Criminal matters are either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense.
Misdemeanor Offenses: Crimes of a less serious nature that usually carry a maximum jail term of one year including traffic misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are handled by the District Court where the offense occurred. Drunk driving is considered a criminal offense, not a traffic offense.
Some misdemeanors are punishable by more than 1 year but are processed in the same manner as felonies.
Felony Offenses: The most serious category of criminal offenses punishable by more than 1 year in prison.
Felonies involving persons 17 years or older, the District Court where the offense occurred typically handles the initial stages of arraignment on the complaint and preliminary examination. If the District Court finds sufficient evidence, the case is bound over or transferred to Circuit Court. The Circuit Court then typically handles the case after it's bound over.
Misdemeanor and Felonies involving persons under 17 years of age are usually handled as juvenile delinquency
cases in the Family Division of the Circuit Court where the minor resides. In some situations, the charge may be handled the same as an adult charge.
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