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Branch County Courthouse

31 Division St.
Coldwater, MI 49036

Hours

Monday - Friday
8:00am - 4:50pm

Phone

517.279.4300

Frequently Asked Question:

Additional solutions can be found on each department's page

Definitions for some court-related phrases
MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES
The court exercises jurisdiction over virtually all misdemeanors. The maximum possible sentence for such offenses recognizable in this court is confinement in the County Jail for up to one year and a $2,000 fine. These classes of misdemeanors which include offenses such as operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana, illegal entry, and aggravated assault are initiated and tried to conclusion in the District Court.
 
FELONY OFFENSES
All felony cases are initiated in the District Court. Felonies are offenses which carry a possible sentence to State Prison. An accused charged with a felony is entitled to a Preliminary Examination before the District Judge. At the hearing the Court must determine whether two required elements have been established by the evidence: (1) that crime charged has been committed; and (2) that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant charged committed the crime. If the Court is satisfied that those two elements have been established, the defendant is bound over to Circuit Court for trial. If the Court is not so satisfied, the charge is dismissed.
 
CIVIL INFRACTIONS
The Court has jurisdiction over all traffic matters which were previously misdemeanor offenses but which pertains to minor traffic offenses which were decriminalized and are now deemed to be civil infractions. Serious offenses such as operating while intoxicated, operating while visibly impaired, fleeing and eluding a police officer, reckless driving, and driving while license suspended continue to be criminal offenses and are not affected by the civil infraction law. Additionally, juveniles charged with civil infractions are also under the jurisdiction of District Court.
 
CIVIL LITIGATION
The Court exercises jurisdiction over all civil disputes between parties wherein the amount in controversy does not exceed $25,000.
 
SUMMARY PROCEEDINGS
Exclusive jurisdiction is exercised over these matters by District Court. Summary proceedings involve landlord-tenant eviction cases and land contract forfeiture actions.
 
SMALL CLAIMS
The Court has complete jurisdiction over cases filed under the Small Claims Act. These cases are civil in nature and involve an amount in controversy not to exceed $5,500.


posted 03-11-2016 [District Court 3-A]