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If you have been charged with a felony offense you will need to appear for arraignment on the charge. Persons who have been arrested and posted bond should report to the court with their copy of the bond and check in at the traffic counter on the 6th floor of Lansing City Hall. Persons with outstanding felony warrants need to report directly to the 3rd floor of the Lansing Police Department at 120 W. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan and check in at the jail.
The purpose of an arraignment is to tell you what you are charged with and what your rights are. You may enter a plea of not guilty or stand mute. You will be given notice of your next court appearance date(s), and offered the opportunity to apply for a court appointed attorney if you do not have the money to hire your own.
When do I appear for a Felony Arraignment?
Arraignments are held from 8:00 am to 11:00 am and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. If a bond was posted prior to arraignment you should appear at the court on the day and time listed on the bond sheet that was given to you upon release from custody at a police agency.
What is a Preliminary Examination?
A preliminary examination is an evidentiary hearing conducted by a judge within 14 days after your arraignment. The prosecutor must prove it is more probable than not that you committed the crime you've been charged with. At the conclusion of the preliminary exam, if the judge finds there is sufficient evidence that the crime occurred, the case will be bound over for trial in the 30th Circuit Court located in Lansing, Michigan. A defendant has the right to waive the preliminary examination, in which case there is no hearing and the case proceeds to Circuit Court.
When do I apply for a Court Appointed Attorney?
Applications for court appointed attorneys on felony cases are submitted at the felony arraignment. If a felony arraignment occurred on a weekend or holiday and you posted bond without completing an attorney application, contact the Pretrial Services Division of the 30th Circuit Court at (517) 483-6439 or (517) 483-6440 Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm to obtain an application. Please note that not everyone is entitled to a court-appointed attorney; the court will appoint an attorney only if it determines that you cannot afford to hire your own.
Retaining an Attorney
You may hire an attorney at your own expense. Retained attorneys should file an appearance with the court prior to the preliminary examination. Be sure to provide your attorney with the date and time of your preliminary examination.
Circuit Court Arraignment /Appearance Date
If your case is bound over to Circuit Court, you will be given a date to appear for your circuit court arraignment. You may waive the arraignment in writing; if you do so, the Circuit Court will notify you with a date to appear for a pre-trial. After your prelimary examination, all records of your case will be transferred to the Circuit Court.
Felony Plea in District Court
Under certain circumstances, you may be able to enter a guilty plea in District Court. At the time scheduled for your preliminary exam, the prosecutor may make a plea offer allowing you to plead to a reduced charge. If you accept the plea offer, the district court judge assigned to your case will conduct a plea hearing and provide you with the date to appear in the 30th Circuit Court for sentencing. The case will then be transferred to the 30th Circuit Court for all subsequent proceedings.
Bonds / Bail
Bonds posted with the court must be paid in cash, with a credit card or posted by a bondsperson or bonding agency. The cardholder must be present if a credit card is used to post bond.
All bonds posted on felony charges bound over to 30th Circuit Court are transferred to the circuit court at the conclusion of the preliminary exam. If a felony case is dismissed or the bond is reduced at preliminary exam, the bond will be returned to the defendant or the 3rd party depositor in accordance with the court's bond refund policy.