If you have been charged with a misdemeanor crime and would like more information on what a misdemeanor is, click here.
At the 17th District Court, if you are charged with a misdemeanor you will be scheduled for one of the following hearings:
Arraignment: At an arraignment the Judge advises the defendant of the charges, the penalty and explains both constitutional and statutory rights. The defendant can either enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or stand mute. If they plead guilty they will either be sentenced immediately or scheduled for a later date. When a defendant pleads not guilty or stands mute, the Judge will set the case for a pre-trial date. If a defendant would like to have an attorney present at a pre-trial conference and cannot afford one, one will be appointed. However, a defendant may be required to pay all or part of the costs of the attorney. A form for a court appointed attorney must be filled out and left at the front counter before the defendant leaves the courthouse.
At the arraignment, the judge may require that a cash bond be posted or will order the Police Department to release the defendant on his/her own recognizance. A new court date will be given in the courtroom and a notice will be available at the front counter of the courthouse.
Pre-Trials: A pre-trial conference is set for the purpose of going over the facts of the case with the prosecutor and defendant's attorney, if applicable, and any complaining witnesses/victims that are involved int he case. If a resolution of the case is reached, a plea agreement is signed and given to the judge for approval. If accepted, the plea is put on the record and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. Fines and costs are to be paid at the time of sentencing in accordance with the Court Rule. If the defendant has posted a cash bond, it may be applied to the outstanding fines and costs at the time of sentencing. If another person posted a bond, that person will need to be at the court to release the bond. Should any of the bond money be returned to the defendant they may have the check mailed or opt to pick it up after 10:00 a.m. the next day.
Arraignment/Pre-Trial: As a convenience to the defendant and the prosecutor and to reduce the Court's docket, at times the court will combine the arraignment and the pre-trial on the same day.
Bench Trial/Jury Trials: Persons charged with a misdemeanor have the right to have a trial by Judge or by Jury. If the right to a jury is waived, the Judge will hear the facts of the case and determine whether or not a crime has been committed. The burden of proof in misdemeanor and felony charges is beyond a reasonable doubt. If the person decides to have a Jury Trial the case will be heard by a Jury of his/her peers.
Bench Warrants/Warrant Recalls: A warrant can be issued for an individual's arrest for the following reasons:
- Failure to appear for a scheduled court date.
- Failure to pay a payable misdemeanor ticket.
- Failure to comply with a court order to pay fines and costs.
Failure to comply with conditions of bond can result in a revocation or forfeiture of that bond. An individual has 28 days following the bond revocation date to turn himself into the court at which time the Judge will review the bond status. Individuals who have been released on a personal bond can become indebted for the penal sum of the original personal bond.
To have a warrant cancelled an individual must do one of the following things:
- Post a cash bond to receive a new court date.
- Pay all fines and costs owing.
- Appear before the court on the warrant any weekday Monday through Friday at 8:45 a.m. The Judge may require that a cash bond be posted at that time.