The 19th District Court's Criminal Division processes all misdemeanor and felony crimes committed in the City of Dearborn and schedules court dates for those charged with such offenses.
Cases where the penalty does not exceed a fine of $1,000 and/or one year in jail are called misdemeanors. Typical misdemeanor offenses include shoplifting, assault and battery, possession of firearms, minor drug violations, drunk driving and driving with a suspended license.
Those charged with a misdemeanor are required to contact the court within 14 days to schedule a court appearance. Failure to comply with this requirement results in the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the accused.
A felony is any crime for which the penalty may exceed one year in jail. The first court appearance for those charged with felony offenses occurring in the City of Dearborn will be heard at the 19th District Court.
The sequence for processing felony offenses in district court is as follows:
ARRAIGNMENT - The initial stage of the proceedings sees the accused formally informed of the charges against them and possible penalties. The judge will set a court date for a preliminary examination and determine a bond at this time. Guilty pleas will not be accepted at the arraignment.
BOND - 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 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 the dangerousness of the person accused; and the probability or improbability of the person accused appearing in court.
PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION - A preliminary examination must be held within 14 days of the arraignment in all felony cases. The judge will determine if there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the defendant committed the crime.
If the judge determines that there is probable cause, the case is bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court for trial.
Obviously, those who have been charged with a felony should consider obtaining the services of a lawyer. Arrangements to hire an attorney should be completed prior to the preliminary examination.
Those who cannot afford to hire an attorney may petition the court for a court appointed attorney at any time during the proceeding.