In this 8th, and next-to-last article in my series about DUI cases in local, Macomb County Courts, we’ll take a look at the 38th District Court in Eastpointe. Formerly a “Municipal” (meaning part-time) Court, the caseload in Eastpointe had long ago grown to the point that a full-time District Court was needed.
Since this article is an overview of the Court, rather than the DUI process in general, anyone seeking more information about DUI’s should read the Drunk Driving section of this blog, and scroll down, past the local Macomb County Court ratings, and read those articles which apply to their situation.
Located on Nine Mile Rd., the 38th District Court anchors the southernmost part of Macomb County. Although it may be a bit away from the County seat in Mt. Clemens (where my Office is located), the Eastpointe Court is solidly “Macomb County,” and that’s a good thing.
Elected to the Bench in 2009, the Court is headed by Judge Carl Gerds. Like Judge William Hackel in the 42-2 District Court in New Baltimore, this guy is a gift. Judge Gerds is a “real guy” in every sense of the word, and you couldn’t find a someone with a bad thing to say about him if you spoke to every person on the planet. Intelligent, and personable, Judge Gerds took the Bench after a long and successful career as a Private Lawyer. His down-to-earth approach allows him to speak to those Appearing before him as real, regular people. In other words, he’ll never “talk down” to anyone.
Judge Gerds, like Judge LeDuc in the 42-1 District Court in Romeo, tends to be “fatherly” in his approach to DUI Defendants. This means that beyond being intelligent and nice, but firm, he actually and obviously cares about those that come before him.
His kindness, however, should not be confused with any lack of resolve. Anyone who Violates a term of his Probation will get a quick lesson in Jail etiquette.
In a 1st Offense DUI, Jude Gerds, like most of the Judges that make being a Macomb County Lawyer such a plus, is more than willing to give anyone a break and chalk things up to a misjudgment. This means a 1st time DUI Offender can, if their case is handled properly, not only avoid Jail, but either avoid Probation altogether, or at least avoid difficult “Probation from Hell” and even wind up on Non-Reporting Probation.
2nd Offense DUI’s are not quite so easy. When a person appears before Judge Gerds for a DUI 2nd Offense, they had better have been adequately prepared by their Lawyer before they ever even walk into Court. If that’s done, however, a DUI 2nd can be worked out to not only avoid Jail, but to keep the terms of any Probation manageable.
The Court’s Probation Department is likewise “down-to-earth.” At the risk of perhaps saying too much, this Probation Department has far more bark than bite, and that’s because the Probation Department must keep those under its wing in line. That’s not to say it’s not tough; it is. Still, most people who are properly Represented find that things work out much better than they might have at first thought. Obviously, in a 2nd Offense DUI, staying out of Jail is pretty much the whole goal, and given that it can be done without much difficulty if a person is willing to undertake the necessary work to do that, I’m sure they’d agree that walking out the front door of the Court, instead of being led out the back door in handcuffs, is a success.
Fines and Costs in this Court are always reasonable. Judge Gerds takes a rather pedestrian approach in that regard. No matter how you cut it, a DUI is going to cost a lot, but the 38th District Court tends to charge less than most.
Given that, with proper Representation, pretty much all 1st and 2nd Offense DUI Defendants can be kept out of Jail, and that many 1st Offenders can wind up with either no Probation, or at least Non-Reporting Probation, this is clearly a good Court in which to have to deal with a bad situation like a DUI.
Like all Macomb County DUI Lawyers, this Court is amongst my favorite in which to Practice.
Final Verdict: An Extremely Good Macomb County Court in which to face a DUI
If I was facing a DUI, and knowing what I know, here’s how I’d rate the 38th District Court in Eastpointe, from 1 to 5, with 1 being the worst, and 5 being the best:
4.5 for a First Offense.
4.0 for a Second Offense.