Waiver of counsel, 2014

A juvenile can waive the right to counsel when he or she is 16 years of age or older as long as there was consultation with an attorney, when the juvenile is under 16 years of age and the juvenile and the juvenile's parent or guardian agree, or when the juvenile is under 16 years of age and the parent or guardian does not agree but the juvenile waives on advice of counsel.

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    Under 16

  • Crime

    No restrictions

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    Juveniles cannot waive right to counsel if possibility of specified placement(s).

Timing of counsel, 2013

In Montana, an attorney for a juvenile can be appointed at the following points in the process: Custodial Questioning / Talk with Intake Officer; Once a Petition is Filed / Hearing on the Petition; Loss of Freedom / Institutionalization / Commitment / Imprisonment; All Stages of Proceedings / All Critical States of Proceedings.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Organized at the state level

Organizer: Office of the State Public Defender (Additional detail concerning the organization and administration of juvenile defense is available in a state profile from the National Juvenile Defender Center.)

Indigency is determined legislatively

Montana indigency law is governed by both juvenile and adult statutes, which provide a determination of indigency. By statute, a court can order an office to assign counsel under the Montana Public Defender Act in the following cases: for a juvenile in a proceeding under the Montana Youth Court Act alleging a youth is delinquent or in need of intervention, and in a prosecution under the Extended Jurisdiction Prosecution Act. By statute, special juvenile law education / training / experience/ program for appointed juvenile counsel. Juveniles are legislatively presumed indigent.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

No statewide restriction

Sex offender registration, 2015


Competency, 2015

Montana has no statewide mandates specific to juvenile competency. A supreme court case mentions the occurrence of a juvenile competency hearing, and held that youth alleging incompetency based only on age (immaturity) are not similarly situated to adult criminal defendants alleging mental disease or defect. (Adult) criminal procedure provides that “a person…may not be tried, convicted, or sentenced for the commission of an(y) offense so long as the incapacity endures, which aligns with the Dusky standard.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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