Misdemeanor CasesYou must appear for an arraignment for all misdemeanor cases except for some traffic misdemeanor cases. For a list of the traffic cases where no arraignment is required, see the Traffic Division.
ArraignmentArraignments are held Monday through Friday at either 8 a.m. or 1 p.m. If you were issued a misdemeanor citation, you must appear within 4-10 calendar days from the date you received the ticket or a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
The arraignment is your first court appearance. The Judge will tell you the charge or charges against you and what can happen to you as a result of these charges. You will be informed of your rights. At arraignment, you have four options:
- You may plead guilty. If you do this, you will be sentenced or referred to the probation department where you will be interviewed for a report for the Judge to consider at sentencing.
- You may plead not guilty. If you do this your case will be scheduled for your next court appearance, which is a pretrial.
- You can say nothing, which is known as standing "mute." This will be treated the same as a not guilty plea listed in #2 above.
- You can plead no contest. This will be treated the same as a not guilty plea listed in #2 above.
The Court will accept a written Waiver of Arraignment (PDF) on some misdemeanor charges. The waiver must state the maximum penalties for the offense, the defendant's rights and be signed by the defendant. A waiver of arraignment cannot be filed for:
- Cases with an outstanding warrant
- Riot / Civil Disturbance cases
- Any alcohol charge
- Any felony
- Any assaultive charge
About BondExcept as otherwise provided by law, a person accused of a criminal offense is entitled to a bond/bail. When a judge sets the bond, he/she considers and makes a finding on the court record as to: the seriousness of the offense charged, the protection of the public, the previous criminal record and the probability or improbability of the person accused appearing for future court dates.
Court-Appointed AttorneyIf 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 Michigan Indigent Defense Council may appoint one on your behalf if the court determines that it might sentence you to jail. You may be required to reimburse the court for some or all of the expense of your court-appointed attorney.
MSU students may be represented by ASMSU Student Legal Services at no cost. If you are an MSU student, you should contact ASMSU Student Legal Services at (517) 353-3716.