The 48th District Court located in Bloomfield Township in Oakland County is known nationwide as one of the toughest drunk driving courts in the entire country. The 48th District Court consists of three judges, Judge Kimberly Small, Judge Marc Baron, and Judge Diane D'Agostini. If you are charged with a drunk driving in the 48th District Court and have Judge Small, you have a very high chance of going to jail, even on a first offense. To a lesser extent, Judge D'Agostini also will impose jail on first offense OWI cases, although there are times where she will impose probation. Judge Baron is more reasonable when dealing with operating while intoxicated cases as he will generally impose no up front jail on first offense cases. As to second offense cases, all three judges are likely to order jail, with Judge D'Agostini and Judge Small imposing lengthy jail sentences.
Part of the problem in the 48th District Court is that most Oakland County "criminal defense lawyers" are afraid of the 48th District Court judges and do not have the courage to go to trial in such an unfriendly environment. This leads to the 48th District Court judges acting without restraint. We are the first to admit that practicing here is extremely challenging, but that is probably why we practice here more than any other Oakland County District Court.
As an example, Amberg & Amberg trial attorney Jim Amberg recently received a not guilty verdict in a case in which his client was charged with operating while intoxicated for swerving all over Telegraph road in Bloomfield Hills with a blood alcohol content nearly twice the legal limit. The problem for Jim's client was that as a beer truck delivery driver, he would have lost his job if convicted because he would have lost his commercial driver license. Using every tool in his bag, Jim was able to turn the tables on the case and walked his client with an unbelievable not guilty verdict before Judge D'Agostini!
The bottom line is that Amberg & Amberg trial attorney Jim Amberg has conducted and won jury trials in front of all three 48th District Court judges. Jim has won drunk driving jury trials in this court and is known at the court as somebody who will take a drunk driving case to trial in the 48th District Court, no matter what the facts are and who the judge is. The 48th District Court serves the communities of Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield Township, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, and Birmingham.