I’ve been charged with a crime. What happens now?

In Michigan, all criminal cases start in the District Court. The first step is the arraignment. At the arraignment, the defendant hears the specific charges against him or her, has the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty, have a bond set, and have the next hearing scheduled. If the crime you are charged with is a misdemeanor, the next hearing will be a pretrial, followed by a trial if you do not enter a plea.

If you have been charged with a felony, the hearing after the arraignment is called a probable cause conference. That is followed by a preliminary exam. This is where the prosecution must prove that there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that you committed the crime. If the prosecution can meet that burden, the case is bound over to the Circuit Court.

The first hearing at the Circuit Court is another arraignment. The vast majority of Circuit Court arraignments are either waived or held without the defendant being present. After the arraignment, the case is set for a pretrial, and if it cannot be resolved, it will be set for a second pre-trial, then a trial.

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1. What are my rights in a criminal case?
2. What is the difference between a civil infraction, misdemeanor and felony?
3. I’ve been charged with a crime. What happens now?
4. How do I request an attorney?
5. When will my appointed attorney meet with me?
6. Can I pay my Court Appointed Attorney to get them to work harder for me?
7. My attorney won’t give me my Discovery Packet or file. Aren’t they required to do so?
8. My attorney asked if my family could pay for an expert or investigator. What if I can’t afford it?
9. I don’t like my attorney. Can I have a new one appointed?
10. Is my court appointed attorney a "real" attorney?
11. How should I dress when I have a hearing?