Misdemeanor Criminal Procedure
This briefly explains how a misdemeanor case is processed. Not every case will
go to trial, so not all of the steps will be followed in every case.
have specific questions, contact the Alger County Victim Office at
(1) Charges Filed
A misdemeanor case can start from a police ticket, citation, or from an
arrest warrant. A warrant must be authorized by the prosecutor. These documents
are filed with the district court.
Once arrested, the suspect appears in district court for arraignment. The
defendant is told the charges against him or her, and advised of their
constitutional rights. The conditions and amount of bail are determined. If the
defendant pleads guilty, the court will schedule the case for sentencing. If the
defendant pleads not guilty, the case will be set for trial.
(3) Pretrial Proceedings
Many events can occur prior to trial. The court may hear motions to determine
whether evidence can be used at trial, or whether there is some legal reason why
the defendant should not be tried. The prosecutor and defense attorney will
often meet to determine whether the defendant will plead guilty to the crime
charged or some other offense.
The trial can be by judge or jury. During the trial, the judge or a jury will
determine whether the defendant has committed a crime, and if so, what that
crime is. At trial, the prosecution must present evidence to prove the
defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor must call all the
witnesses to the crime. The defendant is not required to prove his or her
innocence, or to present any evidence.
If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will set a date for sentencing. A
pre-sentence investigation report may be prepared by the probation office. It
contains information about the crime, defendant's background, and a sentence
recommendation. At sentencing, the judge will consider the information in the
report. Determination of the sentence is the judge's sole responsibility. The
judge may consider different alternatives, such as a fine, probation, community
service, a sentence to jail, or a combination. The judge may also order the
defendant to make restitution to any victims who have suffered physical, or
The defendant may appeal his or her conviction to the Circuit Court. It is
also possible that he or she may appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals, the
Michigan Supreme Court, or the United States Supreme Court.
If you have any questions after reading this call
Kathleen Lindquist Victim Coordinator at (906) 387-2117.