Third Judicial Circuit Court for Wayne County, Michigan

The Wayne County Circuit Court has four divisions: Civil, Criminal, Family Domestic, and Juvenile. The Court divides its docket between several different buildings in Detroit.

Wayne County Felony Conviction

Wayne County Circuit Court – What You Need to Know

With nearly 60 judges and three different divisions of operations, the Third Judicial Circuit is Michigan’s largest and most comprehensive circuit court. Matters of civil law, criminal law, and family law that arise in the County of Wayne are all subject to the jurisdiction of the Third Circuit Court. The National Center for State Courts designated the Wayne County Circuit Court as one of the model urban courts in the United States for case flow management and the prompt resolution of the Court’s docket. The Chief Judge and the Executive Court Administrator are jointly responsible for the overall administrative duties associated with the functioning of the Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan. They are, however, subject to the guidance of the State Court Administrator’s Office and the Michigan Supreme Court.

There are Five (5) Locations for Wayne County Circuit Court Business

Frank Murphy Hall of Justice
Criminal Division for Felony Charges

1441 St. Antoine
Detroit, MI 48226

Coleman A. Young Municipal Center – Civil Division

2 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226

Family Division – Domestic Relations, Family Law, Divorce

2 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226

Lincoln Hall of Justice – Family Division
Juvenile Delinquency, Neglect, and Abuse

1025 E. Forest Avenue
Detroit, MI 48207

Mediation Tribunal Association – Case Evaluation

333 W. Fort Street
Detroit, MI 48226

Penobscot Building – Friend of the Court

645 Griswold
Detroit, MI 48226

Court Office Hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm – Monday through Friday
Friend of the Court Hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm – Monday through Friday

Criminal Division

The Criminal Division of the Wayne County Circuit Court, located in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, hears all felony cases bound over from the district courts in Wayne County, such as the 36th District Court, and district court criminal appeals from misdemeanor convictions. Some matters are eligible for an expedited docketing process. A felony is a criminal charge with a possible sentence exceeding one year up to life in prison. The Criminal Division judges preside over arraignments on the information (AOI), pretrials, motions, evidentiary and suppression hearings, plea hearings, bench and jury trials, sentencing, appeals from the district courts, and post-judgment motions (such as 6.500 Motions).

Examples of felony matters in Wayne Court include the following:

  • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Third Offense
  • Felonious Assault (Assault with a Deadly Weapon)
  • Felony Firearm and Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct
  • Homicide and Murder
  • Assault with Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm
  • Carrying a Concealed Weapon
  • Domestic Violence – Third Offense
  • Retail Fraud First-Degree
  • White-Collar Crimes (Embezzlement, Fraud, etc.)
  • Drug Possession, Delivery, and Manufacture
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

Felony Arraignment in the Wayne County Circuit Court

Arraignment on the Information (AOI) is the first circuit court hearing in felony matters. Usually, the AOIs occur in the Arraignment Courtrooms; however, more severe charges go directly to one of the various trial judges. At the AOI, the judge reviews the charges and bail with the defendants. The judge will enter a “not guilty” plea for the defendant unless the criminal defense attorney can negotiate a plea deal. Felony charges are resolved by plea bargain, trial, or dismissal.

Although it is always best to retain a criminal defense lawyer when possible, indigent defendants can request court-appointed counsel if there is no other alternative.

The Criminal Division has Several Pretrial Units

Pre-Arraignment Unit

Pretrial Service Specialists interview defendants, conduct prior record investigations, and assess a defendant’s risk of appearing for hearings and their risk to public safety.

Investigations Unit

Pretrial Service Specialists review and evaluate the information from the pre-arraignment interview, conduct prior record investigations, and assess a defendant’s risk of appearing at future hearings and their risk to the public if the judge orders them to serve a term of probation.

Guidelines Unit

Pretrial Service Specialists in this Unit review and assess a defendant’s criminal history information and provide reports to the judges regarding the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.

Supervision Unit

The Supervision Unit monitors defendants on bond and awaiting trial. Defendants unable to post or furnish their bond can always file a Motion to Reduce Bond.

Felony Probation Department

The probation department conducts presentence investigations for defendants awaiting sentencing hearings. The department also investigates and files Wayne County Circuit Court probation violations. Defendants facing a probation violation are subject to prison sentences up to the maximum on their original charge.

Civil Division

The Civil Division is located at Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Avenue.

Detroit, MI 48226. The Civil Division judges hear cases that entail claims of more than $25,000. These cases include medical malpractice, auto negligence, personal injury, contracts, employment discrimination, and receiverships. In addition, the Civil Division Judges are responsible for hearing appeals of district court civil cases and administrative agencies in Wayne County.

Family Division

Cases handled include divorce, paternity, personal protection orders, the emancipation of minors, name changes, parental waivers, and infectious disease matters. These cases might have custody, support, parenting time, property, and other issues. As these matters are generally complex, it is in a litigant’s best interest to have an experienced family law attorney to help navigate the court system and protect their rights. Family Division hearings occur at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (CAYMC). The Friend of the Court (FOC) is in the Penobscot Building, 645 Griswold Street, Detroit, MI 48226. The FOC assists with custody, parenting time, and child support matters.

Family Division-Juvenile

The Family Division judges at the Lincoln Hall of Justice, 1025 E. Forest Avenue, Detroit, MI 48207, hear cases involving juvenile delinquency, abuse and neglect, adoption, and adolescent mental health matters. The Third Circuit Court Clinic for Child Study, a part of the Family Division, provides family-focused services to empower at-risk and court-involved youth and their families to build healthy futures. Several programs are available to Juvenile Division judges, including the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court – S.T.A.N.D. and Truancy Intervention Project (TIP). Juvenile defense lawyers typically represent minors charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses in Michigan.

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