Ricky James Chavez

Ricky James Chavez

A Sidney resident was recently charged by the Sidney Police Department with assault with a gun.

Ricky James Chavez, 21, was arrested at 6:03 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2020 after the Sidney Police Department (SPD) received a dispatch call and a report that a man had pulled a gun on a female at a Sidney residence.

SPD officers responded to the 3400 Block of 3rd St. NW and made contact with the reported victim.

According to SPD Chief of Police Mark Kraft, the woman identified Chavez as the suspect. After determining there was probable cause to make an arrest, Chavez was charged with one count of assault with a weapon, Kraft said.

Chavez was booked into the Richland County jail on September 9 and released on $25,000 bail on Sept. 11, 2020.

Chavez was ordered to make an initial court appearance on Sept. 21, 2020 in the 7th Judicial Court in Sidney. If found guilty of felony assault with a weapon, the defendant faced up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $50,000.

Chavez subsequently entered into a “pre-trial diversion agreement” with Richland County Deputy County Attorney Charity McLarty, who filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Chavez.

“The State believes it is in the interests of justice to dismiss said complaint,” Sidney City Court records state in STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff -vs- RICKY JAMES CHAVEZ, Defendant.

The court accepted the motion to dismiss the case without prejudice based on the plea agreement made between the defendant and the deputy county attorney, the Sidney Herald was informed; in other words, the judge had no choice but to comply.

City Judge Luke R. Savage, who heard the case, explained that “without prejudice” means Chavez can be retried if he violates any of the terms of his plea agreement, which was not disclosed publicly.

The arrest and booking records, however, along with details of the Sidney Police Report, are public record.

The facts of the case document that Chavez was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on a woman, who identified her assailant. The positive identification on September 9 gave SPD officers probable cause to arrest Chavez and have him booked into jail on felony charges of assault with a weapon.

Reckless History

This is not Chavez’ first encounter in recent years with Richland County law enforcement.

On Aug. 19, 2019, Chavez was charged with, and pled guilty to, misdemeanor reckless driving. On Sept. 28, 2018, he pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor careless driving.

In the guilty plea entered on Sept. 28, 2018 for the first charge, Chavez admitted he was “upset and drove carelessly,” according to court documents. He allegedly drove 45 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Among the specific terms of his conditions of bail when he was released from the Richland County jail on Sept. 11, 2020, Chavez was to “refrain from possessing a firearm, destructive device, or other dangerous weapons.”

It is not clear from public records whether Chavez forfeited his rights to possess a firearm under the plea agreement that prompted dismissal of the charge of assault with a weapon.

Judge Savage made clear he is not privy to any of the information contained in the plea agreement, which prompted a recommendation of dismissal from the Richland County deputy county attorney. However, Judge Savage reiterated that a “dismissal without prejudice” means a defendant can be retried if there is any substantiated violation of the agreement.

Judge Savage also noted that Chavez was represented in court by an attorney, which was within the defendant’s civil rights.

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