolonged trials or acquittals.

When Does a Criminal Defendant Have the Right to a Trial?

A defendant's right to trial is invoked following a 'not guilty' plea. However, an offender's right to trial depends on the severity of the offenses. Lesser offenses, such as violation of ordinances, involve less stringent jail penalties and fines. As such, the court may choose to resolve those cases without proceeding to trial. Meanwhile, felony and misdemeanor offenses with the possibility of long jail sentences may be tried by the jury. Usually, six jurors are selected to hear misdemeanor cases, while 12 jurors hear felony cases in Idaho.

What Are the Stages of a Criminal Trial in Idaho?

As stated in ID Code § 19-2101, jury trials begin immediately after selecting and swearing in jurors. Below are the stages of a criminal trial in Idaho.

  1. The court clerk reads the defendant's indictment and plea statement -- however, this may not be necessary for non-felonious crimes.
  2. The state attorney presents evidence to support the indictment.
  3. The defense presents their argument
  4. Rebuttal from both parties.
  5. Arguments presentation from both sides. This will be opened and concluded by the state prosecutor.
  6. The judge's charge to the jury. This may be written or oral, depending on the preferences of both parties.
  7. Final verdict.

How Long Does it Take For a Case to Go to Trial in Idaho?

Criminal cases involve several stages before reaching trial. According to Idaho Code § 19–3501, criminal cases must commence trial after six months following the arraignment or indictment date. The court may dismiss claims not tried within that specified time. The defendant may postpone this date through a written application submitted to the district court.

What Happens When a Court Case Goes to Trial in Idaho?

Idaho criminal cases are initiated when a complaint is filed in court. After filing, the court may issue an arrest warrant or a court summons requiring the accused to make a court appearance. An arrest warrant authorizes law enforcement officials to take the subject into custody. The arrested suspect is required to appear before the court within 24 hours from the arrest.

During the arraignment, the defendant is advised of their rights and the procedure that will be followed. In felony cases, defendants may not enter a plea at the first appearance, which often takes place at the magistrate court. However, they must do so at the arraignment. In misdemeanor cases, the first appearance and arraignment are combined so that the magistrate judge proceeds to take the defendant's plea and sets the case for trial if necessary.

Once the trial is underway, the state prosecutor must make their opening statement and then present evidence supporting the allegations. The defendant's representative follows suit. Afterward, the court allows arguments, rebuttals, and counter-rebuttals for both parties. In a jury trial, the judge gives the jury charge, which may be oral or written. The jury is then given some time to deliberate on the final judgment before the sentence is pronounced. Both parties may then proceed to the Idaho Appellate Courts to appeal to the final verdict if it is not favorable.

Can You Be Put on Trial Twice for the Same Crime in Idaho?

No. An accused person cannot be tried twice for the same crime in Idaho. The provision for this can be found under the double jeopardy clause in the United States Fifth Amendment. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, an accused person can be on trial twice if the same crime was committed in different states with different criminal procedures.

How Do I Lookup a Criminal Court Case in Idaho?

Criminal court cases in Idaho are recorded by court clerks located in each district court. According to the Idaho Public Records Act, state residents can access these records to ensure public organizations' transparency. Essentially, interested parties may contact the district court clerk where the case was resolved to obtain a copy of the criminal court record. Some court clerks offer different means (mail, in-person, or online) of getting these records. Alternatively, requesters may obtain these records through third-party websites like

How to Access Electronic Court Records in Idaho

Criminal records can be found online via the iCourt Portal web page provided by the State of Idaho Judicial Branch. The statewide repository is accessible provided the requester knows the correct name of the record holder. Sometimes it is best also to know the birthdate of the record holder to narrow the search results.

How Do I Remove Public Court Records in Idaho?

The Idaho Expungement Law allows any defendant to remove their record from the public view provided that they were acquitted of the crime. Juveniles may also erase their record if it is not a sexual or violent offense. To expunge a record, a written application should be submitted to the Criminal History Unit in Idaho. Note that applications may only be granted after a year from the date of the acquittal. An alternative to the total erasure of public records is sealing the record. However, a sealed record is still accessible to persons granted a court order.

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