Felony Offenses

If you have been charged with a felony in the City of East Lansing, your first court appearance will be in the 54B District Court. A felony offense is any crime for which the penalty may exceed one year in jail. The following is an outline of what may occur at the district court level.

At this stage in the proceedings, you will be formally informed of the charge or charges against you and the possible penalties. You may not enter a plea to a felony charge at the district court arraignment. The judge will set dates for a pretrial and preliminary examination at this time A preliminary examination must be scheduled within fourteen days of the arraignment. A pretrial will be scheduled a few days before your preliminary examination. The judge will also set your bond at the arraignment. Arraignments are held Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. or 1 p.m. The Court will not accept written waiver of arraignments on felony offenses.

About Bond
Except as otherwise provided by law, a person accused of a criminal offense is entitled to a bond/bail.When a judge sets the bond, he/she considers and makes a finding on the court record as to: the seriousness of the offense charged, the protection of the public, the previous criminal record, and the probability or improbability of the person accused appearing for future court dates.

Getting an Attorney
If you have been charged with a felony you may need an attorney to represent you. You should make arrangements to hire an attorney prior to your pretrial. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, one will be appointed. Contacted Pretrial Services of Ingham County Circuit Court at (517) 483-6450 for court-appointed attorney information.

Pretrial & Preliminary Examination
After your arraignment, you will be required to appear for a pretrial. This is a meeting with the prosecuting attorney to determine if the case will proceed to preliminary examination. At the preliminary examination, the judge will hear evidence to determine whether there is probable cause that a crime occurred and probable cause to believe you committed the crime. If the judge determines that both of these standards have been met, he will bind the case over for arraignment in the 30th Circuit Court for the County of Ingham. Once a case has been bound over to Circuit Court, you must contact them for any additional information. Their phone number is (517) 483-6500.