In my role as a Michigan criminal and DUI lawyer, I regularly handle cases in each of the four 52 district courts in Oakland County. This short installment will focus on the 52-1 district court, located in Novi. This 3-Judge court takes care of all cases arising in the following municipalities: Commerce Township, Highland Township, Lyon Township (and South Lyon), Milford Township (and the Village of Milford), Novi (and Novi Township), the Village of Wolverine Lake, Walled Lake and Wixom. By far one of the busiest courts in the Metropolitan Detroit area, the 52-1 court, or “Novi,” as it’s usually called, is not a bad place to face a DUI or other criminal charge.
To that end, there really is no “good” place to be in a criminal or drunk driving situation, but there are plenty of courts that can be extremely hard on things like DUI and marijuana charges. While no court will pass out a gift certificate and thank you for getting in trouble, if there’s one defining characteristic of the 52-1 district court, it reasonableness, and when you’re on the wrong end of a DUI or criminal, or drug charge, you really can’t ask for anything better, or more. Yet even the idea of “reasonable” has to be qualified geographically; the courts in Oakland County are generally perceived (and for the most part correctly) as tougher than either Macomb or Wayne County. Still, there is no Judge in this court that is jail happy, so that’s a good start.
Now, for everything I could say about Novi, it’s quite likely that you’re reading this because either you or someone you care about is facing a DUI or other kind of criminal charge in this court. I doubt the reader cares much about the founding fathers of the various communities that the court covers or any of the celebrations, fairs or festivals they have during the year. You care, and so do I, about what is going to happen in a criminal or drinking and driving case. If I haven’t made clear already, then let me clarify here: This is a genuinely decent court where you can still get a break. “Break,” in this sense means no jail and no crazy probation loaded up with all kinds of things like classes, counseling, community service and testing.
At this point, conventional wisdom suggests that I provide some biography about the 3 Judges in this court, but instead, I will simply link to those already on the court’s website. If I have a case, about the only thing I care about the Judge is whether he or she is lenient (think forgiving) or tough (think not understanding). The 3 Judges in Novi (Robert Bondy, Travis Reeds and David Law) are all way more than sufficiently experienced, and none has any kind of hang ups or quirks that makes him anything less than reasonable on the bench. That alone is a good break. And while the Judge is a critically important component in the scheme of things, the probation department also plays a key role in deciding what happens to you. Probation, for example, handles the mandatory alcohol screening in DUI cases that ultimately results in a written sentencing recommendation that, by and large, is the “blueprint” for what is going to happen to you.
Novi, as it turns out, has a probation department that is solidly moderate. Almost by definition, probation officers are and cannot be lenient. In the world of probation officers and departments, you go from strict to moderate. If you’ve figured that moderate is about as good as it gets, then you’re doing a good job of keeping up here. There are plenty of courts, particularly in Oakland County, where the probation departments are really tough. This isn’t one of them, and that’s good for you if you have a case in the Novi district court.
I try to be as informational as possible in my blog postings, but in the interests of diplomacy, there are certain things that simply should not be shared in an article. This means that if I’m your lawyer, you’ll get the full lowdown on the things I can’t say here, but at least I can tell the reader that there is no bad news coming if you’re case is in Novi. As I noted before, this is a truly reasonable court in all respects. As far as that goes, you can’t do much better, but you sure can do a lot worse.
If you’re facing a DUI or other criminal charge in this court, or any other in Oakland, Macomb or Wayne County, do your homework, search around this blog, read what other lawyers have written, and pick up the phone and call around. When you’re ready to consider which lawyer to hire for your DUI or criminal case and want my take on your situation, call my office anytime Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, at 586-465-1980. We’re here to help.