Friday, November 15, 2019
Isabella County Community Development

Helpful Terms and Definitions


The plea or trial of a juvenile offender


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


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


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


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


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


Criminal charge punishable by one year or less in county jail


Help to decide many legal and evidentiary issues surrounding a case


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


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