District Court Criminal Division
When charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense, a person’s first appearance in District Court is for arraignment.
At the arraignment, the judge or magistrate will advise a person of the following:
- What criminal charges are being brought against a person.
- What the penalties are for the criminal charge being brought.
- Advise a person of their constitutional rights.
- Notify whether or not a person is eligible to be released on bond, and the amount of the bond.
- Advise the person of their right to an attorney.
FELONY PROBABLE CAUSE CONFERENCE
For individuals arraigned on felony charges, the felony probable cause conference is the next scheduled hearing and is held on Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. This hearing is held off the record.
A felony probable cause conference is scheduled prior to a preliminary examination in a felony case. It is a hearing between the defendant, defendant’s attorney and prosecutor. This is an opportunity for both parties to discuss the case and possibly resolve the case. If the case can be resolved, the court will take the plea or waiver on the date of the probable cause conference. If the case is not resolved, all parties will be required to appear for the preliminary examination.
If the individual is being held in the jail, their attorney will hold a conference with them at the jail. If it is determined that the individual needs to appear in court, they will then be transported to the District Court. Quite often, the individual is not in court for the probable cause conference.
After a probable cause conference on a felony charge, the next hearing is a preliminary examination and is held on Tuesday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. The county prosecuting attorney will be in court to present the prosecution’s case. After hearing the evidence presented at the preliminary examination, the judge determines if there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and whether or not there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed that crime.
If the judge determines that there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that defendant committed that crime, the case is bound over to the 28th Circuit Court for trial.
If the individual is being held in the jail, they will be transported to the District Court for the hearing.
For individuals arrested and arraigned on misdemeanor violations, the pre-trial hearing is the next step of the legal process. Defendants must appear at the pre-trial hearing. An individual has the right to be represented by legal counsel at this hearing, however it is not mandatory.
A pre-trial hearing is a hearing between the defendant/defendant’s attorney and the prosecuting attorney. This hearing is an opportunity for both parties to discuss the case and possibly resolve the case by way of a plea, either to the offense charged or if offered, a reduced offense. A pre-trial form will be completed and returned to the court the day of the pre-trial.
If a misdemeanor case cannot be resolved at pre-trial hearing, the court will set a final pre-trial date prior to setting it for trial. This is an opportunity for the parties to discuss the case further and decide whether the case will go to trial.
Depending on the pre-trial results, a case can take one of two paths in the judicial process. If it is defendant’s intent to plead guilty or no contest, a plea will be accepted and the sentencing will follow. If defendant’s intent is to plead not guilty and have a trial, all parties will have to appear for the scheduled jury selection and trial date, unless the defendant advises the court they wish to waive their right to a jury trial and request a bench trial. A bench trial is heard and decided by a judge.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHEN ARE VIDEO ARRAIGNMENTS?
Video Arraignments are typically held at 11:30 a.m. daily. However, the time is subject to change daily due to the Court’s regular schedule or due to the submission of paperwork. Please call the Criminal Division of the District Court if you have any questions at 231.779.9515 x3.
WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT A CASE?
You can contact the clerk if you have procedural questions. Clerks cannot give legal advice. It is recommended that you talk to an attorney for legal information/advice.
WHO DO I CONTACT TO CHECK ON A COURT DATE?
You may call the Criminal Division of the District Court at 231.779.9515 x3, to ask about a court date. Clerks cannot give legal advice. It is recommended that you talk to an attorney for legal information/advice.
WHERE DO I GO IF I WANT TO POST BOND FOR SOMEONE BEING ARRAIGNED AT THE DISTRICT COURT?
Bond is accepted at the Wexford County Jail, 1015 Lincoln Street, Cadillac, MI 49601. (231) 779.9216