The 44th District Court – Royal Oak and Berkley, Michigan

The 44th District Court has exclusive jurisdiction over Royal Oak and Berkley misdemeanors allegations and the early stages of felony prosecutions.

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Lawyers Experienced With the 44th District Court in Royal Oak

The 44th District Court is located at 400 East Eleven Mile Road in Royal Oak, Michigan. Its jurisdiction covers the cities of Royal Oak and Berkley. The merger of the City of Berkley into this jurisdiction occurred in 2015. Before that time, the City of Berkley had its own district court, but it was closed and merged with Royal Oak as a cost-cutting measure.

This Court hears all traffic, felony, and misdemeanor offenses out of Berkley or Royal Oak. These communities have thriving entertainment districts, so this court is extremely busy. Two judges serve this court. The judges have a reputation as being no-nonsense but also fair. The prosecutors are experienced and do not hesitate to push for harsh sentences.

Criminal Charges in Royal Oak, Michigan

Misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and two (2) years of probation. Felony charges are punishable by greater than one year and up to five (5) years of probation. The 44th District Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all proceedings related to misdemeanors. For felony cases, the district court judges preside over arraignments, probable cause conferences, and preliminary examinations. The court also has a Sobriety Court Program designed to help people with substance abuse problems.

Misdemeanor Charges

The 44th District Court handles misdemeanor offenses from the start through sentencing. These offenses can include:

Felony Charges in the 44th District Court

Felony offenses are started at this court for a probable cause determination, then transferred to the Oakland County Circuit Court for trial. The Court will preside over the early stages of criminal charges, including 3rd offense OWI/DUI, felonious assault, identity theft, weapons and firearms offenses, certain drug offenses, drug delivery, and many others, including criminal sexual conduct and murder.

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The Judges of the 44th District Court:

Judge Andrew Kowalkowski

Judge Kowalkowski was an administrative hearing officer with the Michigan Driver Assessment and License Appeal Offices (DAAD) of the Michigan Department of State. Before working for the Michigan Department of State, the judge worked as a criminal defense lawyer at several law firms. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his law degree from Wayne State University.

Judge Derek Meinecke

He was elected to the 44th District Court in November 2012. He received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in 1996 and his law degree from the Wayne State University Law School in 2000. Before his election to the 44th District Court, Judge Meinecke was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Oakland County, Michigan. He also served as a former clerk for retired 44th District Court Judge Daniel Sawicki.

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Probation Violations in the 44th District Court

The probation department in Royal Oak is known for bringing all technical and substantive violates to the judges’ attention. When a probation officer accuses someone of a violation, they file a Probation Violation Petition and request an arrest warrant. The prosecutor must prove a defendant guilty of violation by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning more likely than not). If convicted of probation violation, they can be sentenced up to the maximum for the original offense. For example, if someone is placed on probation for retail fraud – 3rd degree (shoplifting) and violates probation, they face up to 93 days in jail. If they are on probation for Aggravated Domestic Violence, a one-year offense, they can be sentenced to as much as one year in the Oakland County Jail (OCJ).

Defending probation violations is complex. The defense can argue for an acquittal because the defendant is not guilty of the violation or a reduced sentence if there is a proven violation. The defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have an unparalleled track record of successfully advocating for dismissing probation violation charges and extraordinarily lenient sentences. We know every available defense and will leave no stone unturned to keep clients out of jail.

Avoiding Convictions

The judges of the 44th District Court in Royal Oak participate in various programs designed to help defendants avoid jail and convictions. There are programs to help those with addictions, mental health challenges, and U.S. military veterans. Additionally, the judges permit defendants charged with domestic violence, OWI 2nd offense, and drug possession charges to serve probation periods in exchange for deals to avoid jail and, in some cases, convictions. Defendants under 26 years old without a serious criminal history are eligible can negotiate for a plea under advisement, called Holmes Youthful Training Act, that keeps their charges off any public record and avoids any public conviction. It is best to have a top criminal defense attorney to ensure a defendant has the best odds of getting all available opportunities for compassionate treatment in this notoriously conservative court.

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Your Best Defense in Royal Oak District Court

If you face felony or misdemeanor charges in Royal Oak, Michigan, you will want lawyers with vast experience and a track record of success in the 44th District Court. If you call the team at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., a seasoned and tenacious defense attorney will take the time to talk with you, answer all your questions, and address your concerns. We will find a way to help you!

What can you expect from hiring a Royal Oak defense lawyer with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. to defend you against a criminal charge in the 44th District Court?

  • Fearless, zealous, and loyal representation in and out of court.
  • Outstanding communication and prompt responses to all calls and emails.
  • Transparency regarding the progress of your case, communications with the prosecutor, and evidence for and against you.
  • Skilled, savvy, and intelligent plea and sentence negotiations.
  • Outstanding trial advocacy for jury and bench trials when fighting for an acquittal.
  • Persistence throughout your representation and a refusal to accept any outcome other than the best possible resolution.

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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History of Royal Oak

Royal Oak is a city in Oakland County, Michigan, United States. It was first settled in the early 1800s, and by 1831, a post office was established in the area. The city’s name is said to have been inspired by a large oak tree that stood in the center of the town during the 1800s. The tree served as a meeting place for early settlers and a landmark for travelers. In 1891, Royal Oak was incorporated as a village, and in 1921, it became a city.

During the 20th century, Royal Oak experienced significant growth and development. In the 1920s and 1930s, the city became a hub for automobile manufacturing, with companies such as the General Motors Technical Center and the Ford Motor Company’s Highland Park Plant establishing operations in the area. The city’s population also increased, reaching 50,000 by the 1950s. Today, Royal Oak is known for its thriving downtown area, home to numerous shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The city also hosts several annual events, including the Arts, Beats, and Eats festival.