Pre-Trial or Preliminary Examination

For individuals arrested and arraigned on misdemeanor violations, the pretrial examination is the next step of the legal process. You have the right to be represented by legal counsel at this hearing. If you signed an appointment of counsel form at or following your arraignment, an attorney appointed by the court will represent you.

After your pre-trial, your case can take one of two paths in the judicial process. If it is your intent to plead guilty or no contest, your plea will be accepted and the sentencing will follow.

If your intent is to go to trial, you will notify the judge whether you want a jury or bench trial. The judge will set the trial date.

If you are charged with a felony and you are bound over to the Circuit Court after your preliminary examination hearing in the District Court, your case will be transferred to a Circuit Court judge. If you are a candidate for one of the specialty courts that operate in Otsego County (Drug Court), then the case will be transferred to the Recovery Court judge regardless of original jurisdiction.

If you are a juvenile, your criminal case is handled in the Family Court. You will be contacted by the clerk to appear before the Family Court judge or referee. The Family Court judge will determine the appropriate handling of your case, depending on the offense, and prior involvement with the judicial system.