What you need to know about the 40th District Court

The 40th District Court is located at 27600 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores, MI 48081. The phone number for the Court is (586) 445-5200. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

St. Clair Shores 40th District Court – What You Need to Know

The 40th District Court in St. Clair Shores has two sitting judges: The Honorable Chief Judge Joseph C. Oster and the Honorable Mark A. Fratarcangeli. Judge Oster and Judge Fratarcangeli have a fantastic rapport with the St. Clair Shores community. They are generally fair and reasonable. Each has decades of experience on the bench.

Judge Joseph C. Oster was elected in 1996, and Judge Fratarcangeli followed in 2000. Judge Oster has served on numerous boards and has won an award for his work and leadership on domestic violence. Judge Fratarcangeli has initiated several rehabilitative programs, including Drug Court and Driving While License Suspended Court.

The 40th District Court Divisions and Specialty Programs

  • Civil Division: General Civil cases valued under $25,000, Landlord -Tenant disputes that involve evictions and disputes over lease agreements, repairs, and security deposits; and Small claims cases where disputes do not exceed $6,500.
  • Traffic Division: Civil Infractions written up by local or state police departments. Respondents may have the option of a formal or informal hearing.
  • Probation Division: The department responsible for assessing an individual convicted of a misdemeanor and conducting a presentence investigation. Once a probation officer finishes an investigation, the department recommends a sentence of up to one year in the Macomb County Jail and up to two years of probation. The department also assists in the prosecution of probation violation charges.
  • Domestic Violence Prevention Program: This program aims to teach Domestic Violence Offenders alternative methods of dealing with disputes instead of resorting to violence. The program also teaches the effects and impacts of assaultive behavior. A counselor teaches the class consisting of 5 one-half-hour sessions.
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Misdemeanors in the 40th District Court

Misdemeanor violations are crimes where the maximum punishment is one year in jail and two years of probation. Examples of common misdemeanors in the 40th District Court include the following:

  • Retail Fraud
  • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)
  • Driving with a Suspended License
  • Domestic Violence
  • Disorderly Conduct                 
  • Larceny                                  
  • Assault and Battery                  
  • Malicious Destruction of Property                                        

Generally, each criminal case is handled differently depending on the facts and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Although a misdemeanor may seem like a small charge, it can significantly impact your life and future. Misdemeanors go on your criminal record, can affect your employment, result in immigration issues, disrupt your civil rights (such as your right to possess firearms or vote), and more. If you are charged with a crime in the future, a judge can consider your misdemeanor conviction to justify a more severe punishment.

If you or someone you know is facing a misdemeanor charge, it is best to consult with an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney to help guide you through the legal process.

Felony Prosecutions in the 40th District Court in St. Clair Shores

Felony crimes in Macomb County are punishable by a sentence exceeding one year. However, the 40th District Court would only handle the early stages of felony proceedings. In a felony case, the 40th District Court would handle the arraignment, probable cause conference, and preliminary examination.


Arraignment is where the judge advises the defendant of the charges, and the defendant enters a plea (usually not guilty). A judge will then determine the defendant’s bond. When determining the bond amount, the judge will consider factors such as the crime alleged, the defendant’s criminal history, danger to the community, and flight risk if the defendant is released.

Probable Cause Conference (PCC)

The probable cause conference is the initial meeting between the prosecution and defense attorney, allowing the parties to discuss the case, a potential plea deal, defense arguments for dismissal of charges, and whether the Court should schedule a preliminary examination. The Court must hold a PCC not less than seven (7) days or more than 14 days after arraignment unless the parties waive the time limitation.

Preliminary Examination (PE)

A preliminary examination is an in-court hearing where the prosecution, using the probable cause standard, has to prove that the defendant committed a felony. If the District Court judge finds that the evidence is sufficient against the defendant, the case will be bound over to the Macomb County Circuit Court. A preliminary examination must be held within 21 days of the arrest unless the parties waive that time limitation or the judge finds good cause for additional time. If there is insufficient evidence, the judge will dismiss the felony charge.

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Pretrial Bond in the 40th District Court in St. Clair Shores, Michigan

Except in limited situations, such as murder cases, judges set bonds in amounts unique to each defendant’s individual circumstances and allegations they face. Types of bonds include:

  • Personal Bond: The judge will set a specific amount that the defendant would promise to pay if they violate the bond terms or fail to appear in court.
  • Cash bond: The judge would typically order a cash bond if the defendant poses a flight risk or is a danger to the community. The defendant must make a full payment to the court before being released.
  • 10% Bond: The judge will set a bond amount, and the defendant must pay 10% to the court. If the defendant fails to appear in court or violates the terms of the bond, the defendant will forfeit the 10% and will be required to pay the rest of the amount set forth by the judge.
  • Surety Bond: The defendant can hire a bondsman to post the bond in the case of a surety bond. Bondsmen charge high fees to post bonds, typically 10% of the bond’s amount.

Getting a bond is more challenging and critical than it may seem. Being released on a pretrial bond is essential because you can remain employed or in school, care for your family, create a track record of following the law, and help you communicate with and assist in your defense.

If you cannot post bond, you would have to stay in jail through your trial. Remaining free on bond allows you to prove to the judge that you can abide by the law and deserve leniency. Your best bet is to find an experienced and reputable Macomb County attorney to ensure you get a low or personal bond. Freedom is priceless.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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St. Clair Shores History

St. Clair Shores, home to the 40th District Court, has a population of 59,046 and is considered a Detroit suburb. Most residents in St. Clair Shores are ethnically and racially diverse. Most residents in St. Clair Shores own their homes and tend to lean conservatively. St. Clair Shores has family-friendly neighborhoods and above-average schools.

St. Clair Shores is known for its association with the Miss America Organization through the Miss St. Clair Shores program, where the winner competes in the Miss Michigan Pageant. Also, St. Clair Shores is known for its ties to Detroit’s musical history and hockey associations. St. Clair Shores has more state hockey championships than any other rink in the state. Lastly, one of St. Clair Shores’ biggest highlights is the connection to Lake St. Clair, which people can see from various parks throughout the city.