71A District Court - Lapeer Michigan

The District Court serves all of Lapeer County and is responsible for disposing of all criminal misdemeanors, preliminary examinations in felony cases, and traffic violations. The District Court one Judge overseeing its Court, which is the Honorable Laura Cheger Barnard. The District Court also has two appointed magistrates, four probation officers, and a staff of twelve employees. The Court is located in the Lapeer County Complex Building at 255 Clay St., Lapeer, MI.

Criminal misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of one year or less in the county jail. All criminal cases (whether felony or misdemeanor) begin with an arraignment by the District Court.  At the arraignment you hear the charges filed against you and the maximum penalties if convicted of the crimes as charged. The Court will also explain your rights to an attorney, to bond, to trial, and presentation of evidence and witness, including but not limited to your, right against self-incrimination. These rights are constitutionally based and essential to all criminal matters.

For misdemeanors the next court date will be a pretrial conference. The individual or individual’s attorney will have a chance to meet with the prosecutor before appearing before the Judge.  At the pretrial conference a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest may be entered.  If unable to afford an attorney a public defender will also be appointed at this time, unless already done so.

If a not guilty plea is entered, it will be set for a trial date with a settlement conference the day before the trial in order to determine if a disposition has been reached. If you plead guilty or no contest or if you are found guilty by the court, you will then be sentenced at the District Court.  Sentencing may be done at the time of plea or at a later date depending on the charge and statute involved within the individual matter.

40th Circuit Court - Lapeer, Michigan

For those charged with a felony, or a high misdemeanor, their next court date will be a preliminary conference at the District Court.  In felony cases, you can request a court appointed attorney at your arraignment. At the preliminary examination, the prosecutor will present their case against you, and if the judge determines that there is sufficient evidence to show that the individual have committed the crime that he or she has been have been charged then the case will be bound over to the 40th Circuit Court. The Circuit Court will then schedule a second arraignment, and a pretrial will generally be scheduled for some time in the future.  When it is sent to the Circuit Court the file is given a new court number, assigned to a new judge, and the proceedings continue.

The Circuit Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction in Michigan and oversees all of Lapeer county and the criminal acts occurring within its boundaries and cities. The courthouse is located at 255 Clay St., Lapeer, MI. The Honorable Nick O. Holowka (Chief Judge) and Honorable Michael P. Higgins oversees the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court Criminal Division handles felony criminal cases (crimes with a penalty of more than a year in jail) and criminal appeals coming from the District Court.

Adults convicted of felonies in Circuit Court are sometimes placed on probation in lieu of jail time. Supervision of probation is performed by the Michigan Department of Corrections (aka MDOC) in order to insure a probationer’s compliance with the terms of probation ordered by the judge at the time of sentencing. The Probation Department handles both misdemeanors and felonies, however, it will generally not be used as a form of punishment for murder, treason, armed robbery, criminal sexual conduct in the first or third degree, certain controlled-substance offenses, or felonies in which a firearm was used.  The Court still retains control over the probationer during the pendency of probation or parole; however, it is probation that oversees and reports compliance. Generally, the statutory maximum term of probation is five years for felonies and two years for misdemeanors.

Beyond statutory probation conditions requiring the probationer to avoid criminal behavior, not leave the state without permission and report as specified by the agent, the court can impose other conditions on the probations, depending on the offender's history and circumstances involved in the criminal case bringing him or her on probation. These conditions may include, but are not limited to, jail confinement, substance-abuse treatment, community service, high school completion, restitution, fines, court costs and supervision fees, electronically-monitored home confinement, placement in a state-funded probation residential center, and finding employment.

Josh Jones can assist you with your criminal and traffic needs that arise in the Lapeer County District Court or Circuit Court. Whenever you are involved in a criminal matter you need an attorney who will stand by you and understand your court. Call Josh Jones today.