The first hearing in court for a felony Animal Cruelty charge is the Arraignment and it will occur either at the Washtenaw County Jail or the 14A-1 District Court. The Magistrate will advise the defendant of the charge and ask how the defendant pleads. It is crucial that an experienced lawyer reviews the investigation records and properly counsels a defendant in this position. With possible jail or prison time at stake, decisions made during this period will have a strong impact on your future. At this time the Magistrate will also set a Preliminary Examination date to be held within 1-2 weeks from the Arraignment.