Criminal Department

Prosecuting Cases

All criminal cases prosecuted within the Township of Waterford are started at the 51st District Court. The Court processes misdemeanor and high misdemeanor cases from arraignment through sentencing and felony cases (more serious crimes) from arraignment through preliminary exam. Criminal cases involve serious offenses that carry possible penalties of fines, costs and/or jail time.

Common Misdemeanor Cases

Common misdemeanor cases processed by the Criminal Department include:

  • Assault and Battery
  • Domestic Violence
  • Driving While License Suspended
  • Drunk Driving
  • Retail Fraud

Key Terms & Information


Defendant is advised of rights, advised of charge, advised of possible penalties, bond is set, and a plea may be entered. 


A pre-trial is an exchange of information between the defense and prosecution. The defendant may choose to enter a plea at this time or proceed to trial.

Probable Cause Conferences and Preliminary Exams

In felony cases, the defendant is entitled to a probable cause conference and preliminary examination within 21 days of arraignment. The purpose of the preliminary exam is for the Judge to determine if there is probable cause that a crime was committed, and that the defendant committed the crime. If probable cause is established, the Judge will then bind the case over to the Oakland County Circuit Court.


For misdemeanor cases, at sentencing, a penalty is applied by the Judge for defendants who have been convicted of or plead guilty to a crime. Possible sentences may include fines, costs, community service, substance abuse treatment, probation, and jail time.


Full payments on criminal and probation fines and costs can be paid online using a major credit card, debit or pre-paid debit card. To make a payment, please visit our Court Payments page.

Setting Aside a Conviction

Additional information on and applications to set aside conviction can be found here. 


Warrants may be issued in one of two ways:

  1. When a law enforcement agent swears to new charges before the Judge or Magistrate and a warrant is issued.
  2. When the Judge or Magistrate issues a warrant for a failure to appear.

If you believe you may have a warrant, please call the Court to confirm. You may also appear in person to be arraigned in front of the Judge or Magistrate in order to remove the warrant.

Walk-In Arraignment Times (M-F):

  • 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM
  • 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Criminal Department
51st District Court
5100 Civic Center Drive
Waterford, MI 48329
Phone: 248-618-7591
Fax: 248-674-4476