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What to expect from tribal court

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Casino Crimes, Criminal Defense |

If you face an accusation of committing a crime at a casino operated by a Native American tribe, you may find yourself facing charges in tribal court.

A tribal court has jurisdiction when crimes occur on tribal land. Understanding how tribal courts operate and what to expect can help you navigate the legal process effectively.

The basics of tribal court

Tribal courts are judicial bodies that Native American tribes created to handle legal matters that occur within their jurisdictions. These courts have the authority to hear cases involving tribal members as well as non-members when crimes occur on tribal land, which includes casinos.

Tribal court laws

When you appear in tribal court, you will be subject to the laws and procedures of the specific tribe. These laws may differ from state or federal laws, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the tribal legal system and its customs.

Community involvement

One key difference in tribal court proceedings is the emphasis on community involvement. Tribal courts often prioritize the restoration of harmony within the community over punitive measures. This means that the court may focus on mediation and reconciliation rather than strict punishment.

The process

In tribal court, you will have the opportunity to present your case and defend yourself against the charges as you would in a state or federal court. It is important to be respectful of the court and its customs throughout the proceedings.

If the court finds you guilty, the consequences will depend on the nature of the crime and the tribal laws. Penalties may include fines, community service or incarceration.


Facing charges in tribal court for a casino crime can be a daunting experience. However, by understanding the tribal legal system and its procedures, you can better prepare yourself for the legal process ahead.