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First OWI Attended Court Date in Michigan

Question: What is the first court date a person will be expected to attend in an OWI case in Michigan?

Answer: The first court date in any kind of criminal matter is what they call an arraignment. An arraignment is really a fancy term for making sure that you show up at court and that they can tell you what you’re being charged with. The first part of it is making sure that you are informed of the charge, the full charge, against you so that you can appreciate what you are and are not being charged with. Additionally they will read to you the penalties that are included in that charge so that you can appreciate the severity of any charge that is leveled against you.

Additionally, they’re going to set a bond at that time. A bond is simply a period of time before the resolution of your case in which you’re not sitting in jail and you’re allowed to be out and free. However, they expect you to show up to court and so there can be some incentive to do that, such as assessing some kind of monetary bond, meaning that you would pay money down to guarantee your appearance at court at a later date. However [if] you were not to appear at court, they would take that money. Further, they are under an obligation to make sure that while you’re out, the public is protected. So in cases like drunk driving defense, we would make sure that somebody is not drinking or doing drugs because we would hate a repeat of the offense that they’re being charged with.

Depending on which court we’re in, that first initial date, the arraignment, may be something that is done before being released from jail after the arrest, or it could be an entirely separate court date. Some courts will also allow you to waive or not have to show up to that date once you’ve retained an attorney for the simple fact that an attorney can do over the phone what might take the court an hour in court time just to accomplish. So the first date usually would be an arraignment. If not and you have a lawyer, they can explain what the further process is from that point.

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