“I received a misdemeanor malicious destruction of personal property less than $100 and never finished probation in Michigan. I called and they have a warrant for me. I want to turn myself in. Will they take me to jail right then and there?”
Probably not, however, it is a good idea to be represented by an attorney.
If you have an outstanding warrant, you can turn yourself in to the police department and post a cash bond in the amount stated on your warrant. If you visit the police department with the bond money in cash, they will give you a receipt for the money you are posting and the court will send you notice of your court date. If you turn yourself in to the police department without the bond money, they will hold you until the magistrate holds arraignments for that day.
If you choose to walk yourself into the district court (versus the police department), you will present yourself to the clerk and explain that there is a warrant for your arrest. You will wait until an arraignment can be held before a magistrate or judge. At the arraignment you will be informed of the charge against you and given the opportunity to request an attorney. You will be given the opportunity to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. The judge will determine what to do with you. The court rules provide for your pretrial release. (See MCR 6.106.)
The law provides that at your first appearance before a court, unless an order in accordance with this rule was issued beforehand, the court must order that, pending trial, you be held in custody, released on personal recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond, or released conditionally, with or without money bail (ten percent, cash or surety). You will request release on personal recognizance. Generally speaking, you will be trying to impress the judge that you are not a threat the public. You will state that you have no intention of absconding – that you will appear for the hearing and do not need to be held in custody – that you have ties to the community and intend to maintain them, such as work, wife and children, sick parent you care for, church work, other obligations, etc. – that you have a good work record with no criminal record or only minor offenses.
The court may deny pretrial release to a defendant charged with murder or treason, or to a defendant charged with committing certain felonies. If the court determines that you may not be released, the court must order you be held in custody for a period not to exceed 90 days after the date of the order, excluding delays attributable to the defense, within which trial must begin or the court must immediately schedule a hearing and set the amount of bail. The court must state the reasons for an order of custody on the record and on a form approved by the State Court Administrator’s Office entitled “Custody Order.” The completed form must be placed in the court file.
You may request work release so that if you are denied pretrial release, you can maintain your employment / income.
If you are not ordered held in custody, the court must order your pretrial release on personal recognizance, or on an unsecured appearance bond, subject to the conditions that you will appear as required, will not leave the state without permission of the court, and will not commit any crime while released. If the court determines that the release will not reasonably ensure your appearance, or will not reasonably ensure the safety of the public, the court may order pretrial release on the condition or combination of conditions that the court determines are appropriate. If the court determines for reasons it states on the record that your appearance or the protection of the public cannot otherwise be assured, money bail, with or without conditions may be required.
Reasons that the court considers are:
(a) prior criminal record, including juvenile offenses
(b) record of appearance or nonappearance at court proceedings or flight to avoid prosecution
(c) history of substance abuse or addiction
(d) mental condition, including character and reputation for dangerousness
(e) the seriousness of the offense charged, the presence or absence of threats, and the probability of conviction and likely sentence
(f) employment status and history and financial history insofar as these factors relate to the ability to post money bail
(g) the availability of responsible members of the community who would vouch for or monitor you
(h) facts indicating your ties to the community, including family ties and relationships, and length of residence
(i) any other facts bearing on the risk of nonappearance or danger to the public
This article was originally published on June 23, 2009. It has been revised and republished.