Rochester Hills 52-3 District Court – What You Need to Know

The 52-3 District Court is located in Rochester Hills, Michigan, but its jurisdiction is most of northeastern Oakland County.

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What You Need to Know About the 52-3 Rochester District Court

The 52-3 District Court is located at 700 Barclay Circle, Rochester Hills, Michigan 48307. Its jurisdiction covers most of northeast Oakland County, Michigan. This court handles all traffic, misdemeanor, and felony offenses in Addison Township, Auburn Hills, Lake Angelus, Oakland Township, Orion Township, Oxford Township, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Village of Lake Orion, Village of Leonard, and Village of Oxford. It is a very busy court with three judges and three magistrates. The 52-3 District Court judges are some of the toughest in Oakland County.

Misdemeanor Charges in Rochester Hills

A misdemeanor is a violation of state law or local ordinance punishable by one year in jail or less. The maximum penalty for local ordinances violations is 90 days. The maximum sentence for state violation can be as long as one year of incarceration and up to two years of probation. The 52-3 District Court presides over misdemeanors from the following jurisdictions:

  • Addison Township
  • Auburn Hills
  • Lake Angelus
  • Oakland Township
  • Orion Township
  • Oxford Township
  • Rochester
  • Rochester Hills
  • Village of Lake Orion
  • Village of Leonard
  • Village of Oxford

Misdemeanor offenses can range from drinking and driving (OWI/ DUI), traffic misdemeanors, domestic violence, retail fraud (shoplifting), DWLS, assault and battery, possession or use of drugs, minor theft and fraud crimes, malicious destruction of property, disorderly person, and more.

The 52-3 District Court has a Sobriety Court Program for second-offense OWI defendants. This program was designed to treat people convicted of repeat OWI and DUI offenses by getting them therapy and any other help that may be necessary.

Felony Charges in the 52-3rd District Court

Felony charges are the most severe crimes under Michigan law. The maximum penalty for a felony conviction can range from over one year in jail up to life in prison. The 52-3rd District Court presides over the initial stages of any felony offense originating in the jurisdictions listed above, including Rochester Hills, Orion Township, Oxford Township, and Auburn Hills.

The most common felony charges in the 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills include the following:

  • OWI 3rd (drunk driving, DUI, and similar offenses)
  • Drug Possession, Sale, and manufacturing
  • White-Collar Crimes
  • Fraud and Theft Crimes
  • Felonious Assault
  • Felony Domestic Violence (DV 3rd) or Domestic Strangulation
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct
  • Weapons Crimes
  • Homicide

The first hearing in any felony case is the arraignment. Usually, the defendant self-surrenders with their lawyer or is arrested and brought to court to be arraigned. At the arraignment, the judge or magistrate advises the defendant of their charges, accepts a plea, and sets a bond (personal recognizance (PR bond), cash, 10%, or surety). The Court will schedule a Probable Cause Conference (PCC) within seven (7) days of the arraignment.

The Probable Cause Conference (PCC) is a hearing where the defense attorney and prosecutor discuss the case, issues with discovery or evidence, possible settlement or plea bargain options, and decide whether they want a Preliminary Examination. A Preliminary Examination is an evidentiary hearing where the prosecution must introduce testimony and other evidence to prove there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the charged offense. The judge will dismiss the case if the prosecutor fails to meet that burden. If they show probable cause based on the evidence, the judge will send the case to the Oakland County Circuit Court.

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Bond and Arraignments in Rochester Hills

The judges and magistrates in the 52-3 District Court are notorious for high bonds with onerous terms and conditions. A defendant who remains free on bond has a better chance to get charges dismissed, obtain a better plea bargain, achieve a more lenient sentence, or win an acquittal at trial. Studies show that defendants who remain incarcerated do not fare well in the legal system. The best hope for getting a low or personal bond is with a skilled, experienced defense lawyer.

Once a defendant secures a reasonable bail and is released from custody, they must comply with the terms and conditions of bond or risk a bond revocation or show cause hearing. There is a zero-tolerance policy in the Rochester Hills 52-3 District Court. The slightest violation, misunderstanding, or mistake can easily result in bond revocation. Any defendant on bond with this court must painstakingly review the bond, understand it, and comply with every detail of the order.

Probation Violations in the 52-3 District Court

Misdemeanor offenses that would result in a simple fine in many courts are treated quite differently in Rochester Hills. The 52-3 District Court judges routinely order lengthy terms of probation, filled with complicated terms and conditions, even for minor offenses and first-time offenders. Taking any case lightly in this court is a recipe for disaster. Lawyers experienced with this court know that thorough preparation and compelling advocacy are necessary to secure the most lenient sentence possible. The maximum sentence for a probation violation in Rochester Hills is the same as the maximum for the original offense.

Avoiding Convictions and Jail in Rochester Hills

Despite the harshness of the Rochester Hills prosecutors and judges, it is possible to avoid jail and, in many cases, a conviction. An extraordinary result is possible even when the evidence seems overwhelming, and the defendant has prior convictions. Every case is defensible! An aggressive defense lawyer will work closely with their client to explore all possible defenses: legal, equitable, constitutional, medical, scientific, and factual. Additionally, there are statutes and court rules in Michigan that permit a defendant to bargain for a plea that avoids a conviction and/or incarceration. With the right legal representation in Rochester Hills, every defendant has a chance to win, even in the 52-3 District Court.

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The Judges of the 52-3 District Court

Judge Julie Nicholson

She was elected to the 52-3rd District Court in 1996. Judge Nicholson was also a member of the Michigan Judicial Institute faculty and has been an Adjunct Professor at Cooley Law School since 2007. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration/Pre-Law from Michigan State University in 1983 and her Juris Doctorate from Detroit College of Law in 1987. Before her election, Judge Nicholson was an associate and partner in private law firms. Judge Nicholson is active in the community. In 2008, Judge Nicholson implemented the Most Wanted program. This program utilizes the public’s assistance through the Internet to apprehend those individuals that pose a risk to public safety and who have absconded (Abscond Bond) from the court system.

Judge Nancy Tolwin Carniak

The Governor appointed her to the 52-3 District Court bench in 2000. She attended Michigan State Univereceivingeceived a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in 1979. She received her Juris Doctorate from the Detroit College of Law in 1985. Judge Carniak served as an associate and partner in private law firms for 15 years before taking the bench. Judge Carniak initiated the Mock Trial program for 5th-grade students in our community. In this program, students learn about the legal system firsthand by participating in a mock criminal trial. Students tour the Oakland County Sheriff’s substation and observe actual criminal proceedings in the courtroom. Judge Carniak is involved in a variety of community organizations.

Judge Lisa L. Asadoorian

She was elected to the 52-3rd District Court, 3rd Division, in November 2000. She graduated from Michigan State University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice in 1986. She graduated from the University of Detroit School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1989. Judge Asadoorian is a former Assistant Prosecutor and Senior Trial Attorney for the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. Upon taking the bench, Judge Asadoorian implemented her own requirement at sentencing for alcohol-related offenses whereby defendants of all ages must tour the county morgue. The purpose is to educate people about the true and ultimate consequences of underage and excessive drinking. This program has garnered widespread attention and support both locally and statewide. A lifelong district resident, Judge Asadoorian is active in several community organizations.

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Lawyers who regularly practice in the 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills, Michigan

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have appeared regularly in the 52-3rd District Court for years and have excellent working relationships with the judges and the court staff. Also, our Defense Team has a well-known reputation for integrity, experience, and professionalism. The firm’s attorneys have been successful in many jury trials and motions in criminal cases and have obtained outright dismissals on several occasions. Our Rochester Hills criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience and are fearless in protecting our client’s rights. If you face criminal charges, you need the best legal help available. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is here to help; we are not afraid to win!

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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