Drunk Driving Charges in South Lyon Michigan 52-1 District Court

52-1 District Court in Novi Michigan

Quick Facts about the 52-1 District Court for South Lyon, Michigan, Oakland County District Court

If you are charged with a DUI offense in South Lyon, Michigan, then your case will be heard in the 52-1 District Court in Novi, Michigan, unless the case is charged as a felony. Felony cases begin in the Novi District Court with a preliminary examination but, if bound over, the case will proceed to trial in the Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, Michigan. The three current Judges of the 52-1 District Court are the Honorable Dennis Powers, the Honorable Robert Bondy and the Honorable Brian W. MacKenzie.

Although Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and the various assistant prosecuting attorneys working under the elected official have the ability to prosecute drunk driving cases in the 52-1 district court, the majority of cases are prosecuted locally by the city or township prosecutor. Recently, the City of South Lyon has experienced problems with the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, and the local municipal government generates more revenue from local prosecutions. As such, the South Lyon Police Department is charging most first-time offenders locally as "City of South Lyon" tickets handled by the city attorney. In addition to the local jurisdictions, the Oakland County Sheriff deputies frequently charge drunk driving cases in the 52-1 District Court, making traffic stops in South Lyon. These cases are handled primarily (although not exclusively) by the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office. The Michigan State Police rarely make traffic stops in South Lyon, but these cases would also be handled by the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office.

Thumbnail Sketch of DUI / OWI Penalties You Face in the 52-1 District Court If Convicted

If you plead guilty or if you are found guilty following a trial, you are facing the following penalties. Please note that your driver's license remains valid unless or until you enter a plea or are found guilty, even though the police may have issued you a temporary paper license.

First Time Offender: Super Drunk Over .17 BAC

  • Recorded as "misdemeanor" conviction as opposed to felony conviction on criminal record
  • Jail up to 180 days
  • Probation for up to 2 years with alcohol and drug monitoring
  • Fines of $200 to $700, "plus court costs" which totals well over $1,000.00
  • One year of alcohol rehabilitation
  • 45 days hard suspension, eligible to drive for the balance of the year (320 days) if the offender pays to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle
  • Up to 360 hours community service
  • Six points on your Michigan driver's license
  • $1,000.00 per year for two years "Driver Responsibility Fee" charged by the Secretary of State through the Michigan Department of Treasury

First Time Offender: OWI - Operating While Intoxicated (Same as DUI or DWI)

  • Recorded as "misdemeanor" conviction as opposed to felony conviction on criminal record
  • Jail up to 93 days
  • Probation for up to 2 years with alcohol and drug monitoring
  • Fines up to $500, "plus court costs" which totals over $1,000.00
  • 30 days hard suspension on Michigan driver's license, eligible to drive for the balance of the six months (150 days) on a restricted basis, i.e. to / from / and in connection with work, court ordered programs, and emergency medical treatment
  • Up to 360 hours community service
  • Six points on your Michigan driver's license
  • $1,000.00 per year for two years "Driver Responsibility Fee" charged by the Secretary of State through the Michigan Department of Treasury

First Time Offender: OWVI - Operating While Impaired

  • Recorded as "misdemeanor" conviction as opposed to felony conviction on criminal record
  • Jail up to 93 days
  • Probation for up to 2 years with alcohol and drug monitoring
  • Fines up to $300, "plus court costs" which totals over $1,000.00
  • 90 days restricted driving on Michigan driver's license, i.e. to / from / and in connection with work, court ordered programs, and emergency medical treatment
  • Up to 360 hours community service
  • Four points on your Michigan driver's license
  • $500.00 per year for two years "Driver Responsibility Fee" charged by the Secretary of State through the Michigan Department of Treasury

A second offense for either OWI or OWVI within seven years of a prior OWI or OWVI results in tougher penalties, greater likelihood of jail, and a lifetime revocation of a person's driver's license. A third offense for any combination of OWI and OWVI charges in a lifetime is a felony OWI 3rd offense, which carries mandatory jail and a possible prison term of up to 5 years.

Drug and Alcohol Testing in the 52-1 District Court

If you are arrested and charged with a DUI in the 52-1 district court, JAMS testing is regularly ordered as a condition of bond and pretrial release. JAMS, LLC stands for "Jail Alternatives for Michigan Services," and it is a private company that performs drug and alcohol monitoring. Their website www.jamstesting.com provides additional information. This means that, even though you are presumed innocent, you might be "punished" for months before going to trial, being forced to spend both your time and your money to permit the court to invade your privacy. If you fail to test, you can go to jail before going to trial. This absurd practice, which undoubtedly has good intentions, has gotten out of hand at the 52-1 District Court.

52-1 District Court Sobriety Court Program

The Novi District Court was one of the forerunners implementing a sobriety court program. This intensive program is designed to address substance abuse problems. For repeat drunk driving offenders with alcohol problems, this program has proven remarkably successful, reducing recidivism and helping people. The program combines monitoring with frequent meetings, and a system of punishments and incentives.

Under a pilot project passed by the Michigan Legislature, convicted offenders in the South Lyon District Court's sobriety court program are eligible for a restricted driver's license long before the one year revocation period has elapsed. The 52-1 District Court has provided driver's licenses to sobriety court candidates under this program, which offers a great alternative to the convicted drunk driver who is committed to sobriety.

The 52-1 District Court Prosecutors in South Lyon Cases

Please note: We do not recommend that you contact the prosecutors directly! It is always wiser to have your lawyer engage in all communications with the prosecutor because statements that you make can be used against you.

State Prosecutor for Oakland County

Jessica R. Cooper (P23242)
Oakland County Prosecutor
1200 N Telegraph Rd
Pontiac, MI 48341
Phone: (248) 858-0656
Fax: (248) 858-0660

The Oakland County Prosecutor's office has announced (and enforced) a "No Deals/No Reduction" policy on most drunk driving cases. This is a publicity driven policy designed to make Cooper's office appear to be tough on crime. This ridiculous policy removes all discretion from the locally assigned assistant prosecutor and it has angered a lot of defense lawyers. We have encouraged all of our fellow defense lawyers to more aggressively assert their clients' right to trial. Despite our encouragement, most lawyers simply plead their clients guilty. In response to Ms. Cooper's policy, we have also instituted a No Deals/No Plea policy, and we set all drunk driving cases handled by her office for jury trial.

The South Lyon Police Department has found that the "no deals" policy has placed additional demands on officer time, and they have begun to focus more on their local contract prosecutors. The unreasonable nature of Cooper's policies have caused many cases to go to trial that might have been resolved amicably in the past. And while some might favor Cooper's policies on drunk driving, this removes officers from the streets and away from their jobs, and taxpayers are expected to foot the bill. Keep in mind that Cooper isn't trying to make the roads safer because the drunk driving policies at the 52-1 District Court are identical and strictly enforced on any plea-reduced sentence. No, Cooper's only goal is to enforce an image to get re-elected.

Lyon Township Prosecutor

Philip H. Seymour (P24448)
Gabe Quinn & Seymour
1026 W 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Phone: (248) 399-9703
Fax: (248) 399-1711
e-Mail: seymour@gabequinnseymour.com

Note: Charlie Cooper, who was the long-time township prosecutor and who remains a really nice guy and easy to work with on a drunk driving case, is no longer the prosecutor. He has taken a position with the 52-1 District Court as the magistrate. As of the date of this publication, September 14, 2012, this information has not been widely disseminated.

South Lyon City Prosecutor

Charles D. Snell (P49458)
Johnson Rosati Schultz & Joppich PC
34405 W 12 Mile Rd Ste 200
Farmington Hills, MI 48331
Phone: (248) 489-4100
Fax: (248) 489-1726
e-Mail: csnell@jrsjlaw.com
Web: www.johnsonrosati.com

South Lyon Police Department

219 Whipple St.
South Lyon, MI 48178
Station 248-437-1773
Dispatch 248-412-8697
Web: http://www.southlyonpolice.com

Additional Notes about South Lyon DUI Cases

For many years, South Lyon cases were exceptionally difficult cases to defend. The City of South Lyon Police Department did not have any video equipment, and police officers were able to testify to whatever they recorded in their notes. The Chief of Police brought patrol car videos in a few years ago, and this has been a positive development for defending DUI cases.

52-1 District Court Judges

The following opinions are drawn from our experiences and dealings with the judges in the 52-1 District Court. It's important to understand that these are just opinions, and other lawyers might disagree. Because we routinely challenge drunk driving cases, however, our firm's experience with a particular judge might be different from lawyers who do not take cases to trial. None of the comments here should be viewed as an attempt to discredit a particular judge or reflect poorly upon the judiciary.

Hon. Robert Bondy

Judge Robert Bondy 52-1 District CourtRobert Bondy of the 52-1 District Court has grown increasingly more and more conservative in recent years. It can be difficult to practice before him as a defense lawyer unless the attorney has established a relationship with him. Behind the scenes, Judge Bondy is a very likable judge, but he can be brutal on defense lawyers and defendants. At trial, he has begun to express an opinion through his rulings and demeanor, which makes a jury trial especially difficult. Judge Bondy's ruling have increasingly allowed the prosecutors too much latitude, and his sentencing practices have recently resulted in a sharp rise in fines and costs as well as extremely aggressive alcohol monitoring. If you plead guilty, expect high fines and costs, with portable breath testing, JAMS testing, EtG testing, and interlock devices installed on vehicles, creating a nightmare of multiple-layers of alcohol testing that seem redundant as well as expensive. Jail sentences are not unusual, but they are not excessive unless or until a probation violation occurred.

Hon. Brian W. MacKenzie

Judge Brian MacKenzie 52-1 District CourtJudge Brian W. MacKenzie of the 52-1 District Court is an excellent judge with a much-feared reputation. We have developed a really good working relation with Judge Brian W. MacKenzie and understand how his court runs. It is a common myth that Judge Brian W. MacKenzie lost a daughter to a drunk driver. He has very strong views about alcoholism, and he shares his opinions with convicted drunk drivers. His much-feared reputation is a direct result of his persuasiveness. Despite his reputation, Judge Brian W. MacKenzie is an excellent judge for both motion practice as well as trial. At sentencing, Judge Brian W. MacKenzie is a fair judge, and, contrary to popular opinion, he does not typically incarcerate people unless the person violates the terms of probation.

Hon. Dennis Powers

Judge Dennis Powers 52-1 District Court

Judge Dennis Powers of the 52-1 District Court is an excellent judge, and we have won a couple of impressive motion hearings on DUI cases before this judge. For the most part, however, cases either resolve in a plea or go to trial in his court. Evidentiary issues are usually decided during the course of trial unless the police have clearly violated something important in the case. He is generally pro-police in deciding stop issues, deferring to the police on those issues, but he can prove to be an awesome judge on issues attacking probable cause/arrest issues as well as chemical testing matters. During the course of a jury trial, he is a fair judge. At sentencing, we have had one case with more-or-less horrible facts where he ordered a short jail sentence up front after losing before a jury, but on balance, our victories before this judge far outweigh any losses.

52-1 District Court Map

Map of 52-1 District Court

The 52-1 District Court is located at 48150 Grand River Avenue South Lyon, MI 48374, and the court's telephone number is (248) 305-6080. If you are charged with a criminal offense, however, the court's listed telephone number connects you to a civil division clerk. The criminal division can be reached at (248) 305-6460.

Take the Beck Road or Wixom Road exit off I-96 for easiest access. There is a Tim Horton's on Beck Road, a Dunkin Donuts on Wixom, and a Caribou Coffee along Grand River. Despite being a great court to practice in for a DUI defense lawyer, this court runs a little slow because it has a long docket. Coffee is a great way to get through the morning docket.

If You Are Searching for a Qualified South Lyon DUI Lawyer . . .

If you are currently charged with drunk driving in South Lyon, Michigan, and seeking a qualified South Lyon DUI lawyer to represent you in the 52-1 District Court, please complete our free on-line evaluation form or call our office at (888) 941-1122 or locally at (734) 591-0100.

William Maze of the Maze Legal Group can provide you with the highest quality representation in your South Lyon drunk driving case. Mr. Maze grew up in South Lyon (at Dixboro and Seven Mile, if you're interested) and graduated from South Lyon High School in 1988. A few of his classmates went on to become South Lyon Police officers while Mr. Maze went on to become an award-winning attorney and one of Michigan's leading drunk driving defense lawyers. He limits his practice to handling only drunk driving cases and DUI-related traffic matters. He is certified in standardized field sobriety tests and teaches other lawyers how to defend DUI cases. He has been trained on the BAC Datamaster breath testing device at National Patent Analytical Systems and owns two BAC Datamaster devices. He has received toxicology training in blood and urine testing, and he has attended hundreds of hours of specialized training in DUI defense across the county.

The Maze Legal Group has handled many South Lyon DUI cases, successfully representing clients through motions and jury trials that have resulted in favorable rulings. If you want to know more about our experience in handling drunk driving cases in the 52-1 District Court or what you might expect in your case, call our office and schedule an appointment with Mr. Maze.