47th District Court in Farmington Hills, Michigan
The 47th District Court serves the cities of Farmington and Farmington Hills, Michigan. The court handles minor civil matters, misdemeanors, and the initial hearings in all felony cases.
The Farmington Hills District Court
The 47th District Court in Farmington Hills is located at 31605 West Eleven Mile Road. Its jurisdiction is the cities of Farmington and Farmington Hills. All traffic, misdemeanors, and felony offenses in Farmington and Farmington Hills start there. Two judges work in the 47th District Court. Each judge has a reputation for fairness and moderation. The court staff and judges make the 47th District Court a venue where a defendant can get a fair hearing, so long as they have well-qualified, prepared legal counsel.
The Civil Division is responsible for landlord-tenant cases, civil claims, and lawsuits up to $25,000. Generally, the 47th District Court has jurisdiction if the defendant (person being sued) resides or conducts business in the City of Farmington or Farmington Hills.
Misdemeanors in the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills
The 47th District Court handles misdemeanors arising in Farmington Hills and the City of Farmington. The most common charges include the following:
- domestic violence,
- assault and battery,
- disorderly person,
- drunk driving (OWI, DUI, OWVI, etc.),
- driving on a suspended driver’s license (DWLS),
- larceny in a building,
- theft and fraud misdemeanors,
- malicious destruction of property,
- retail fraud (shoplifting), and more.
Misdemeanors include all local and state charges with a maximum possible penalty of one year in the Oakland County Jail or less. The maximum period of probation is two (2) years. The first hearing in a misdemeanor case is the arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge tells the defendant the charges and sets a bond, which can be personal recognizance, 10%, cash, or surety. After the arraignment, the court schedules misdemeanor cases for a pretrial conference. At the pretrial, the defense lawyer and prosecutor discuss possible resolutions (called a plea bargain), dismissal, and whether there will be a bench or jury trial. A defense attorney is essential when someone faces a criminal charge to secure a low or personal bond, minimize charges, reduce any potential sentence, and fight for a dismissal of the case.
Farmington Hills Felony Charges
The initial hearings of felony cases arising in Farmington Hills or the City of Farmington start in the 47th District Court. The initial appearance is called the arraignment. At the felony arraignment, a defendant will either self-surrender on an arrest warrant or the police someone in their custody to court. Having a top defense lawyer at the arraignment is vital so that the defendant does not get a high bond and then remains in custody pending the case’s outcome.
After the arraignment, the court will schedule the felony case for a Probable Cause Conference (PCC) and a Preliminary Examination. The PCC must occur within seven (7) days of the arraignment. At the PCC, the defense lawyer and state prosecutor will discuss the need for a preliminary examination, discovery issues, potential motion practice, and more. Sometimes, the prosecutor and defense might agree on a plea bargain to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor. If the felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, the defendant enters a plea, and the judge schedules the case for a sentencing hearing. The most aggressive lawyers fight for dismissal of the charges right from the first hearing date.
If the case doesn’t get resolved or dismissed, it proceeds to a Preliminary Examination, which is similar to an evidentiary hearing. At the exam, the prosecutor must present witnesses and evidence proving the defendant committed a felony. If the prosecutor introduces evidence of the defendant’s guilt to a probable cause standard, the case is transferred to the Oakland County Circuit Court for further proceedings and, possibly, trial. The judge will dismiss the case if the prosecutor fails to produce sufficient evidence.
The felony offenses heard in the 47th District Court include any of the following:
- drug offenses,
- white-collar crimes,
- identity theft,
- felonious assault,
- weapons crimes,
- theft offenses such as larceny, embezzlement, and fraud,
- retail fraud 1st degree (shoplifting),
- auto theft,
- drunk driving 3rd offense,
- criminal sexual conduct,
- homicide, and many others.
What You Need to Know About Avoiding Jail and Convictions in the 47th District Court
The judges in Farmington Hills have a reputation for being fair but stern. They will consider programs, such as 7411 for first-time drug offenses, the Domestic Violence Statute (MCL 769.4a), and Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) for young offenders. This court also has a Sobriety Court Program designed to help people with substance abuse problems. Assuming a lawyer can persuade a 47th District Court judge to consider a remedial statute, such as the ones mentioned above, a defendant can avoid a conviction and jail, even when all hope seems lost.
Probation Department for the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills
The Probation Department performs presentence interviews and investigations and oversees individuals sentenced to supervision in the 47th District Court. The probation officer is tasked with meeting the defendant monthly, assisting the defendant in securing entry into therapy, community service, and treatment programs, and verifying the defendant’s compliance with all aspects of the judge’s sentencing order.
The Farmington Hills judges tend to be reasonable when sentencing a misdemeanor offender; however, they often impose stiff jail sentences for probation violations. Unfortunately, well-intentioned, honorable people make mistakes. We are all human, after all. An order of probation can have several complicated, confusing terms and conditions. The slightest mistake or misunderstanding can result in incarceration. Working with a qualified, experienced defense lawyer is essential for anyone facing a probation violation in the 47th District Court.
The Judges in Farmington Hills
Judge Marla E. Parker
She has been a Judge of the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills since 2002. Before her election to the bench, Judge Parker was a magistrate for the Court and maintained a private law practice in Farmington Hills. She has served several times as the Court’s chief judge. Judge Parker is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Oakland County Bar Association (OCBA), the Women’s Bar Association, the National Association of Women Judges, and the American Bar Association. She is a past president of the Oakland County District Judges Association and is a former member of the OCBA Board of Directors. She is a frequent speaker at seminars for new lawyers and has also been a faculty member for the Michigan Judicial Institute’s new judges seminar. Judge Parker holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School.
Judge James E. Brady
He was elected district judge in November 2002 and began his first six-year term on January 1, 2003. He served two years as the Court’s chief judge from 2004 to 2005. Before Judge Brady’s election to the bench, he served the Court for 17 years as a magistrate, appointed in 1986 by Judge Margaret Schaeffer. Also, he served as an assistant prosecutor for Oakland County from 1980 – 1984 and worked in the private practice of law from 1984 – 2002. He earned a Bachelor of General Studies degree in 1975 from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor in 1979 from Wayne State University Law School.
Defense Attorneys With a Track Record of Success
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. frequently appear before the 47th District Court judges. The court staff and judges respect our lawyers’ integrity, experience, and professionalism. Our attorneys come to court prepared and ready to defend our clients, and the judges appreciate that. It is understood that when one of the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. appears in the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills, they are there to win.
We take our responsibility of representing clients and protecting their rights seriously. Our attorneys have spent their entire professional careers ensuring the government is held accountable and not allowed to take any shortcuts in its prosecutions. If you are facing criminal charges, you need to best legal help available. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is that help. We are not afraid to win!
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.