As a lawyer with a vibrant Macomb County DUI practice (my website’s URL www.macombduidefense.com is a pretty big clue), I know the differences between all the courts, and, indeed, the differences between the various Judges working in the same courthouses within the county limits. Handling the cases for all the cities, townships and villages in Macomb County are the 9 district courts in Warren (37th district), Eastpointe (38th district), Roseville (39th district), St. Clair Shores (40th district), Sterling Heights (41A district – Sterling), Shelby Township (41A district – Shelby), Clinton Township (41B district), New Baltimore (42-2 district) and Romeo (42-1 district). Felony (3rd offense) DUI cases are decided in the Macomb County Circuit Court in Mt. Clemens, directly across the street from my office. While each court is different, and every Judge unique, the one unifying factor that is the hallmark of the entire district and circuit court structure of Macomb County, at least as far as DUI cases are concerned, is the sheer excellence of the Judges.
This is not intended to be some “suck up” piece, nor is it my intention to imply that there aren’t plenty of other top notch Judges in Oakland or Wayne counties. Rather, this very short article is meant to put anyone facing a DUI charge in Macomb County at ease, or as least as much at ease as possible, given the situation. The beauty of practicing in Macomb County as a local DUI lawyer is that every Judge here is excellent, and you won’t find one “stinker” in the lot. In all candor, a very important factor that gives a Judge high marks in my book is how fair (the reader may think “lenient”) he or she can be. I don’t confuse leniency with being spineless, or less intelligent, but rather what I’d call appropriately flexible. It is both easy and efficient for a Judge to take a one-size-fits-all approach to drunk driving cases and hammer everyone. Beyond making things easy, there is ZERO political risk in being known as “tough” on drunk drivers. It requires more courage, effort and a refined intellect to fashion a fair and reasonable sentence in any given case than it does to just be tough across the board.
To be perfectly honest, there are some Judges I’d rather have in any one case over another, but that could easily flip in a different situation. Consider this example: Judge “A” is usually very understanding toward 1st offense DUI offenders, but rather firm (here, the reader may think “tough”) in 2nd offense cases. By contrast, Judge “B” may not be as lenient in a 1st offense case, but may turn out to be more understanding to a 2nd time DUI offender who has been appropriately guided to take the right steps to help in his or her case. Every Judge on the bench today used to practice law before he or she became a Judge, and you can be sure that each one of them had their own preferences amongst the Judges before whom they appeared. Yet for all that, the Judges of Macomb County don’t vary widely by being all over the map in terms of being lenient versus tough. Instead, there is a consistency of fairness that applies across the board here that just serves to make things better in any DUI case that arises in Macomb County as opposed to anywhere else…
A drinking and driving charge is always what I call an accident of geography. No one gets in his or her car intending to be arrested for a DUI. DUI cases just “happen,” even if, looking back on the circumstances, it’s not that much of a surprise why. Since no one plans on getting pulled over for driving over the limit, no thought is given to the idea that if you get pulled over on the Oakland County side of Dequindre for a DUI, things will be a lot tougher than if you get pulled over on the Macomb County side. You drive to where you’re going with no intention to drive drunk in the first place, much less get pulled over for doing so. The gravity of the “where” aspect only sinks in after things go bad. In a 1st offense DUI case, for example, no matter how you slice it, facing the charge anywhere in Macomb County is almost always “better,” as in less horrible, than having to deal with it anywhere else.
That’s not to paint too rosy a picture, however. The court that will charge you the most for your DUI is in Macomb County, as are a couple of courts that DO NOT give time to pay those fines and costs. Even so, most Macomb County district courts do not require community service, while most in Oakland and many in Wayne counties do. In some situations, it is possible in 1st offense cases to wind up with non-reporting probation, or even no probation; this never happens in Oakland County and rarely happens in Wayne. This is not a matter of getting off easy, but rather the result of a Judge carefully considering things and realizing that the person before him or her is unlikely to ever do this again.
Sure, it would be better to not have to face a DUI at all, but if yours is anywhere in Macomb County, you at least have something to be grateful about right out of the gate. As a local, Macomb County based DUI attorney, I can certainly help make sure that you get every other advantage, as well.