Departments

Misdemeanor Offenses

Those charged with a misdemeanor offense, will most likely need to appear for an arraignment on the charge. There are a few traffic misdemeanor charges that can be handled without appearing in court. For a list of these offenses, click here.

Arraignment
At this stage in the proceedings, you will be formally informed of the charge or charges against you and the possible penalties. You will also be informed of your rights. You may enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, no contest or stand mute. If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge may impose a Sentence at that time, or your case may be referred to the PRESENTENCE DIVISION for a report to be prepared for the judge prior to sentencing. If you plead not guilty or stand mute, the case will be set for a Pretrial Conference. The judge will also set your Bail at the arraignment if you are required to come back for another court date.

Arraignments are held at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you were issued a citation, you must appear within 4-10 calendar days from the date you received the ticket.

The Court will accept a written Waiver of Arraignment on most misdemeanor charges. The waiver must state the maximum penalties for the offense, the defendant's rights, and be signed by the defendant. The Court will not accept waiver of arraignments on any assaultive crime, in some cases if the defendant has a prior criminal record, or if there is a warrant outstanding in the case.

About Bail
Except as otherwise provided by law, a person accused of a criminal offense is entitled to bail. The amount of bail shall not be excessive and shall be uniform whether the bail bond is executed by the person for whom bail has been set or by a surety. The Court, in fixing the amount of bail, shall consider and make findings on the record as to each of the following: the seriousness of the offense charged; the protection of the public; the previous criminal record and dangerousness of the person accused; and the probability or improbability of the person accused appearing for future court dates. See posting bond for more information.

Court Appointed Attorney
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you have the right to have an attorney. You may hire an attorney at your own expense, or if you are unable to afford an attorney the court may appoint one on your behalf if the court determines that it might sentence you to jail.

If you want to apply for a court appointed attorney, you must fill out the Petition for Court Appointed Attorney form.This form must be notarized. You can either appear at the court to fill it out, or print the form, fill it out, have it notarized and return it to the court. It will take a few days to process your request.

MSU students may be represented by ASMSU Student Legal Services at no cost.You have paid for their services when you pay your registration fee at MSU. You may contact them at (517) 353-3716.

Pretrial Conference
If you have entered a plea of not guilty or mute at your arraignment, your case will be set for pretrial conference. At the pretrial conference you, and your attorney if you have one, will meet with the assistant prosecutor or assistant city attorney. If any plea agreements are reached, you may appear before the judge that same day to enter your plea. If a plea agreement is not reached, the matter will either be set for a trial before the judge or a jury selection.

Jury Selection
Jury selection is held once per month, usually the second Tuesday of each month. On jury selection day many different juries may be selected for later jury trial dates. Jurors are summoned to appear in the afternoon only. If you are certain that you are selecting a jury, call the Criminal Division at (517) 336-8630 to get a jury selection time for the afternoon and a trial date. Pleas to reduced charges must be entered the Monday before jury selection between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., or the written plea sheet must be dated, signed and filed by Monday at 4 p.m. Pleas to reduced charges will not be accepted on the morning of jury selection unless a written plea sheet has been filed on Monday. Acceptance of these written pleas on the record, pleas to the charge and waivers of jury trials will be entered by both judges on the morning of jury selection.

Sentencing
The final step in the legal process, a penalty is assessed for someone who is convicted of, or pled guilty to a crime. If you are assessed fines and costs, you should come to court prepared to pay on the day of your sentencing. See payment information for further details on payment options.

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