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Arraignments

What is an arraignment?

An arraignment is a court proceeding at the beginning of the criminal process. At an arraignment, the court will advise you of:

  • your rights,
  • the charges being brought against you, and
  • the penalties you will face if you plead guilty or are found guilty of the charges.

How long does an arraignment last?

The process may take a couple of hours.  This all depends upon the charges being brought against you.  In addition, you may have to be fingerprinted by the police department

Can there be a waiver of an arraignment?

Yes, the court may allow a defendant to enter a plea of not guilty or to stand mute without a formal arraignment.

What does a waiver require?

Under MCR 6.610(D)(4), a waiver of an arraignment requires a written statement signed by the defendant (and any defense counsel of record).  The written statement must also include:

  • General nature of the charges,
  • Maximum possible sentence,
  • Rights of defendant at an arraignment, and
  • the plea to be entered. 

Note:  A signed and dated Advice of Rights form must accompany the written statement.

May the court require bond if the arraignment is waived?

If the arraignment is waived, the court may require a bond that is reasonable under the circumstances.

How does one file a waiver?

First, contact the criminal division clerk at (616) 554-0711.  The defendant must fill out this form and present it to the court before the day of the arraignment. You can present it in person or by mail to Criminal Division Clerk, 4740 Walma SE, Kentwood,  MI  49512 or by fax to (616) 698-8199.

What about subsequent hearings and motions?

The defendant or the attorney of record must contact the Criminal Division Clerk at (616) 554-0711 for scheduling of all motions, trials, and hearings.