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Many Michigan Judges Are Tough on First Offense OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) Sentences

There are several judges in Michigan who are making a name based on how tough they are on first offenders who are convicted of OWI.

The Honorable Kim Small in the 48th Judicial District Court in Bloomfield Hills for example, has a reputation for sentencing first time offenders to serve time in the Oakland County Jail. A few lawyers have been successful in getting Judge Small not to order jail time but they are few and far between. Judge MacKenzie in the 52-1 District Court in Novi is rather infamous for his tough treatment on those convicted of OWI cases.


Great DUI defense attorneys who are known for their trial skills and ability to successfully handle trials on OWI cases are generally able to achieve plea bargains and dismissals that other, less proficient, criminal defense lawyers or general practice lawyers cannot get for their clients. Although not common, plea bargains to reckless driving, careless driving and other non-alcohol related offenses are possible under the right circumstances.



Although the majority of OWI cases get resolved with plea bargains, some cases just have to go to trial. For example, Loren Dickstein with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., recently represented a doctor who was charged with OWID (Operating While Under the Influence of Drugs) and went to jury trial in the 48th Judicial District Court in Bloomfield Hills. The verdict was not guilty! Trial Attorneys and Criminal Defense Attorneys Loren Dickstein and Randy Lewis, the partners with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., have successfully defendant hundreds of OWI cases with several resulting in not guilty verdicts at trial and several resulting in plea bargains to non-alcohol related offenses and dismissals.


Other courts and judge’s in Oakland County are notorious for tough sentences on OWI and MIP (Minor in Possession) cases. Lawyers who are not used to practicing in Oakland County frequently will just refuse to take a case in that jurisdiction.



Other examples of tough courts and judges in Oakland County include:

52-1 District Court in Novi, Judges Brian MacKenzie, Dennis Powers and Robert Bondy
52-2 District Court in Clarkston, Judges Joseph Fabrizio and Kelley Kostin
52-3 District Court in Rochester, Judges Lisa Asadoorian, Nancy Carniak and Julie Nicholson
52-4 District Court in Troy, Judges Kirsten Nielsen Hartig and William Bolle
35th District Court in Plymouth, Judges Ronald Lowe, Michael Gerou, and James A. Plakas
43rd District Court in Hazel Park, Judge Charles Goedert
43rd District Court in Madison Heights, Judge Keith Hunt
43rd District Court in Ferndale, Judge Joseph Longo
44th District Court in Royal Oak, Judges Terrence Brennan and Derek Mineke
45-A District Court in Berkley, Judge James Wittenberg
45-B District Court in Oak Park, Judges Michelle Friedman Appel and David Gubow
46th District Court in Southfield, Judges William Richards, Sheila Johnson and Deborah Nance
47th District Court in Farmington Hills, Judges James Brady and Marla Parker
48th District Court in Bloomfield Hills, Kimberly Small, Judges Marc Barron and Diane D’Agostini
50th District Court in Pontiac
51st District Court in Waterford, Judge Richard Kuhn and Jodi Debbrecht

Courts in other jurisdictions to watch out in include:

Wayne County:

16th District Court - Livonia
17th District Court - Redford
18th District Court - Westland
19th District Court - Dearborn
20th District Court - Dearborn Heights
21st District Court - Garden City
22nd District Court - Inkster
23rd District Court - Taylor
24th District Court - Allen Park and Melvindale
25th District Court - Lincoln Park
26-1 District Court - River Rouge
26-2 District Court - Escorse
27 District Court - Wyandotte
27 District Court - Riverview
28 District Court - Southgate
29 District Court - Wayne
30 District Court - Highland Park
31 District Court - Hamtramck
32A District Court - Harper Woods
33rd District Court - Trenton, Rockwood, Flat Rock, Woodhaven, Brownstown, Grosse Ile.
34th District Court - Romulus, Belleville
35th District Court - Northville, Plymouth, Canton Township
36th District Court – Detroit

In Livingston County:

53rd District Court - Brighton and Howell

In Washtenaw County:

15th District Court - Ann Arbor
14A District Court - Ypsilanti Township
14B District Court - Balance of Washtenaw County

In Genesee County:

67-1 District Court - Flushing, Flint, Montrose
67-2 District Court - Davison, Burton, Twps. of Davison, Forest, and Richfield.
67-3 District Court - city of Mt. Morris, Twp of Mt. Morris and Twp. of Genesee
67-4 District Court - Cities of Fenton, Grand Lanc and Swartz Creek, Twps. of Fenton, Grand Blanc, Mundy, Gaines and Clayton

In Kent County:

59th District Court - Grandville and Walker
61 - Grand Rapids
62A - Wyoming
62B- Kentwood

In Saginaw:

70-1 District Court - City of Saginaw
70-2 District Court - Balance of Sagniaw County

Elsewhere in Michigan:

65B District Court - Gratiot
72nd District Court - St. Clair
83rd District Court - Roscommon
54A District Court - City of Lansing
54B District Court - City of East Lansing
55th District Court - Balance of Ingham County
12th District Court - Jackson
8th District Court - Kalamazoo
59th District Court - Cities of Grandville and Walker
61st District Court - City of Grand Rapids
62A District Court - City of Wyoming
62B District Court - City of Kentwood
41A District Court - Lapeer
2A District Court - Lenawee
75th District Court - Midland
1st District Court - Monroe
72nd District Court - St. Clair
66th District Court - Shiawassee


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