Sunday, December 17, 2017
Isabella County Community Development

Helpful Terms and Definitions

Adjudication

The plea or trial of a juvenile offender
 

Arraignment

A hearing in which criminal charges are read to the defendant, bond is set and the next hearing date is scheduled
 

Bench Trial

Trial in front of a judge and no jury. In this type of trial, the judge decides the verdict

Jury Trial

Trial in which a jury decides the verdict
 

Bindover

The transfer of a felony or high misdemeanor case, from District Court to Circuit Court
 

Complaint

Legal document that tells the district court and defendant what type of charges are being brought against the defendant
 

Disposition

Sentencing of a juvenile
 

Diversion Program

Alternative to formally authorizing a petition. The program provides supervision of the juvenile, community service, restitution tutoring and other services
 

Felony

Criminal charge punishable by more than one year
 

High Court Misdemeanor

Charges carrying a penalty of two years incarceration. Treated similarly to felony charges, but do not carry the same stigma as felonies if convicted
 

Intake Department

Decides whether formal or informal intervention will occur with the juvenile
  

Misdemeanor

Criminal charge punishable by one year or less in county jail
 

Motions

Help to decide many legal and evidentiary issues surrounding a case
 

Petition

A complaint or other written accusation that a juvenile has committed a crime
 

Plea Agreement

An agreement in which the prosecutor and the defense agree on a suitable punishment for the offender. This requires a plea on behalf of the defendant.
 

Preliminary Examination

Hearing at the District Court level for both felonies and high court misdemeanors at which the prosecution must present evidence to show probable cause that a crime was committed; and that the defendant committed that crime. If probable cause is shown, the defendant is then bound over to Circuit Court.
 

Pretrial / Settlement Conference

Meeting between the prosecutor and the defense attorney (or between the Prosecutor and the defendant if he/she does not have an attorney) to resolve issues surrounding the case and to discuss whether there will be a plea, motions, or a trial
 

Sentence

Punishment handed down by the judge to a defendant who has been found guilty

End FAQ