Michigan CSC Case: Arraignment, Pretrial and Bail

In felony CSC cases, a defendant will be arraigned twice. First, in district court, where there is a preliminary examination held, and then again in circuit court. During the district court arraignment, the defendant is told what the charges are and what the maximum penalty is if he is convicted. The judge also advises the defendant of his Constitutional rights, which includes the right to have an attorney appointed if he cannot afford one and the right to a trial by jury. Bond, sometimes known as “bail,” will also be set at this hearing.

Most defendants are released on bond, and sometimes the judge will impose bond conditions. Some conditions may include not having contact with the victim or submitting to periodic breath or urine tests. There are four main types of bonds in Michigan: personal recognizance bond, 10% cash deposit bond, cash bond, and surety bond.

Bonds for a Michigan CSC Case: Personal Recognition, Cash and Surety

A personal recognizance bond is also known as a signature bond, and it only requires the defendant to sign papers with the court. A failure to appear at a future court date could result in the revocation of bond or in additional criminal charges. A cash bond involves posting the entire amount of the bond that has been set by the district court judge. All of the money will be returned (minus court costs and fines) if the defendant appears at all court dates and does not violate a bond condition. The Michigan Constitution requires that the Surety Bond option be given every time a monetary bond is set. A surety bond requires the posting of a surety power of attorney, which guarantees the full amount of the bond will be paid in the event the defendant does not appear at a scheduled hearing. This kind of bond involves a bail agent.

A 10% cash deposit bond involves the posting of a bond by either a bail agent or someone other than a bail agent. If you do not use a bail agent, 10% of the full amount of the bond will need to be posted by someone else, usually a family member. For example, for a $10,000 ten percent bond, the family member must pay $1,000 to the court for the defendant to be released. If the defendant complies with all bond conditions and never misses a court date, 90% of the money posted will be returned to the family member (minus court costs and fines). However, if the defendant violates a bond condition or misses a court appearance, that family member may be forced to pay the remainder of the bond. If the defendant is found not guilty, all of the family member’s money will be returned. Using a bail agent to post bond is also an option, and it may leave the defendant with more money to help retain an attorney.

Michigan CSC Case: Felony Arraignment and Preliminary Examination

At a felony arraignment in district court, the defendant will not enter a plea yet. Only a preliminary exam date will be scheduled. At a felony preliminary examination, sometimes known as a probable cause hearing, the prosecutor will present witnesses to convince the judge that there is at least probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a crime. Probable cause is a much lesser burden than guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defendant may choose to waive the preliminary exam, or use it as an opportunity to gain insight into the prosecution’s case. The defense attorney can use the preliminary exam to learn many things, including what witnesses will testify to. Some witnesses may not be fully prepared at the examination which will cause their testimony to conflict with testimony they may later give at trial. The defense attorney may also use it to call anticipated prosecution witnesses in order to cross examine them. Alibi witnesses may also be called at this hearing.

Michigan CSC Case: Entering a Plea in Circuit Court Arraignment

If a preliminary examination is waived, or if the prosecutor establishes probable cause at the exam, the case will be “bound over” to circuit court, which means it is transferred to circuit court for trial. The defendant will be arraigned again in circuit court, he will be given formal notice of the charges against him, and he will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. At the circuit court arraignment, the judge will schedule a pre-trial conference. This is a meeting between the defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney, and it can be a chance for the case to be resolved without going to trial. The attorneys can also use this meeting to discuss issues that have come up in the case. Contact us online or at 1-800-677-9795 for a free consultation.