Arraignment in (State and) Federal Court

In both state and federal cases, after an arrest the first time someone appears to be arraigned on the charges contained in the criminal complaint or on an indictment is called the arraignment. In Detroit this occurs in the Duty Court Room on the first floor of the Federal Court house. The main office of the Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan is located only a few blocks away from the Federal District Court in downtown Detroit.

Once an indictment is filed with the court, an individual named in the indictment (defendant) will either be summoned to appear in court voluntarily or arrested. Either way, the next step in the process is the Initial Appearance. At the initial appearance, the defendant must appear before a United States magistrate judge. The magistrate judge will confirm the identity of the person charged and then will advise of the charge(s) and the “maximum” penalty and the right to remain silent

The attorneys at the Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan have a working relationship with the Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County prosecutor’s office as well as the Federal Prosecutor’s Office (known as the United States Attorney). It is important that the attorney contact the prosecutor to arrange for a voluntary surrender. This allows for a smooth and problem free arraignment and often a recommendation for a personal bond in state court and an unsecured bond in federal court.

The magistrate judge will address bond. In many cases, the government will ask that the individual charged be held without bond. If the government requests that the individual charge be detained (held without bond), the magistrate judge will schedule a detention hearing. The lawyers at the Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan are very familiar with the bond procedure and practice and have appeared at Duty Court for numerous arraignments, bond hearings and detention hearings.

The federal magistrate judge will decide either to detain the individual charged or issue a secured or unsecured bond or a surety bond which requires the individual charged to post money if he or she fails to appear or violates any of the conditions of bond. The attorneys at the Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan have requested and been granted on behalf of their clients unsecured bonds in numerous cases. If such a bond is set no money is required to be posted

In deciding whether an individual should be released on bond, the magistrate looks to The Bail Reform Act of 1984. Under the Act, the magistrate has four options. Those options include: 1.) Release you on personal recognizance – you promise to come back when called. 2.) Release you with conditions; 3.) Detain you temporarily to permit revocation of conditional release, deportation, or exclusion or 4.) Detain you while you await trial.

The attorneys at the Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan understand that the magistrate must find that the individual is either a risk of flight or are a danger to the community. Certain crimes presume that bond should not be permitted.

Again, an experience federal attorney will be familiar with the procedure, know how to contact pretrial services, known how to explore the possibility of a third party custodian who can assure the judge that the person charged will appear for future court dates. At the conclusion of the arraignment the assigned judge will schedule a pretrial.

III. Pre-Trial and Pre-Trial Motions