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Misdemeanor Case Proceedings

A misdemeanor is a crime that has a maximum punishment of one-year incarceration or less. The following summary explains the general case flow of misdemeanor cases. All misdemeanor court hearings are held in the District Court.

  1. A crime is committed.
     
  2. The crime is reported to a police agency.
     
  3. The police conduct an investigation.
     
  4. The police investigation is turned over to the Prosecuting Attorney.
     
  5. The Prosecuting Attorney authorizes criminal charges and a warrant is issued.
     
  6. The suspect is arrested and an Arraignment is held – he/she may plead guilty.
     
  7. The Court schedules two Pretrials – suspect may plead guilty at either Pretrial.
     
  8. If no guilty plea by suspect, the case proceeds to a trial – witnesses/victims may testify.
     
  9. If suspect pleads guilty or is found guilty at the trial, he/she is sentenced.
     

Felony Case Proceedings

A felony is a crime that is punishable by more than one-year incarceration. The following summary explains the general case flow of felony criminal cases in Cheboygan County.

  1. A crime is committed.
     
  2. The crime is reported to a police agency.
     
  3. The police conduct an investigation.
     
  4. The police investigation is turned over to the Prosecuting Attorney.
     
  5. The Prosecuting Attorney authorizes criminal charges and a warrant is issued.
     
  6. The suspect is arrested and arraigned in District Court. A Preliminary Exam is scheduled within 14 days. The District Court Judge/Magistrate will set Defendant’s Bond.
     
  7. The Preliminary Exam is conducted in District Court and Prosecution must establish sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to Circuit Court– witnesses/victims may testify.
     
  8. If the District Court Judge determines there was sufficient evidence at the Preliminary Exam, the next scheduled hearing will be a Circuit Court Arraignment. The Circuit Court Judge will schedule future hearing dates and deadlines.
     
  9. The Circuit Court Docket Call is the final hearing before a jury trial. At the Docket Call the Defendant must decide whether he wishes to plead guilty or have a jury trial.
     
  10. If Defendant does not plead guilty, the Court will conduct a jury/bench trial. At the trial, witnesses and victims may be required to testify.
     
  11. If Defendant pleads guilty at the Docket Call described in paragraph 9 or is found guilty at trial, the Judge will conduct a sentencing. At sentencing, the Judge will order the appropriate sanctions.
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Juvenile Delinquent Case Proceedings

A delinquency petition is filed when a minor commits a criminal offense.  The following is a summary that explains the general process.

  1. A crime is committed.
     
  2. The crime is reported to a police agency.
     
  3. The police conduct an investigation.
     
  4. The police investigation is turned over to the Prosecuting Attorney for review.
     
  5. The Prosecuting Attorney authorizes petition with the Probate Court – Juvenile Office.
     
  6. The Juvenile/Probation Office contacts the Juvenile and Parent[s] to schedule a meeting. The Juvenile Officer can divert the petition for alternative services or refer it to Court for a Pretrial/Settlement Conference date.
     
  7. If there is no admission of guilt, the case proceeds to a trial – witnesses/victims may testify.
     
  8. If juvenile pleads guilty or is found guilty at the trial, the case is set for disposition (like sentencing).
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Neglect & Abuse Case Proceedings

Child Protective proceedings start with a report of suspected abuse or neglect investigation of that report and required court hearings in the Family Division – Circuit Court.  Neglect & Abuse proceedings involve a complex interplay between the judicial and social services systems.  If there is evidence of neglect or abuse; a petition is filed with the Family Division – Circuit Court.

  1.  A complaint is made to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Central Intake, by a citizens, law enforcement agency, medical professionals, or other individual.
     
  2. Central Intake makes a referral to a case worker and/or law enforcement agency if law enforcement action is necessary.
     
  3. If abuse and/or neglect is suspected, then a petition is filed with the Probate Court and the Court schedules a Preliminary Hearing.
     
  4. The Court may order all parties to mediation requiring all parties to meet and work towards a resolution of the allegations in the petition.
     
  5. If an agreement is reached at mediation, the matter will be schedule for a Plea Hearing.  If no agreement is reached, the matter will be scheduled for a Pretrial Hearing.
     
  6. If no plea agreements are reached by the end of the pretrial hearing, the matter will be scheduled for Trial.
     
  7. Once a determination of guilt is made by plea agreement or by trial, the matter is scheduled for a initial disposition hearing.
     
  8. Review hearings are held every 90 days after the initial disposition hearing to review status of matter.
  9. The Court must hold a permanency planning hearing no later than 12 months after child(ren) were removed from the home. 
     
  10. The Court may determine at the initial disposition hearing or anytime throughout the course of the proceedings that Termination of Parental Rights of either parent or both, is necessary and hold a Termination Hearing. 
     
  11. Upon Termination of Parental Rights, the Court will hold regular Post Termination/Review Hearing to monitor the placement of the child(ren).
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What to Expect When You Testify

One of the biggest concerns we receive from victims and witnesses is testifying in court. Witnesses and/or victims frequently get nervous about having to testify under oath. In the event you are a witness or victim and are required to testify, here are some helpful tips to put your mind at ease [printable version below]:

  • Tell the truth.
     
  • Dress appropriately.
     
  • Only answer the questions.
     
  • Stick to the facts.
     
  • Relax and speak clearly.
     
  • Both the Prosecutor and the Defense Attorney will ask each witness questions. The ultimate goal for both parties is to obtain the truth.
     
  • During the Defense Attorney’s questioning, he/she may ask difficult questions to test your recollection or credibility. The key is to relax and keep your composure.
     
  • Answer all questions to the point. If you can answer a question with a simple “yes” or “no”, do so. Answer only the questions asked and do not volunteer additional information. If the attorney wants that information, he will ask a question to elicit that information.
     
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.
     
  • If you do not understand or did not hear a question, ask that it be explained or repeated.
     
  • If either lawyer raises an objection, stop speaking at once. After the Judge has ruled, you may be asked to continue.

If you want to print off a copy of these tips for easy reference, please click on the PDF Documents link below:

Criminal Justice Terminology

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Prosecuting Attorney
Daryl P. Vizina
(231) 627-8450

Office
870 S. Main Street, Rm 143
P.O. Box 70
Cheboygan, MI 49721
(231) 627-8450
Fax: (231) 627-8405

Hours
Mon-Fri, 8am-4:30pm

Additional Staff
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Melissa Goodrich
Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Alfred E. Feleppa, III
Office Manager/Legal Assistant
Lori Spray
Victim Advocate/Witness Coordinator
Celeste M. Charboneau
Child Support Specialist
Jessica M. Farver
Legal Secretary/Office Assistant
Juliet K. Rettell