When charged with a felony offense, the first appearance is in the District Court for arraignment. At the arraignment the Judge or Magistrate will advise the person of the following:
-Criminal charges being brought -The penalties for the charge being brought -Advise a person of their constitutional rights -Notify the person whether or not they are eligible to be released on bond and the amount of the bond.
A person may not plead guilty to a felony at this stage in the proceedings.
Retaining A Lawyer
If you have been charged with a felony, you may need a lawyer to represent you. You should make arrangements to hire an attorney prior to your probable cause hearing. If you cannot hire an attorney, you may at any time petition the court for a court-appointed attorney. Forms are available at the court.
Probable Cause/Preliminary Exam
After the arraignment, the next step in the legal process is to appear for a probable cause hearing. At this hearing you and your attorney will decided if you will have a preliminary exam in the District Court or waive your right to the preliminary exam. If you waive your right, your case will be transferred to the Oakland County Circuit Court.
If you and your attorney decided to hold your preliminary exam, you will be given a new date to appear in District Court for the exam.
At the exam the prosecuting attorney will be in court to present the prosecution's case. After hearing the evidence presented, the Judge determines if there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that the defendant committed the crime.
If the Judge determines that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and the defendant committed the crime, the case is bound over for trial in Oakland County Circuit Court.