Criminal Process in Michigan: Arrest and Arraignment

When a person is accused of committing a crime, the state of Michigan has a felony criminal process that must be followed. Grand rapids criminal defense attorneys are experienced in all phases of the criminal process and may be able to assist you in navigating these complex procedures.


When the police believe that a crime has been committed, an investigation is conducted by the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the geographical area where the crime occurred (e.g., Michigan State Police, county Sheriff, or local police). After the investigation is completed, the officer in charge of the case will bring the evidence to the Prosecuting Attorney for approval for filing of the criminal complaint.


In this part of the process, the prosecuting attorney reviews the law enforcement agency’s investigation and evidence and will decide if there is enough legally admissible evidence to authorize a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. If the prosecutor believes that there is enough evidence, a warrant can be issued for arrest of the defendant. If there is insufficient admissible evidence, a warrant may be denied outright or the investigating officer may be ordered to conduct further investigation pending reevaluation of the case.


If a warrant is authorized by the prosecutor, the officer in charge takes it to the district court judge having jurisdiction over the case and a probable cause hearing will be held. During the hearing, the judicial magistrate will determine whether there is sufficient cause to sign and issue the warrant. If the defendant is already in custody, he or she will be brought before the magistrate for arraignment.


During an arraignment, the charges against the defendant are read to him/her. At this time, the defendant has the opportunity to enter a plea to the charges listed on the warrant and is advised of the right to an attorney, a jury trial and a pretrial examination. The judge will then set bail to ensure that the defendant will appear in court. For a circuit court felony or misdemeanor, a preliminary examination will be scheduled within fourteen days of the date of arraignment.

A Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney is experience in all phases of felony criminal proceedings and may be able to assist you in avoiding or reducing potentially serious consequences of finding yourself the defendant in a felony criminal trial. If you have been accused of a crime in Michigan, call the criminal defense attorneys at Blanchard Law at (616) 773-2945.

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